Making art as an adult can feel decadent and extravagant, especially for time poor mums. Justifying any sort of a "hobby" or interest can be very hard. It can feel impossible. How would you justify that sort of thing to yourself let alone to others? How would you find the time for it? What would the kids do while you paint? The problems that the creative urge presents exist but they are not insurmountable.
The hard truth is that any sort of self care is hard to prioritize but that does not make it unnecessary. It does not make it decadent. It does not make it extravagant. It makes it even more necessary. More needed. More of an essential element of your life.
I'm talking from experience here. For years, I'd be woken by my girls as the sun rose each day and I'd launch right into making them breakfast, playing with them, helping them to develop their social skills (read: breaking up fights).
In-between getting the kids set up in the morning, I'd make a cup of coffee and take it to my husband. For a long time, I didn't manage to have breakfast myself and often enough would skip a morning shower (which I adored... it's something about the chi) or to put on make-up or any jewellery or accessories that would historically make me feel good. I simply didn't have the time for it. I simply didn't make time for it.
Artmaking was also on that "not possible" list. My creative urge, my innate need to make art simply was not being prioritised. In fact, I wasn't paying any attention to my needs whatsoever. And how would I manage to find time to make art anyway when I couldn't even find time to put my make-up on?
But... after years of trying to solve this problem, I cracked the code. I worked out how to prioritise myself and my children at the same time. How to meet both their needs and mine. How to get that see-saw to balance nicely in the middle so that everyone's cup was full. It makes for a happy family, a happy life.
Here are my top 5 ideas:
1. Think small. Work out a way to fit just 10 arty minutes in your day to sketch in a sketchbook or doodle on some spare paper. Perhaps before the kids wake or when they're eating their dinner. You could try to do this once you have the kids set up with Lego or something similar. Or get arty after the kids are in bed!
2. Use pencils. Pencils are a wonderfully neat and accessible tool for making art as they don't require setup, cleanup or time to dry. There is no mixing of paints involved AND they are incredibly mobile.
3. Invite your children in to your artmaking sessions. Choose a subject matter, such as trees, and see how many different ways each of you can draw or paint or even sculpt a tree. This is a great exercise for both adults and children and a challenge always engages the littlies!
4. Try your hand at watercolour painting. Another neat medium, it is an absolute joy to work with and so healing for the soul. Watching the colours flow into one another is a true escape from reality. Grab my free video tutorial here.
5. Have friends over and have a paint party! These are so much fun. Get some watercolour paper, paint and brushes from your local art store and ask your besties over for a paint night. Then follow along to my free video tutorial which you can get here.
Now, go get arty!