Any other parents taking the summer off?

  • I'm trying to find a way to assuage my guilt and find some ideas to stay creative in some capacity. Having my kids home full time during the summer means I don't have much time for creating. I can carry a sketchbook around and scribble, but having any time for deep dives into a project is unlikely. I guess I could also submit to publishers/agents. How are other people in the same boat feeding their creative selves in the midst of childcare?

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    @Laurel-Aylesworth I am home with my kids for the summer too, but mine are aged 7 and 14, so I do have some freedom. I mostly plan on working at night, but I also thought that them being home may be an opportunity for me to learn how to let go and learn to work quick and loose. That is hard for me - I am an over thinker and I really put a lot of time into my compositions.

    How old are your kids? Do you have time to work at night?

  • SVS OG

    Taking the summer off. Rather, no commissions or jobs this summer. No major projects. I’ll only be painting for fun and as an outlet. I’m trying hard to be present with the kids. It’s a struggle, cause I want to paint all the freaking time. And when I picked up the brush again it was hard. I forgot mix my colors and my ideas had dried up. So, I’m going to try to do a small amount more often. Remember.... being an artist we need to fill our creative bank accounts. We need to live. So, give yourself permission to do so. That’s what I keep trying to tell myself. And create with your kids. Some of my like to paint, so that’s fun!

  • Think of it as immersive research time. I sometime has a piece of paper near by when playing with my toddler. I wrote down a line or two in between, inspired by how she plays, or what she said.

  • SVS OG

    I raised three kids and the last one is in college and has a summer internship so I am finally past that stage but I remember all too well the fun/burden of having the kids home from school all summer. For what it is worth, here are things I did to survive:

    1. I always had a portable sketching pack (sketchbook, pencils, eraser, sharpener) with me at all times. (My sketchbook and pencil case are small enough to keep in my purse.) If the kids were playing at a park, or I was waiting to pick them up from an event, or I was attending a sports thing, I could sketch. I'm sure the other parents thought I was anti-social because at sporting events I would pick a place away from everyone else in the bleachers so I wouldn't have to chat but drawing was more important to me. (I now also have a portable watercolor kit but I didn't do as much painting when the kids were younger.)

    2. If I was dropping kids off somewhere, I would often take a few minutes on the ride back home to stop and sketch something I saw.

    3. I adjusted my schedule to get up before they did when they were young. By the time my kids were in high school that was no longer an issue since they often slept until noon in the summer!

    4. I forced myself to produce at least a sketch a day. I even had a sketchbook one year that was designed specifically for a "sketch-a-day." Lots of times that sketch was a five minute drawing or something that was little more than a gesture drawing but because I had scribbled something down each day, I was able to go back to them when I did have some extra free time and work them up more.

    Overall though, here are the things I learned that were most helpful. This is not intended to be preachy but I figured that as one who has gone through it (as a single parent no less) and survived, you might like to hear what I learned.

    1. It's okay -- even good -- to be a little selfish with your time. I finally stopped feeling guilty about it and today my kids frequently comment on how good they feel about themselves and about me because they knew I loved them but my world didn't always revolve around them.

    2. Lower your standards in other places in order to give you more time to do the things that feed your spirit. When my first son was 5, we started cleaning house by doing "blitzes." I'd put on the timer for 15 minutes, and we'd run around doing as much cleaning as we could before the timer went off and then called that good enough. I taught all of my kids to do their own laundry and tried to ignore the imperfect job they did, and when they got to be teens, I gave up nagging them about the state of their rooms and just told them to keep their doors closed! (And amazingly, my two grown children are now neat freaks.) Make sure you are spending your time on the things that will really matter to you in the long run and learn to relax your standards on the rest.

    3. Be prepared to adjust. There is no secret formula to all of this because once you figure it out, they grow older and things change again. One of the college kids in my church was giving advice to our graduating seniors and the whole of her advice was, "Adjust," which I thought was great advice for everything in life.

    Good luck! And while most people my age say things like, "Enjoy it while you can; they grow up so fast," I say, "I love my kids dearly and am proud of the way they turned out but I got to say, I love having more time to myself. Hang in there. Your day will come!"

  • @demotlj Thank you. This makes so much sense to me.

  • SVS OG

    What @demotlj said. Sprinkle your art supplies all over the house. Watch tutorials on your phone. Read create book. Be more open to other creative expressions.

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