Artist/Mother (photo by Patrisha McLean)
You might think that being a mother and being an artist would be at odds. For me, the roles of parent and artist have been inextricably intertwined.
I didn’t start writing songs until I had my first child. I taught myself piano while she played beside me in her crib. I recorded my first album while I was pregnant with my second child.
I have been an artist my whole life but it wasn’t until I became a parent five years ago at the age of 24 that I felt, for the first time in my life, a true urgency to create art. It was related to a deep need to rediscover and reclaim my own identity after having gotten married and becoming a mother in quick succession (10 months in between FYI).
I am physically lazy. I have a lot of mental energy. I am neurotic. I have mood swings. I become obsessed easily. I have laser focus. I am persistent. I am competitive. I like to win. I don’t like to struggle. I am not what you might call ‘balanced.’
Without an outlet, this extra energy festers and curdles. For a long time, it did.
But, since becoming a parent, this energy, these aspects of my personality that I once considered negative, is what feeds and sustains my productivity the most. I become laser-focused on finishing a song. And I do it. I work until I achieve a goal. And I complete it. This persistence is vital since I have two young children. Without true commitment and hard-headed determination, I don’t think I’d get as much done as I do. In some ways, becoming a mother has taught me the arbitrary nature of limits. I do more every day than I ever thought was possible before I had kids.
I have had so much support along the way. Amazing family members. And friends. And believers. I’m fortunate enough to have a partner who truly understands how important creative identity and artistic dreams are to me. Shawn is my true partner – in parenting and in art. We work together. We work hard together. We get things done together. We enjoy life and music together. In many ways, our dream has become a family affair. Our kids come with us on tours and hear our songs. Music is a deeply embedded part of our lives. I am truly grateful for that.
I’m not saying that I have it all figured out. Becoming a parent has afforded me some of the greatest joys in my life. It is beautiful. And challenging. There are aspects of parenting (and being an adult) that I am still not used to.
But I love my life. I wouldn’t trade it for the world.
If I had never had kids, I would probably live in a single room filled with trash, never bathe, and cover all available surfaces with books, clothes, words and drawings. I would only eat things that required no cooking whatsoever. In fact, this pretty much sums up my college experience.
Having a family has pushed me to become more balanced. And much more intentional with my goals. More intentional with my art. More appreciative of time.
The fast-track to adulthood is a journey, a process, a challenge. I have struggled a lot. And I have discovered a lot.
I have discovered confidence.
I have discovered that I am capable of doing more than I thought possible.
I have discovered love, joy, and contentment deeper than I could have ever imagined.
I have discovered things about time- mainly that it really does pass.
I have discovered the value in taking my time to do things right.
I have discovered the value in planning for the future (although I don’t always).
I have discovered that I have an immense capacity to multitask.
I have discovered empathy.
I have discovered the reward of really committing to something and seeing it through.
I have discovered how to communicate.
I have discovered how to speak the truth.
I have discovered how to act with intention.
I have discovered maturity.
I have discovered myself.
It brings me immense comfort to know that I have a safe place to land. A place where I am needed and loved. A family full of love and life and joy. It gives me a sense of home. Of belonging. Of stability.
It is a solid foundation. A safe space. And it gives me the confidence to fly.
Listen to my music on Spotify.