Support Group for Those Trying to Juggle it All

  • Hello! This year, well I should say 2020 and now extended into 2021, I apparently have decided to obliterate the stress scale. They say don't have a baby, move, and start a new job in the same year. Since the pandemic began, I am homeschooling 3 levels of school (high school, middle school, and special needs preschool), supporting my husband with administrative work in our rental and home flipping businesses, adopted a furry baby in the form of a 9week old beagle pup, am preparing for a move this summer, and have supported family as the pandemic hit (my husband's family has had 2 deaths and 3 hospitalizations as of this week). Add to this, I have a need to draw and push forward, seeing progress in my own path toward illustration just to save my sanity.

    I'm sure there are others who share my level of frustration and need to de-stress, having support for what little art we can get to while working, juggling kids and home or virtual school and house and family . . . and a pandemic. I would like to invite those who need to vent to post on this thread. Share your work, share your innovative ideas, share your frustration in a safe space with those who are also creeping along at the speed of a continental drift.

  • I am right there with you! 2020/2021 has me homeschooling my VERY strong-willed, very dyslexic 4th grader and supporting my virtual 7th grader when she needs it. It has been very difficult to find the time and mental fortitude to dedicate to writing and drawing. I squeak in what I can when I can, but it is a challenge to say the least. I try to remind myself we are living through “interesting times” and to give myself lenience, but that is easier said then done some days. I can’t help but feel like my own development and goals as an author/illustrator have taken a backseat to the needs of everyone else. Sending you good vibes and just know, you are not alone in this. 🤗

  • @charitymunoz I think there a lot of us in this same boat. My husband lost his job last year and my daycare provider (who was like family to us) retired leaving us home with a 2 and 3 year old - plus we had to move all during the first month of lock down. I became the main income support (with my illustration career) for my family. Then in September I had two surgeries. What’s funny is I was fine until my husband got a job in October - it was like I finally had a chance to breathe and process everything and the result was a total burnt out for four months. At the very end of the year I picked up an additional illustration gig, started listening to the podcasts again and came back here to reconnect. I finally feel like I’m out of the woods now and back to creating. But I think ramping up slowly, chatting in the forums, maybe doing a class or two is a great way to ramp back up. ❤❤❤

  • Oh lord yes this is hard times. Thank you for posting this thread. I have huge respect for all of you who are parenting through this, and while I'm not in that same boat, I'm in the same ocean. My mom was diagnosed with Alzheimer's this summer, and I've been trying to help my mom cope and grieve and my dad and sisters and I transition to a caretaking role, mostly via Facetime from 8 hours away, plus monthly road trips with isolation periods on both sides. It's been grueling, and so sad. At the same time, for about 4 months my fiance and I gained a new housemate in the form of a old colleague who got stranded by the pandemic and couldn't fly home to Shanghai. My main coping mechanism has always been my work, scenic art, which was physically demanding, absorbing, and creative. But I haven't worked since March, so my fiance and I canceled our September wedding, which is for the best because he just lost his job in December in a surprise downsize. So now we're both unemployed, and struggling to find optimism in all of it. It's been rough.
    In addition to information and advice and inspiration, what I really need now is some regular sense of community in my life, and I'm happy to find some pieces of that here on this forum.

  • @erinrew Thanks for posting! Yes it is "interesting times". Keep creeping along! I think that every inch we manage to squeak out during all this craziness must pay off with even stronger dividends in the long run. Hang in there and keep well!

  • @carlianne What you're saying definitely would bring me to burnout! Stress from all this has funny way of showing itself, especially if our feeling it is delayed. I will definitely take your advice and ramp up slowly. As for you, glad to hear you are back to creating! That's got reenergize you after such a rough time! Keep well!

  • @Valerie-Light I understand the strain of caretaking from a distance! My husband's family is in Bolivia and we are watching as the pandemic hits them from here, providing what moral support we can. Hang in there and keep inching along! I'm sure art will start up again as we catch our bearings in this new year. In the meantime keep well!

  • @charitymunoz I am so sorry to hear what your family is going through. Thank you for making this thread for venting, and hanging in there together. It's nice to have a moment to be real about what a mess this year is. I think for many people right now, it's a kind of surreal struggle to put yourself out there and present a professional face for networking, while lots of things are so uncertain and crazy. But we plug along, and find new resolution day by day. ♥

  • SVS OG

    Oh man, Yes to all of this. I have heard so many people say that “if you are a writer, you need to write everyday!” And, “if you are an artist, you need to draw every day!” But, I also read a book recently called “DEEP WORK” where they talked about our limited capacity. And, for those of us who can’t do art full time, who feel the need to make it, but have to do it on the edges of all the other more pressing things... The call to do it “everyday” no matter what, can be really discouraging. It can feel like failure, but burn out is real. And, experiencing it, doesn’t make us any less as artists. There are days when I just can’t, and there are days when my family can’t or doesn’t want to give me space or time in my studio. It’s real, but its a season.

  • Oh, my friends, this is a difficult club to belong to!
    I still struggle with this so much, both my kids are special needs and especially when I was a single Mom with my oldest who had the most sensory struggles when she was little- I cried so much because nobody could relate to how difficult it was. I felt like most people assumed I was "doing it wrong" either as a parent or regards to the system.
    It's a little easier now that I've been doing it for over a decade, but when I easily lose an entire day because a sock is wrong- there's a part of me that has a pity party thinking I'll never get there because I can't put in the time that other artists can.
    I always wanted people to be able to relate to that more, but not like this!!
    I see you all, you are doing great, and it gets better!!

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