Nov 14, 2014

SAHM Artists Need Help

I have always been a free bird, doing something the hard way... a hundred times to get it done, impulse buyer and doer, and I love to organize but hate to follow organization/schedules. So when we had Norah on top of all this, I felt a bit topsy turvy. How do you stay full time mom, full time artist, and full time wife?

Help. Lots and lots of help.

I'm sitting here writing this post as my mom does my dishes. It's something she truly enjoys doing for us on a monthly basis (often times twice a month). And it's AH MA ZING! There are many Fridays where she leaves work early and comes to give Norah hugs and kisses (and books, and play, and animal sounds, and walks), that frees me up for an hour or two. Big help.

On Tuesdays my mother in law, Karen, watches Norah for several hours in the morning. A good chunk of time to get some painting done, and Norah gets a lot of snuggly hugs.

Wednesdays I have my dear friend Andi come and watch her for several hours in the morning with coffee and then we all do lunch.

On Thursdays my sister in law, Joni, watches her for a couple hours while I go sit at a coffee shop and breathe. When my niece and nephew get out of school the cousins hang out for a bit together. Great family time.

My sister, other friends, and our parents will help watch her in the evenings so Brian and I can have date nights.

And then there's my hubby. He does so much! After a long day at work he comes home, grabs Norah out of my hands, and he's on daddy duty for the rest of the night. I can get so much done because of his willingness to do the evenings. Same with the weekends, we alternate.

I am always curious as to how stay at home moms who are also artists get their work done with a baby/toddler around. Norah has gotten to a stage where I can get very little done while she is awake and I have to give in to that. I WANT to give in to that and watch her explore, learning about the world around her.

I would not be able to get what I get done without the help of others. I know some who do, and that just blows me away. I applaud them with a standing ovation because I know myself well enough I would overheat and give up. My discipline still has strides of work to go in the field of 'getting it done'. It takes a lot of practice!

I have messed up in my business because of the many, many tasks I do, I have allowed Norah to watch tv so I can get a task done, I have even let her stay in the crib wanting out after a nap just to finish up an Etsy listing (I am aware these are very normal events all of us parents do), I have mailed orders out later than intended because I simply got overwhelmed and forgot, and I have checks that have sat around waiting to be deposited from months ago.

I'm not ashamed, and won't be. I will be realistic that life happens, and stuff needs to get done. My daughter has me all of the time, and I give almost just as much into my marriage and business. I think we're good. I say it all the time, but it never seems like enough....

I am SO BLESSED to have the life, the people, the husband, and the time I have today.
Wow. So good!

How do you manage life?
My situation is we can't afford childcare or babysitters, and I understand everyones situation or circumstance is very different from the other. This is how we make it work. 


Unknown said...

It's not easy running a business with baby brain! I thought I was doing so well until I found out that the two orders for different customers got switched! Big fairy poo!
I get work done in little bits here and there. I get her to sleep in the car and do a bit of work in there too. Or I get up crazy early and get stuff done then!

Kristin said...

First of all, this: "I love to organize but hate to follow organization/schedules..." <-- YES!

Thanks for sharing these thoughts...I found myself nodding along as I read the whole thing. ;) The challenges of being a SAHM are so often overlooked (and don't get me wrong - it's the most rewarding thing in the world).

I paint part-time but also work from home doing the behind-the-scenes work on a small farm - trying to balance all of that with being a SAHM has been quite the challenge. Once our little one hit that super inquisitive age and was mobile, multitasking with him became next to impossible. He's a busy kiddo, like all toddlers, and his nap is the only period during the daytime in which I can do the myriad of things that need to get done. It gets awfully stressful, since it comes down to prioritizing & scheduling - I know I have about an hour & a half to do something, and I have to figure out if laundry/dishes/etc., art, paperwork, or just a much-needed nap will fill that time. Not very conducive to getting a lot of creative work done, that's for sure. ;)

My husband is thankfully such a huge support, so as soon as he comes home in the evening, I can get more done. Still, I'm trying to figure out how to best balance things, and I love the idea of having some regular weekly times when help comes.

When our kiddo is up and about, I want to help foster his curiosity and take him out adventuring, so it's not really possible to get work done simultaneously - but I have definitely turned on a DVD when I needed to get something done! Thanks so much for sharing your own experiences and providing that much-needed reality check that all SAHMs's easy to let guilt creep in. (I mean...I always, always have room for improvement, but I can't expertly keep so many plates spinning at one time without goofing up).

Specifically related to my art, the result is that I have galleries waiting on requests for new pieces, and my folk-art world - which is a road I started down to take more creative leaps and stretch myself - ends up getting the expended mommy-brain instead of the creative, inspired brain. ;) Like I said, there's nothing more rewarding than raising a child, but trying to find ways to keep other pursuits going can be tricky!

Thanks again for sharing!

Mir Writes said...

Your life is beautiful and blessed, the family, the little one, the art, the love. It's been a joy to watch you over the years grow in so many ways. And your art just gets more and more beautiful.

I think you're managing fine. BAbies grow super fast and before you know it you'll have plenty of time and they'll be off and then it's the grandbabies.

So, really, sounds like you're doing just fine.

Blessings of the season to you and yours.