By Rachel Ratcliff
The Art of Juggling –
Motherhood and Careers
It was the fall of 2017, my only child was 10 years old and I had no plans for more. I decided to make the plunge. I carefully outlined a plan on how to completely quit my day job and go full time with art.
All my savings were invested into supplies, prints and a full booth set-up for art festivals. It was scary, but it was exciting. I was ready to be a “real” artist!
Then, in November. . . SURPRISE!!! I found out I was expecting a new arrival to our little family. To say this threw me for a loop is understating the experience. I had no idea what I was in for. . .
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There has been a lot of conversation about balancing motherhood and careers over the years.
I’ve certainly not escaped it. People say “So, are you a student, or is this just a hobby?” When I explain that my art and I are neither they say, “Oh, so you’re a stay at home mom.”
No. I’m a working mom.
I say that, but sometimes I feel like I am just kidding myself. How can I be a “real” artist when the fractions of my day that are focused on art are so few compared to the hours of motherhood? How can I be a “real” mom, a “good” mom, when the number of hours I spend on motherhood are carved from the hours I spend doing art? Not knowing how and when to prioritize which “job” is a struggle. This is the struggle of so many moms of our time.
There’s this idea that the best art comes through pain and darkness. Struggling artists and all that. In my experience, that is rarely the case. While battling with depression, overwhelmed and feeling the anxiety of doing right by my children, trying to pull a creative thought out of my brain is exhausting.
I have had to take a step back – a few steps back, actually. I’m learning to be ok with not doing it all. I need to say no sometimes. I can’t be all things and do all things.
Sometimes I just need to be present for my girls and know that this is just a season. In this season, we feed the ground, we water established roots and we grow. Fruit will come with time, both in our careers and in our families.
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You can explore the work of Rachel Ratcliff at rachelratcliff.com