Firestarter Friday: Don’t Forget Your Family

Of course we dyed eggs this weekend. It never, ever gets old.

Leave it up to me to hit “save as draft” instead of “publish”. Oh, well. Here it is, two days late but still wonderful, Firestarter Friday.

We got the motherload of veggies and fruit, so there will be a lot of cooking going on this week.

When you look around for ideas on creating a great creative process, you will find there are many different approaches you can take. I’ve talked about assessing your creative process and tailoring it to fit you. I’ve also talked about cleaning up your studio space so you can work more efficiently. You can go to a variety of resources online and off to find any topic you want to know more about. One thing that is a common thread in a lot of these topics is simple – it’s you.

Many times, you hear people talking about an artist as a singular bring. You are your own entity and you think about what works best for you. But what if that’s not you? Not every artist has the luxury of making a living through art and not having a single other person to support. It’s nice to carve in time for creating, but often it has to be squeezed around family obligations or a full-time job. And the thing is, once you can strike a balance, it feels wonderful. Plus, reaching that ideal point (or getting near it) makes you and those around you that much happier.

But what about taking that next step beyond just planning around your family? Making sure they understand what plans you are making and their role in it is just as important. When I first started making Wednesday night my art-only night, I didn’t really say anything about it. I blogged about it, but I never told my husband about it. He’s rarely home on Wednesday nights, so it never crossed my mind. But when we was home for it a time or two and my mom moved in, it really made me think about what I should do. I considered not doing an official art night anymore because there were other people around. That thought didn’t last long because I realized the entire reason for me having an art night was so I could keep something important to me. All I had to do was let everyone else in the house know what was going on. Once I said Wednesday was a chore-free night, everyone was on board. And I think they were actually a little relieved because that means I’m also not harping on anyone else to get stuff done.

A delicious meal made as a family, and enjoyed as a family. My husband makes a great israli couscous with fresh herbs and veggies.

Sometimes just telling people what plans you’ve made doesn’t work. Sometimes it can be really tough to ask for something that may feel a bit selfish. But everyone needs time to do what they love. Just do a bit of thinking in advance…what do you want to do and what can you cut. In my case, I realized all my time was being eaten up by chores. I had this “I only have a bit more to do” mentality, but then realized I would never get anything done. For the days where my husband is home, we talked about how we can get stuff done and still have fun time together. And actually making plans together has made it much easier for all of us to stick with the plans we’ve made.

After all the planning is done, you should also take the time to work your family into your creative time. I’ve pretty much given up on trying to cook dinner alone. I always have a little body clinging to my legs saying “me help mama, wanna cook mama”. It’s so much easier to find something she can help with than occupy her somewhere else. Plus, she looks pretty cute snapping the ends off asparagus. So we are bonding over something I love, plus she is learning a good set of skills for later in life. So I am turning a chore into something much, much better.

One last thing to round all this out – don’t forget to thank the people close to you for their help. If your parents help watch your kids so you can take a new class, make sure you at least say thanks. And maybe bring some chocolate. If your significant other takes on some chores so you can have a few hours for a project, make sure you return the favor later.

So get out there and make plans. You can move forward as an artist however you want, just make sure you invite your family along for the ride.

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