When I'm working on The Wild, I spend a LOT of time doing things like printing, heat setting, tagging, etc. and while I'm doing this sort of 'busy-work' I tend to listen to podcasts, audio books, that sort of thing. Lately I've been listening to different talks on creativity and how to really foster and encourage the creative part of my brain. I'm so excited about this, because I find it's very easy to ignore that side of me. There are ten thousand dirty dishes, after all, and the laundry isn't going to do itself, and I have four months of accounting to catch up on. But, the creative part of my soul can't be ignored, and I want to make a better effort to spend time with it.
The other day, deep into this creative thought process, I was listening to an episode of Magic Lessons with Elizabeth Gilbert, and she said this thing, this thing that opened up my mind in the way I needed it to be opened. I want to share this with anyone who perhaps hasn't heard it, and chat about this a bit more.
This. This is everything. This is what I needed to hear.
We all know about the mom guilt, it's a tale as old as time, and we all have our own versions of it. Running a business from home with kids is tough at the best of times. I have one son in school full time and one home full time, so my day is a hot mess of snacks and school pick-ups/drop-offs and library visits. I squeeze work in here and there, and even though it's not THAT much time, I STILL feel terrible about it. Like I'm doing my child a huge disservice by selfishly working. Like I should be baking organic vegan muffins and not having the audacity to be here trying to earn a living doing something I love. Like I'm going to wake up one day and think I missed their entire childhood because I was at the kitchen table printing 100 baby onesies.
But the truth is, I am giving my children such a lesson. They are seeing my hard work. They are seeing my dedication to growing my business. They are seeing how working hard can truly pay off. And, probably the most wonderful, they are seeing that I have turned my love of drawing into something real. Something I never thought was possible.
As a kid, I was drawing constantly. If you had asked me at 7 what I wanted to be when I grew up, it was always 'an artist'. As I went through school, I started to think that it just simply wasn't a possibility. That artists weren't a real 'thing' anymore. That even those who were artists weren't actually 'doing anything' with it. Obviously I was completely wrong, but I was not looking at the world through the lens of possibility.
My constant lack of confidence held me back, for many years. After high school I studied Business because it felt like the right thing to do. The practical thing. And in reality, it did land me a job right out of school, and it gave me a very solid foundation of running a business that I use even now. But my business wouldn't exist without my drawings. Without my passion for drawing and creating.
I'm writing about this now not just to talk about my circumstance, but to acknowledge that we, the mothers, have every right to continue doing the things we need to do to be who we really are. We didn't trade in our identities to focus 100% solely on the responsibilities that come with raising children. Our passions and our interests are a massive part of what make us who we are. If we gave up everything that our souls needed, we would be shells of the people we once were, and what kind of child needs a parent like that?
Starting today, I am giving up on the guilt. I am focusing on the fact that I am teaching my boys how to grow, how to build something amazing, and how to do it with something you LOVE. Benjamin, our oldest, is an artist already. He is drawing day and night and he really has a gift. And I can finally stop feeling bad about spending time on The Wild and start thinking about the fact that I am giving him a real life example of what you can do with your art if you want to make it into something. And as Sawyer, our youngest, gets older and starts developing interests, he will know that it's ok to pursue them with everything he has.
For anyone who is reading this, I just want you to know that you are more than a mother. You are an amazing person with amazing ideas that need to be cared for too. You deserve to do the things you love. And more than that, you owe it to the rest of the world to do those things. Because they are part of you. And you'll never know just how big they could be unless you give them everything you have. And your little ones will look at you with pride and love because they see that you are doing the thing that ignites your soul.
Thank you to Elizabeth Gilbert, for always saying the things that I need to hear.