On Being an Artist and a Mom

10:34:00 PM

As an artist, I'm well aware of the demands of each and every artwork in progress. Aside from ideation, planning and the great effort, there's the need for Time.

As a mother, I'm even more aware of the demands of my child. It's not something you can ignore, especially with a verbally communicative toddler.

There will always be conflict between your artwork, your little one and you. At times, no matter how driven you are with passion the momentum gets interrupted, if not severed completely, because the little guy wants you to see this mystical bottorplie in the garden. And catch it with him.

See bottorplie rendition below for reference:

It's heart warming... scenes like that, but not on certain occasions. Definitely not while at work. Then there are times when you can't, no matter how much you urge yourself to, release all that talent and ideas on the darn judgmental paper. Even with all the freedom you have at the moment.


When things don't seem to go your way, and maybe chipping at your artistic flow, there are still some things you can do to change the situation. First, you need to know what the boss' problem is. For me, my toddler interrupts me while I'm drawing for three reasons:
  • He needs something that only I can give
  • I'm spending too much time on something else besides him. . . and he wants me back as his waiter.
  • He's curious about what I'm doing and wants to know what's it about.
In any case, he'd grab at my pencil or pen and push away my hand from the artwork. I get occasional "accident" lines over my drawings, and some run really deep over the paper, but there's not much I can do when it's done.

So when I figure out what my kid's problem is, I am obliged to give him the solution he's waiting for. If he needs to show me something, I go see it. When he keeps pulling me away from work because I've been there for hours, and I feel I've spent much time "away" already, I follow his lead.

The harsh truth is that you can't outlast your toddler. He's at the age where he can't control his emotions and desires. He'll keep nudging at you when he wants or needs something because he can't control his urges yet.

He's also quite impatient. If you ask him to wait 10 minutes, he'll wait 10 seconds, with the first 4 seconds as complete patience and the following 6 seconds divided into 3 portions of "Mamaaa?"  which means, "Are you done now?".

My point is that if he can't help it, neither can you. At least not while he's at this age; them terrible twos if you really have to name it. My advice is: Give in and give them your time, no matter how much you want to finish that drawing. A 30-minute break can do your wonders, believe me. It helps me stretch out the crankiness and straighten up the heavy curve that's building up on my back... which, apparently, is my back.

Give him a crayon and a ginormous piece of paper and let him draw right beside you. Kids love to explore and they love to learn through imitation, especially toddlers. When my son gets curious about what I'm drawing, I tell him what it's about first and when I see that he's trying to imitate me by using my pencil to draw, I get him his crayons.

Other times, when he doesn't feel like drawing, I give my son a homemade clay I made; which I just realized I'm supposed to write about like 5 months ago. Yes, I am sooo "active" in blog posting. Here are some of the most fun artwork ideas you can introduce your child to, that he can do beside you while you're drawing or writing:
  • Homemade or Toddler-safe Clay
  • Non-toxic Crayons and Paper
  • Doodle Magnetic Board
  • Homemade or Edible Chalk (for outdoors)
  • Stickers to stick everywhere
  • Homemade Paint or Watercolor (and a giant plastic sheet to support all that mess)
  • Rainbow Sensory Bin

I hope this is a useful post. I am just sharing what I am going through as an artist, and hoping it's not just me who has issues like this. I also just want to share things you can do for your kid and yourself.

You both need to do what you need to, but it doesn't mean you always have to sacrifice one thing for the other. You just need to find a way around it, there's always a way, if you make one.

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  1. Yuop, I agree, there's always a way, you just have to find it! We like doing arts and crafts at home, it's messy but it's okay.

  2. Great tips! Kids that age have very short attention span and they get very impatient.

  3. nice tips here and this I like about your child, " I'm spending too much time on something else besides him. . . and he wants me back as his waiter."..Whah,, napaka-Bossy pala eh.

  4. I am glad that you find a way to enjoy your skill while spending quality time with the family.


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