Life with a new baby is rather slow. Despite constant reminders by well meaning Baby Boomers how quickly your children’s lives go by, I find my days creeping along, at once mindless and wonderful. The baby learns to smile and interact amidst the endless diaper changes in a day. He sleeps on me, not in his crib, so I cannot move sometimes. We nurse- A LOT. I look for activities to take us out of the house. Sometimes the best I can come up with is our local coffee shop.
Meanwhile, my husband’s day is full to the brim, filled with meetings, conference calls, commuting, travel, dinners with the team and writing proposals for projects. He comes home exhausted. He unwinds, goes to bed. My shift continues through the night.
Recently, when my father visited to help with my daughter, I had a flurry of activity. I wrote show proposals, edited photos, painted and connected with art consultants and galleries.
He left, and everything quieted down again. I finished some small paintings I had started months ago. But those large canvases I bought with great ambition? They remain encased in their packaging- mocking me as I walk in and out of my garage studio each day.
Sales have slowed. EVERYTHING has slowed. I try not to get discouraged, try not to take it personally when strangers snicker as they ask what I did before the baby was born. “An artist? That’s not a real job. You’re just a silly housewife supported by her husband,” they seem to say. Or is that my insecurity talking? I can’t tell.
I remind myself I show in galleries. I do sell work. I am a professional. No really, I am.
Other women remind me I am only a couple of months postpartum, and recovery takes time. But life after the baby has been less a recovery, and more a recalibration of my life. It seems evident to me I may exist in the snail’s pace of Babyland for some time.
I’m grateful the baby and I are healthy. I am grateful we have enough money so that I don’t have to work, and put the baby in daycare for hours a day. I suppose this is all simply a threat to my ego, and my identity as artist.
I remind myself I wanted children- that I chose this life.
I remind myself that they are not babies forever, and in the end this time will appear to fly by.
I connect with a higher self, one older, wiser, more grounded and stronger than me. She has a house and a studio and she is a successful artist. This wasn’t all for naught. Her adult children are a joy to her. She is grateful. Her life is good.
This struggle wasn’t all for naught. It is part of the process. It is part of living. In the end, this experience will feed me- will show me the wonder of the world, and bring me to the depth of wisdom I crave.