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  • Writer's picturesaradean84

Tortured Creative Mother Department

In this short essay, I will attempt to address the irony of being a parent (in particular, a primary parent, which often is equivalent with being a mom) and a person who practices a creative discipline.

As I make this bold attempt, every single room in my home has an Alexa speaker or a TV on (or both), and they are all playing something different. Taylor Swift, YouTube Kids, Southern Craft Playlist on Apple Music, Bluey. Every speaker is set near its maximum volume. They’re competing, because when you turn on Bluey in the living room, you can’t hear Taylor in the kitchen. Volumes escalate.

Additionally, as I am writing these very words, 4 of the 6 people in my household have approached me in the span of 3 minutes to interrupt my train of thought for things like:

-What’s for dinner?

-Can I have screen time?

-MOM -What’s this thing? (For inquiring minds: It was a sanding block that the 4 year old was scraping across the dining room table).

-What’s a movie that Uma Thurman was in that has the word “and” in it?

Finally, in the midst of this chaotic symphony, I have my own creative thoughts to grapple with. As a self-proclaimed visual artist in the midst of wrestling with the gap between my minds’ eye and my skill set, I just need to sit and think.

I very much feel like Winnie the Pooh during these moments, and I have come to the understanding that Pooh Bear may be on to something. Honey gluttony and pantslessness aside, sometimes you just need to be left alone so you can think!

Now let’s discuss the clock. The ever present constraint of time strangles me. When I say “me” I’m talking about my creative practice. I am actually a very scheduled, to-do list kind of gal. However, my to-do list self and my creative self do not get along. They simply can’t, because in order to get into “the zone” creatively, I need to forget that time, or anything else exists. So this is a rare thing for me, because I have children, and a husband, and a dog, and friends, and all of these little gardens require tending to in one capacity or another.

Oh, but my gardens are so lovely. If I forget my creative self for a moment or two, I gaze at each one lovingly. The way my dog gently nudges my hand to get a head scratch. Does this defenseless creature have enough water? I’d better check- I can’t have her getting dehydrated.

I hear a kid belly-laughing at something Bluey’s dad said in the other room. I’ve gotta go see what he said, I bet it was hilarious. Is there anything better than laughing with your kid? And remembering it later and laughing again?

Did I get a chance to rank the upcoming TV shows I want to binge-watch with my husband so we can discuss later?

What was I working on again? Oh yeah, I was painting some shapes on a rainbow canvas and struggling to find the meaning in any of it. Because at the end of the day, this piece is likely to end up in the basement storage room with all my other paintings.

But I keep coming back to it, and I keep carving time out for myself for this practice. All I know is that when I do get the rare moment to be alone with my thoughts, and to let them flow through my hands, I get to be just me. All of the things I am and all of the things I think are allowed to exist without qualifiers or meeting needs. And it feels very right to get to be me.

Pictured: The rainbow canvas that does not at all match my mental vision, but that moved me toward personal enlightenment and general skill practice.

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