Wednesday, September 27, 2006 8:33 AM

When it's Hard to Draw

I would love to write about being a mom and drawing with kids, but right now, frankly, it's hard to draw. Because of our family's work schedules, the kids are solely mine from lunch until 10:30 at night. I used to have helpers 5 evenings a week, now I only have one, one night a week. So at the end of a typical day with two teething twins, a precocious three year old, lots of whining (from them), cajoling (from me - they are still not potty trained and our oldest is fighting it with a vengeance), general willfullness, dinner, cleanup, a walk, board games, three bedtime stories later (not to mention prayers, brushing of teeth, etc.) - when all this is done and Paul is still teaching, I grab the kids' monitors and head for my sanctuary. My studio. The Tower.

It's a finshed attic, with slanted ceilings from being right under the roof, lumpy brown carpeting, and a tiny nook with a futon and little TV in it. Empty tea mugs gather around on the floor like a small crowd waiting expectantly for something to happen, for some great masterpiece to take place. I feel a tremendous sense of expectation - from nobody other than myself, mind you - to create something fabulous.

I let it go.

Creativity comes in waves for me. I have to accept that there are nights - and sometimes it may be for a whole week - that I am not going to paint, because I'm just too darn tired. I try to keep other projects on hand for times like this. I knit. I crochet. I doodle. I make lists - all pressure-free, creative things. I (gasp!) sometimes even throw in the towel and go to bed early for some much-needed rest so that I'll have an extra reserve for tomorrow's adventures.

Nobody ever promised motherhood would be easy. All I know is that I need to create to live, and that if I skimp on art, I am a cranky mama. If I am cranky with the kids, I don't feel like making art. An artist's date every week doesn't hurt either. It's a daily balancing act I've learned to live with and embrace - I can't imagine a fuller, richer life than the one I'm living now. I'll catch up on sleep next year.

french toast girl #

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