As I nursed Malcolm last night, some thoughts had occurred to me concerning my path in life as an artist and how my focus has shifted since having my kids. After Vi was born, I had a very hard time accepting this new roll as a stay at home mom and I ached to work. My last contract as a designer was a gig in Maryland as a props designer for a college producion when Viola was arounf six months old. Aside from a social media marketing job part part time, of which I was laid off, I haven’t formally worked in theatre for two years. After Malcolm was born I was so relieved to be unencumbered by a job, no matter how part time, because such an endeavor would have been impossible.
Why do we work? For a time I realized it helped fulfill my identity and worth. After Vi was born, I struggled to find my footing as a mom and a woman outside the realm of my skill set. It was hard. After Malcolm was born, I barely gave working a second thought. as I did not have the luxury of time to think about it. Plus, I had become accustomed to my identity as a mom.
So as I nursed my nine month old last night, I thought, “What would I do if I was free to work now?” I would likely try to find a scenic painting contract with a local theatre company that at least paid, leaving my scenic design and stage management training in the dust. Scenic design wasn’t feasible any longer, as I don’t have a decent autoCAD program or the finances to market myself as a scenic designer. And Stage Management isn’t appealing once you have a family. Period.
Having two little kids less than two years apart has been hard and Malcolm has his high-maintenance issues. But even so, there is something to be said for home-making. Not “being-a-home-maker”–that makes me think of 50’s women massaging their man’s feet after work in full make-up while the pot roast cooks in the oven. But we as moms are the ones defining home life, aren’t we? That’s why we work–to come HOME. I feel I am apart of the very crux of why we do what we do every day.
Someday I might pick up a scenic painting contract. Because I love telling a story and being a part of a shared experience. For now, I can plan painting projects in my home and help create the story that really matters, even if that means less sleep and seemingly mundane tasks. But I am glad to know that working is simplya means to the end I get to live in every day. And that is encouraging.