How to be an artist and a mum!
Becoming a parent is such a life changing experience, not just for artists. Motherhood is tough but I believe that becoming a parent makes everything so much more clearer and even makes art so much more important and yet very difficult.
You can bring up a child and be able to find your place in the creative world.. yes, it's more challenging but not impossible! The struggle is unbelievable and if I have produced anything in the first two years of my child's life its been because I have worked nonstop over the weekends or my free time at nights. It can be so difficult to set out a little art space at home and then pack it up again before your child comes home and helps himself to your expensive paint.
I believe that bringing up a child can be a very powerful addition to your artistic experience. I have been a mum for almost 4 years now, not very long but it defines me; caring, 24Hr entertaining and being driven nuts. My early motherhood experience in the art world has not been so great. Wether you like it or not, your priorities change. First, you don't have enough time to finish projects, attend openings or talks etc... so your art connections start reducing. Second, there will be some things that you can not do anymore because your little one comes first. You can no longer take drugs and rock and roll... I'm only kidding, I've never been that person or taken drugs haha (no judgement).
I am the kind of person that has to create or experiment with different materials all the time and that is why I have a huge collection of art and crafts. When I am more creative, I am a happier person, my home environment is happier, I become a better mother and my child will benefit from being raised in a happy household. Believe me when I say that I've had many meltdowns because I've put all the other chores before doing what I love the most. To be a successful artist and do exhibitions, you need a very strong portfolio. So, if you can't get someone to help look after your child then you can't produce good amount of work and probably won't earn anything to afford a better childcare.
(This photo was taken at one of the exhibitions. Our friends were with us and they were entertaining Sebastian upstairs at the exhibition. Good friends are so hard to come by)
The first year of your baby's life is a very challenging time, my baby needed a lot of attention and wasn't a good sleeper. You would be naive to think that you can just put the baby down for a nap and paint. That is not the reality and even if your baby is a good sleeper, you are too exhausted to pick up the paintbrush to paint. I've missed out on a lot of things in the first year, traumatised by the birth and followed by postnatal depression didn't help either. I basically gave up any hope of having an art career. Unfortunately, I did not have the appropriate support from family/loved ones but my husband was amazing and so understanding. He would take the baby out at weekends so I could paint.
Motherhood itself can be such a creative and inspiring role too. I had problems having a child and I don't take anything for granted. The best way to balance everything is by determination, managed steps, early hours and a lot of hard work. The most important thing to remember is that 'time spent with your child is never wasted'.. They grow up really fast and you don't want to miss anything and regret it many years down the road.
I think the art world needs to be more acknowledging that being an artist also includes of being human, a mother and a carer for someone with a variety of needs and it's okay and that it would be welcomed.
I hope you have enjoyed this little motherhood blog, the photos made me so emotional. Don't forget to look at my website and tell me what you think.
Much love, Irsa.