Updated: Jan 9, 2020
A question I am being asked more and more frequently is, ‘what are you going to do next?’
My response is always somewhat flaky, un-structured, hazy. ‘I’d like to immerse myself with creativity, get more involved with my art. Paint more bravely, you know BIG, write more, connect more, do more. Basically, lead a life that feels creative, artistic, playful and most of all, important.’
The 3rd September 2019 has been imprinted in my mind for a long, long time.
‘You shouldn’t wish the time away, they are only little for a short amount of time.’
I get it.
Bringing up children ain’t all honey and at times it has been long and boring.
A lot of you will know, I have been a stay at home Mum (with either consultancy work, First Mummies’ Club, my illustration work on the side) for seven years now. So funny, that I feel the need to validate, you know just in case you think I’ve been watching tv all day. Hands up. Typical Libra over here, validation is life.
I’ll be honest with you though, I saw this period of life, as kind of biding my time until the grand unveiling of what I’d actually ‘do’ come September 2019.
I’m a girl who likes to be ‘doing’ all the time. My time here has to mean something and I guess my end game is to leave some kind of legacy. To make my mark on the world in some small but profound way, whilst trying to make sense of what my main purpose is during my time here.
But last night. I had a bit of a realisation.
These last seven years, I have been creating to the max. It hasn’t always been pretty, very process driven and always hopeful of the results.
You have also all been busy creating.
Not just creating though, you’ve been working on your greatest work yet.
Your most significant piece or pieces.
Your greatest hits compilation.
I know this sounds cheesy but folks, bear with me...
So many Mums I meet say, oh I’m not arty, or I’m not in anyway creative. But you see, I refuse to believe you.
Paint brushes, wool and needles aside, your children justify your creativity.
Whenever I post about my paintings, I talk about the process.
That is where the healing is, not necessarily in the end result. This I believe is also true of our children. Genetics and physicality aside, through this messy, sometimes icky, often ragey period we are continuously collaging, pritt sticking, moulding, engraving our way through this passage called Parenthood.
They teach and guide us, while we try to adult as best we can. It's a bit of a push me, pull you affair.
It reminds me a little of Maddie from ‘Do you know?’ If you don’t know who Maddie is, Google her. Cbeebies. Blonde. Gorgeous girl. Scientist- maybe. Blonde and clever. 'Nuff said. Husband likes her.
Anyway, one of my favourite episodes was when Maddie went to a glass factory. Making glass, it appears, is quite the process. It starts off as sand, gets heated up in a furnace A LOT, is twiddled around on a big stick as a big gloopy mess, then coloured bits get added and a bit of blowing happens to create a vase… you know, lots of stuff, it’s a process.
A messy one too but at the end.... what is created?
Of course, the most beautiful piece of glass…. completely different from the others, all shining, standing, pieces of coloured gorgeousness. They have their own personality, energy, ego but it took the process of being worked and caressed, sometimes with a few happy accidents, to get to that point.
You too, are engraving. You are polishing the best bits and manoeuvring the other bits, you are using energy to mould and sculpt something resembling a nice human. Bit by bit you are creating a master piece. I’ve never really looked at the process of raising children as a creative one but it might be a just the reminder I need to allow me to enjoy it a little more.
But like all art and anything lovingly crafted, it is not untouchable. Other forces come into play that can effect its shape, quality or the whole thing can be smashed to smithereens and you have to carefully piece it together again.
When I’m truly honest with myself, I don’t feel I value my place that much in society as ‘just’ a stay at home Mum. I think this is partly why I’ve not been able to relax and enjoy just that without having other bits and pieces going on to validate me.
However, when I change my mindset and reflect on all those brief chats with Robin over a smartie cookie in a coffee shop or mind numbing boringness of pushing a swing for half an hour, as instead, creating and building the layers of a little person like paper mache, rather than using up time, it helps me feel like its been worthwhile and similarly makes me feel more worthy.
So, in conclusion...
Don’t underestimate the process Lovelies.
You are building the foundations of your greatest, most significant piece yet.
Tell anyone and everyone you know that you are an artist, although I'm still convinced someone else is secretly painting on my boys eyelashes! xx