Tag: having kids

Women, Are We Our Own Worst Enemies?

Why would a woman tell another woman she shouldn’t have kids because it will ruin her life, ruin her art career, ruin her body, take away all her freedoms? It happened to me, good friends told me I shouldn’t have kids because it would ruin my art career. On Facebook this weekend a thread was started with a question, kids? Or no kids? Versus Art? I can’t remember the exact phrasing. It brought a slew of responses, most of them kid positive, all of them acknowledging women’s “place” in the art world, being less than satisfactory. Men still have the lion share of Museum and Gallery representation and sell their art at a much higher price. But would this have been different if men were the ones giving birth? I wonder. Many women on the thread also made comments about privileged women with children vs. non-privileged women with children, those who married well vs. those who didn’t fair too well on the significant other and single moms. Categorizing women artists with children in a hierarchy according to wealth and circumstance to determine who has the best chance of “Making it” as an artist, which means competing in a male dominated art world. But is that it? So simply defined? Having the ability, time, money, right circumstances to be an artist is only half of it. A person must have confidence, determination, a vision, and work ethic.

Is confidence more the defining factor? Have our women counterparts told us negative things about ourselves, pitted us against each other, making us less confident? Has that stifled our determination to be professional artists and compete in a man’s world?  Has our vision been clouded because of all the comments from other women? A man has NEVER told me if I have kids I can’t be a successful artist, it’s only been women. Has our work ethic when it comes to our own work been side stepped to make more time for cooking and cleaning and wiping butts? We are our own worst enemies. Until ALL women come together and support each other in the art world regardless if we have kids or not, money or not, husbands or not, we will NEVER be able to make headway.

Yesterday I went for a hike with my family. I brought my sketchbook and pens, I brought the same for my almost four-year-old daughter, my son likes climbing on trees, so I didn’t bring one for him. Fiona and I sketched shadows and leaves and cat tails. I jotted down notes on things I want to write about, things I want to paint about. We hiked the whole way around the lake on foot, the first time with no stroller, no back-pack carriers. It was a beautiful fall day, crisp, trees all turning oranges and reds and yellows. It doesn’t have to be one or the other, a family or no family. No one ever told a man not to have a family because it will ruin his life or career. Why are women told they can’t enjoy having a family life? I have a sink FULL of dirty dishes looking at me, the house is a mess, laundry piled up. I have two kids I need to get ready for pre-school, make lunches. I don’t care, things will get done. If I need to write or go to my studio while they are in school and do the dishes later that’s fine. No one, no circumstance can take away a woman’s need to be creative. It’s unfortunate that other women would try to dampen our dreams and desires of being artists because we chose to have children. Remember, Men do not do this to each other. Are we keeping ourselves down by not uniting?  

Grounded by Jack and Fiona’s Nudging

What is it about Mondays? Every week lately, when I wake up Monday morning there’s a catastrophic event. Today, the Fires, burn hot, red sun, Smokey skies. Depression, fear, general sickness sets in. I panic. What will I do, kids wanna play outside. They are finally starting to relax indoors now after we spent the day at the mall. Stay away from the ash. People gather together indoors. A group of us meet to take the kids to the new My Little Pony Movie. After the popcorn, sour apple candies, and the seven-up; about fifteen minutes into the movie; Fiona crawled onto my lap;  all the sudden My Little Pony had green eyed monsters running around. It got scary. Next Jack got scared, then Fiona’s two friends. Pretty soon we were all back out in the mall. I told the ticket lady the movie was too scary for three-year old’s, how do you make My Little Pony scary? And Why? She gave me a refund. We walked around the mall parenting. I was tired, from the shock and sadness over todays tragic event.  I told the babies how lucky we were, to be safe from the fire.

Yesterday we went to the city, we hung out around Stockton and Grant. We ate Chinese food, walked through an ally where a man practiced Kung Fu, saw a mini Chinese parade with a paper dragon and giant drum, a loud Motorcycle parade rumbled by, Italians in Maserati’s, and the Blue Angels roared overhead. On Saturday we went to Pt Reyes, sat in the sun, wind, looking out into the great sea. Now I am back at home, it is a mess here. I can’t do anything to clean it, no energy, possibly a few loads of laundry, possibly the dishes. I feel so overwhelmed and short fused. My daughter is sitting right next to me, I tell her to give me space and she smooshes into me closer and closer. She keeps talking to me and I can’t help but laugh. She asks me why I’m laughing. I tell her she’s making me laugh, she gives me a hug. She has popsicle all over her face. Jack keeps asking me for a snack. I’m going crazy, but feel anchored , grounded by Jack and Fiona’s nudging.