It’s that time of day. You finally have a moment to catch your breath. Maybe the kids have left for school, or you finished most of the house chores, or your kids have moved out and now you have a bit more time for you. That’s when it starts.
“I should spend more time with my family,”
“I really need to do that laundry,”
“Did hubby take the dog for a walk?”
We begin listing our myriad to-dos, a bunch of tasks left undone, usually focused on everyone but ourselves. Moms are really good at this. But so are Dads. So are all men and women who have been told their desire to be creative is silly or trivial.
When you start listing all of these “shoulds” in your life, you are really saying, “I don’t deserve time to myself.”
Say it out loud, “I don’t deserve time to myself.”
How does that make you feel?
Recently I received an email from one of our amazing community members. In it she wrote, “The problem is balancing my schedule and not feeling guilty for taking me time.”
There it is.
When you’ve spent most of your life worrying about other people, it’s a big change to start focusing on you. What do you want? What do you enjoy doing?
Each time you come upon a joyful free moment and ask yourself, “what should I be doing?” it’s a test. It’s a test of your commitment to your art. It’s a test of your own self-love and commitment to you. Do you value yourself? Do you feel you are worthy of having time to yourself?
Become your own ally by being the model the people in your life never had. What kind of future do you want your sons and daughters to have? Do you want them to see that motherhood is a world where you can’t have personal interests or a life outside of children?
Do you want them to see that taking some time to themselves is an important and healthy part of being a mother or father?
What messages do you send to your partners or friends when you tell them you don’t have time for an art class, but it’s so nice they do? Do you want to be part of a culture and society that believes in expansive, curious, creative play or a world where there is no time for anything and life is a race to the end?
If you are struggling with guilt over making time for your art I highly recommend this podcast episode 2 of Magic Lessons by Liz Gilbert. In it she talks about a mom who feels guilty about making time to write. And she shares some great advice and perspective from mom creators who have found a way to give time to their art.
Questions like this are hardest during the holiday season. But it’s during the hardest times that our commitment to creativity is MOST important. When we feel like we have no time for anything is usually when we need our me time most. It’s when we need to color, doodle, draw, paint, write… even if it’s only for 15 minutes when you wake up, or just before you go to bed.
I encourage you to start thinking about your resolution for your family and for yourself this year. Can you commit to your art and be the example everyone in your family needs and deserves? Can you honor your important and valuable desire to be creative?
In 2015 I created a daily calendar for artists to use to record the days they make art. It’s a fillable PDF but I do recommend printing it out and placing it somewhere visible. Each and every day you make art draw a big red X in the corresponding box. The more Xs you have, the harder it will be to stop.
A small commitment of 15 minutes every day can change your life. It sounds small and at the same time a bit exaggerated to say 15 minutes of art can change your life, but it’s true. Crystal Moody is an amazing example of this. She has committed to a daily art practice and over the course of several years you will be astounded by her art as well as the many lessons learned by embarking on this journey.
Guilt. Guilt comes from a place of feeling like we should be using our time differently. And this comes from a belief that our art, or desire to be creative is unimportant.
When you say out loud, “I don’t deserve time to myself,” what does it make you feel?
When I say it or even read it, I kind of giggle. The idea seems preposterous, or maybe even just a bit silly. It makes me feel uncomfortable.
Everyone deserves some time to themselves.
EVERYONE deserves some time to themselves.
And yet the guilt remains for many, even me. Because someone said art is unimportant. And if you prioritize something unimportant like art over say, your children, well then, what are you saying about the worth of your children? Your family?
In 2015 I began to keep track of my daily artist practice. Using my calendar, I was surprised at how motivated I was to keep track of those Xs!
A good friend of mine started doing this with yoga several years ago. She put an X on her calendar every day she practiced yoga. Often it was only 20 minutes of yoga time. She began to see that not only did she want to be able to put an X down everyday (there was some accountability doing this) her yoga practice was growing richer and deepening because of her daily commitment. That’s when I decided I should apply it to my art.
Despite showing my art in different galleries and selling to people I still feel I’m finding my voice. And this calendar commitment has made a huge difference in my ability to develop artistic voice and vision. The more art I make, the more my skill develops and the more my curiosity is tweaked. I’m guided toward new ideas and art experiences I would never know about had I not created my calendar and began ticking off those boxes.
Without the accountability of my calendar, my artist practice becomes a sideline, a project for “when I have the time.” But by committing to my art and tracking my practice, I now can confidently say I HAVE an artist practice. Because now I can say, “I deserve time to myself. I deserve my creativity.”
BE COURAGEOUSLY CREATIVE: Make a public commitment to yourself and your art that you will track the days you are creative. Announce your commitment in the comments below.