© Astrid Volquardsen
Recently I was asked how I manage my life being a fulltime artist with a family. Well, first of all it’s probably the same as for every working mother. Furthermore there is the aspect of this need to express oneself through your art which sometimes is hard to understand for outsiders. Your heart and soul need the artistic expression in order to bloom and to be happy. Living the life as an artist takes a lot of energy and time. But where do you get this time, because you love your kids and want to be g good mum? Being a mother takes a lot of energy and time as well.
As an artist you’re in a constant hassel with your bad conscience. You’re in your studio and think about your kids or you’re with your kids and constantly think about your art. The smaller your kids are the harder the struggle, because both art and kids are the most important things for our heart and soul.
From my experience I can tell especially the young mothers: It will get easier. But there are some aspects to consider as you go on this journey:
1. Have a plan and persevere. Think about how you define success as an artist. What you really want. Every goal is o.k. as long as you’re honest to yourself. Write down your goals. When you know what you really want it’s much easier to organize your daily life, because you won’t waste time with unnecessary work.
2. Have a set studio time and don’t let anybody interfere with it. This is the hardest part for us mothers. Small children won’t understand that they can’t disturb you for a couple of ours so you’ve got to work when they’re in kindergarten or school. And this is your painting time. No housework, shopping, surfing in the internet, answering mails, no appointments…. you get the idea. This is the most precious time you have to be productive. It will be pretty certain that your houswork will suffer, get used to it.
3. When you’re in the studio be 100% with your art. When you’re with your kids be 100% with your kids. Life in the presence.
4. You don’t have to be inspired to paint. Picasso once said: »Creativity does excist, but it does have to find you at work « and he was right. If you’re tired, nothing seems to work, you’re not in the mood: You go to your studio anyway. Sketch, paint, whatever. All small things add up to something bigger.
5. Art and kids burn equally energy so take care of yourself. Mediate, do sports, whatever. You haven’t finished your housework? So what, tell them that superwoman lives somewhere else.
6. Have a set time for marketing and defend this time as well. ( no housework…)
Beeing a mum and a full time artist takes a lot of disciplin and organisation. The family offers the great opportunity of a strukured daily life. When you know you’ve got only a certain amount of time, you use it more efficiantly.
A friend of mine who is a really succesful artist was once asked how she got there: »Get yourself some kids«, was her reply.