I often come into my studio drained. Drained from the long day of being a mother. A calling that I will never be released from, a work that gets no days off, and the need to be alert and on call continuously, even while I sleep. A role that wears me down, shows me my weaknesses, fills me with immense joy and yet a role that is only a slice of who I am and what my needs are.
When I was pregnant with my son I sat face-to-face with a woman who was approaching the opposing time in life that I was. While I was welcoming a new body into my home, her 3 grown bodies were leaving hers. All getting married or going to collage and leaving her behind to pick up where she left herself off, 20+ years previous to their arrival. She looked at me and said, “Don’t loose your own identity in motherhood, because when they’re gone you’ll end up with nothing left of yourself.”
This idea has revisited my conciseness time and time again as I continue to spend hours filling my son’s needs, often with unmet needs of my own. Thinking toward the many years of new bodies to grow and young-motherhood I still have ahead of me. A time that I will hold dear to, embrace, find utter joy, love, and peace in, but a time I will not allow to erase my own aspirations and dreams. I desire greatly to complete my bachelors, heck even a masters, to become a credible artist, to hopefully support in one way or another the income of my family doing things I enjoy. I want to do this while growing and nurturing little humans of my own, children with their own dreams and aspirations and a mother showing them it’s possible by example.
I admire the mother-artist Minerva Teichert who had 10 children, yes TEN children, while still creating incredible works of art. She would multi-task her daily duties as a mother along side her paintings and murals, sometimes simply one or two strokes of paint at a time. Having a family did not mean she was to forsake her inner need to paint. “I must paint… It’s a disease,” she expressed.
Motherhood is a calling that requires me to not only fill my little one’s bucket but to fill my own as well. There is much more of me to give when I separate a small amount of time to dive deeply into something I’m passionate about. My wish is that this will teach my children to value the aspirations of others and maybe even instill in them a passion of their own.
School will take longer for me than the average student. Nights will be late and not-so-productive at times and very productive at others. Days will be long and tiresome, but they will also be filled with no-greater joy. With snuggles and kisses, with imagination, curiosity and messes, lots of messes.
Marriage and family is not a reason to leave behind your own needs as a human. It may take sacrifice and off-hours with added sleep deprivation, but building your dreams along side motherhood is possible. In reality, motherhood for me, generated the fire-within. It’s what has given me an immense drive, a divine purpose, and a subject matter worth painting about.
Photos by Amy Ai Photography