Accepting My Dual Calling

Me and my first born, Ethan Michael.

I am both an artist and a mother. This first part of my identity became apparent very early on in life. However, it was not until I was fully immersed and committed to the former that I was awakened to the latter. Becoming a mother was a deliberate choice made by my husband and me, and it felt like I was answering a deep calling—very similar to the soul whispers that prompted me to grasp a paintbrush and not let go. I needed this...this was who I was. But seriously, how was I supposed to do both? Did I get it wrong? If I was going to let a part go, it would have to be the artistic part...

Although I cannot speak to all the other challenging careers out there, I can attest that the last ten years in the art world have been more difficult than I anticipated. Rewarding, but difficult. Motherhood? Well that’s a whole new level of difficult! I had no idea what I was getting into when I answered that call. Both jobs require my all, all of the time. They are deeply fulfilling and I wouldn’t trade my life for anything, but it has taken me years to come to an acceptance of this dual existence.

Ethan snoozing in the rocker while I try to work in the studio.

Before I came to appreciate the equal importance of both my roles, I would fight and struggle when one role crashed into the other. For example, if one of my boys needed me during my painting time, I would angrily stomp to his room and do my best to meet the need as quickly and efficiently as possible so I could get back to my project, and God forbid if they asked for something AGAIN! On the other hand, I would feel deep remorse and shame when my husband would send photos of himself and the boys having fun at the park while I was doing a demo at an art opening. Always angry or always sad...very rarely content and at peace in the duality.

So, what does acceptance of my dual calling look like these days? Like the fitful, exuberant dances of my children during our after-dinner dance parties. It sure isn’t pretty, but it is fun! I’ve come to grips with not being the best at either of these roles, but I’m on the dance floor giving it my best. I’m learning to meet the needs of my boys with grace as opposed to anger or asking for their forgiveness when I don’t. I involve my boys in my process when I can and fit my process around them when necessary. I’m learning to treasure the special time my husband has with the boys while I’m off doing art-related things. Gratitude, not resentment or shame. In accepting my two callings, I’m more of the whole person I was designed to be. Turns out I wasn’t supposed to leave one calling behind, but courageously embrace both and hold on tight for the ride.

Our messy dining room table: my color sketches, toys, socks, half-eaten food from who knows when!

We often have various roles in life we are trying to balance...what are yours?

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