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Artist, Mother, and Finding Transcendence

September 14, 2018

"Yes, this is my day job." I always shock people when I tell them that I am an artist. It's my day job, but I'm also

 

a mother, and a very tired cancer survivor. So I probably don't work the hours one would expect from a day job. And I'm not the one paying our mortgage. My side hustle pays, in part, for the art. 

 

My child has been home sick for the past few days, and frankly, it's been kind of a relief not to run here and there. It's been relaxing to rest during the day with her, bring her tea and Popsicles, and just be. I haven't been to the studio this week at all. Yesterday, I washed the windows and dusted the furniture. I kept asking myself, "How am I supposed to find inspiration in this?" 

 

This morning I was reading in the NY Times about the artist and the day job. In it, artists and writers were working days or evenings and spent their free time working on their art. I wonder how many of them were mothers; and where they find the energy between work and home to make art or write novels. Some female aritsts claim that you cannot be a mother and an artist, while others claim that it's probably best to have only one child. No one ever says this about male artists, but I digress.

 

The modern woman wants to do it all. We want to Lean In, but instead we fall asleep whenever we sit down. The truth of the matter is that we cannot do it all, no one can. Well, maybe those with domestic help and loads of money can. Having cancer on top of an art studio, a family, and a home, has left me with even less energy. When you only have a handful of really energetic hours a day, how are you going to spend it? 

 

The weeks when I'm really productive in the studio, my house is a mess and we eat take out. My oncologist wants me to exercise more, but the more I exercise, the less energy I have for studio work. Sometimes I cannot stand when my house gets too dirty and I spend a few days catching up. It's those days, I don't exercise OR work in the studio. 

 

I would like to believe that being grounded in the regular life of cooking breakfasts, helping with math homework, and scrubbing the kitchen floors keeps me solid and humble. It also keeps me tired and often grasping at straws for creative ideas that are not simply a derivation of something I saw on Pinterest. The truth is that I do not know how to do this. I don't know how to turn on my creativity between the hours of 10:00am and 3:00pm, after getting my daughter off to school and vacuuming the living room. I don't know how to create works of transcendence and meaning after meal planning and exercising, but before after-school activities. I don't know how to get enough sleep and read enough books and keep the bathtub white. 

 

One of the ideas that keeps me rooted in Christianity is the Incarnation. The idea that an infinite God came to be among us, Emmanuel. Here in the ordinariness of this gritty, and often boring life, we find transcendence. And even on those days when I cannot see it or feel it, I live with the hope that it can be found. And I keep searching. I mean, what else can I do?

 

Artist. Mother. Writer. Speaker. Traveler. Survivor. Inspirer. Keep scrolling to leave a comment!

 

 

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