I’ve been getting Robert Genn’s twice weekly newsletters for a while and this morning, he wrote about a letter he had received from artist Cedar Lee. Cedar is trying to balance new motherhood and her art and is finding it frustrating in the extreme.
I can so sympathize! Cedar’s post included an email address so I shot her this note:
“My kids are 16 and 10 now and I PROMISE you that it will get better and that you WILL get your time back but the bad news is that it is going to be rough for a while longer–at least until they are 4 or 5.
I was working on a dissertation when my second child was born and I was still able to work on it after she was born by stealing an hour here and there while she napped or while she played in a playpen or sat in a wind-up swing.
But once she started walking that was kind of it for a while. I started to feel really desperate that I would never finish. I actually broke down and cried one day because I thought I’d never manage to finish the PhD.
That same day a mother’s-day-out phoned. I had put Emma on their wait-list a few months before and they finally had space for her. That meant Tuesdays and Thursdays from 9 to 3 were completely free–those became MY HOURS. I would drop her off, rush home, and work furiously–not even bothering to eat.
Those 12 hours each week made all the difference and I was able to finish that dissertation. AND she enjoyed the social aspects of getting to see other kids and play with them. Plus, she was more tired and started sleeping better, too. It was a win-win all the way around. I had some free time, she got to socialize with others besides me, and we were both much happier.
Hang in there–every one of us mothers who attempts to create art has been in exactly this same situation. And don’t feel guilty for wanting your own time and space–you are a better mother for having this space!”
I’m sure that Cedar can use all the support we can give her so if you’ve been in this situation, too, shoot her an email.