By Shea Adelson
Someone recently asked me what I missed most from my pre-mom life, what I had to give up. After a long pause, I said, “Sleeping in.” It’s true, I really do miss sleeping in, unabashedly frolicking in bed until I can’t bear it anymore. But that sounded so trite, so I added, “And I miss not having the subtle, psychic stress of being a parent.” I realized I was trying too hard to answer this question and changed the subject.
But it stuck with me and while I was vacuuming this week — this is the time when I do all of my magical thinking — what I really, really, really miss most emerged out of the mist of my mama-mind. I miss being creative. I miss painting and staying up late to collage. I miss knocking around a few twigs and rocks, and building something useless but beautiful. I miss handcrafting invitations and thank-you cards, and exploring flowers with watercolor.
I give a lot of attention to self-care practices as a mom. I exercise, drink water, keep my brows trimmed, sit quietly a few times a week on my mat, and have nourishing conversations with friends. What seems to get knocked silently to the edges of my life is playing creatively. Within the context of my current set of priorities, merely getting my work done and being a decent parent and wife are about all I can handle.
Now, to be fair, I have attended to this yearning through cutting up Maxine’s art and making birthday cards, finger-painting side by side with her, and taking play dough to the next level. I even recently accepted an invitation from an artist friend to play at her art studio. Now that was fun — using feathers, ink and oil sticks on paper taped to a wall to make a mess with no outcome in mind. While I’m grateful for this, I am reminded of my yearning to make art and of how little time I make to make it.