I looked at my phone — 7:45. I took a deep, relieving breath and kicked off my outdoor sandals in exchange for my comfy sleepers. I’d just got back from walking my son to school. We’d transferred him to a new school this year for its short distance from home—10 mins walk, driving time saved and more margin for me to do the work I love.
Suppose you are new here, friend, welcome! I’m a mom to two adorable children, a boy and a girl. They are aged two and five and need me all day long. My son goes to Year 1, and my daughter goes to the nursery. Today marks my daughter’s first nursery day and my son’s second school week after the summer holiday. Let me tell you– sitting in a quiet, empty home and typing these words out feels darn good. I’ve missed this for the past two months and a week!
I missed it so much that I cried ten days ago when I learned my daughter’s nursery would start one week later than expected. I had excitedly marked out a 7-week work plan until the mid-term break when the kids would be home for a week. Yet, now, I would have one less week to work and one more week with a toddler at home ( I love my children with all my heart, but the disappointment was how I felt).
What’s the big deal?
I used to compare myself to those homeschool moms and felt inferior because they were happy to spend so much time with their kids that they must be great moms, yet I couldn’t help but feel grumpy and desperately want to shut myself in a room after spending just a few hours with my kids. Thankfully, I have learned that there are many expressions of being a great mom, and each mom has different strengths and personalities. It had never occurred to me, but now I suspected it to be true that some stay-at-home moms simply love staying at home and homeschooling, which is their gift. But that gift is not for everyone, and it is ok.
If you are familiar with Enneagram, I’m a Four. If you are also a Four or with a Four-wing, you would know that purpose and meaning are essential to people like us, and in doing creative work, we find the connection to the soul.
A few months ago, I registered my art business. I have an online shop on this website to sell my watercolour paintings and prints. I design surface patterns for fabrics, wallpaper, and home decor, and I just opened a shop on Spoonflower. I also love to read and write (Thanks for reading it now). I love the work I choose to do because making visual art and writing makes me feel alive. I grow closer to who I’m meant to be through doing creative work.
However, one of the biggest obstacles to creative flow is distractions, which is guaranteed in motherhood, especially in the early years. I had many sweet, magical moments this summer with my children, like swimming in Annecy lake and on road trips in Europe. But I also had many frustrations with them whenever I tried to do deep work. When my husband goes to work and I’m at home with the kids, there always seems to be another plate of snacks to give, diapers to change, and sibling conflict to solve. It’d be a miracle if I could finish my coffee in the mug while it is still hot, let alone painting, writing, or designing. I couldn’t wait to go back to work, to build my newly registered business.
So, I cried when I heard my daughter would stay home one more week before nursery started. Then, I found a moment in the corner of my home studio, shared my feelings with God and waited.
My friend, if you are still reading, chances are you relate to my struggles, and perhaps you are a Four too. I want to share what came to mind that day while praying and waiting.
It turns out it is not all about what I want but about surrendering to the Way of Life. Taking a few steps back from my intense feelings, I could have a better perspective and see all my life domains and priorities. No doubt that my kids and family are my priorities. Creative work is important to me, but it can wait.
Going through life, we can’t only do things we love. Sometimes, we need to step out of our comfort zone and do things that don’t interest us or come naturally to us to serve our priorities. In my case, it’s playing with my son his favourite “number game” (writing down pages and pages of numbers) while I want to go back to my studio to paint.
No matter how loud the easy-life gospel the world preaches, we will never become wholly who we are by only doing things we like. We grow and mature by intentionally doing things that are aligned with our priorities. And motherhood comes down to loving our kids the way they feel loved, even when it feels like a sacrifice to us.
And as we surrender, we can trust that the time for doing the creative work will eventually come (like writing this on my blog for you right now).
Oh, if you like the artwork I shared in this post, sign up for my email to be the first one to know when they are available for sale, plus extra goodies directly to your inbox! Also, you can go to my shop to check out my other pieces. Thank you so much! Talk soon!