It’s raining at the writing studio and today’s Monday was a real Monday. For a moment, I thought we were all going to descend into a post-apocalyptic thunderdome and, honestly, I didn’t have the will to stop it.
But thankfully, a very good friend and fellow artist-mom was there to save me. We had a beautifully honest conversation about being an artist and a mom–an independent woman and a mom–really just a functioning human and a mom–and trying to balance those two identities. Because we really believe that the worst thing we can do for our kids is to lose our identities–our spark, our passion, that sacred soul-fire that makes us us.
But sometimes it’s impossible to find time in the chaos to create. Sometimes the thought of a blank page is horrifying and there are so many words trying to come out, so many stories trying to be born, that it’s rush hour on Bay Bridge and you can only pray that somewhere in the car there’s an empty container for pee.
Or maybe you find a scrap of time but it’s been a couple days since your last shower. Or maybe there’s a chance for you to get that elusive nap that you’re always forcing your kids to take.
Either way there are days that bring out that frustration, that anger, that resentment from facing the fact that our lives are no longer our own. That we have to put our kids first in so many instances to make sure they eat well, and aim for the center of the toilet, and don’t try to jump down the entire flight of stairs. Because at the end of the day, we all just want 10 minutes to ourselves. Or 5. Seriously, just 30 seconds of silence.
But what if, instead of swallowing those emotions and forcing a smile, we allowed ourselves to feel? We allowed our kids to see us upset?
What if we invited them into our artistic space to write and draw and sculpt and create with us? (Separately, if need be. No one wants peanut butter paw prints on their keyboard.)
Because aren’t we their first examples? How will they know if we don’t lead the way?
Maybe if they saw us struggling to cope, it’ll make it easier for them to come to us when they’re struggling to cope. Then we could work through it together. We can find coping mechanisms together. We can find constructive solutions together. Like rocking out to Rage Against the Machine in a family air band. They can be the air drums to your giant air guitar. Because the hard truth is, if we can’t deal and work though our emotions, how can we help our kids do it? How can enable them to deal with a world that won’t care how prepared they are for success or disappointment? After all, “This is Thunderdome. Two men enter; one man leaves.”
And maybe, just maybe, if our kids see us fighting for our passions, keeping that creative fire alive, then they’ll fight for theirs. Any maybe they’ll fight for other people’s as well. And then maybe we’ll have a society that empathizes, and works to be their brother’s keeper. A society of people that are not threatened by other people’s talents, but instead can rejoice in their joy and be a building block to an even better dream than even we, as parents, can imagine for them.
But first they have to know it’s okay to cry. And some Mondays are just going to be Mondays.
(I know I’m over simplifying. But it’s for the sake of the blog-space. I’d love to discuss this further. Message me on twitter: @LiDeLaVi)