Kristen Fagan

The Great Balancing Act by Kristen Fagan

5:59 PM

Tree of life belly cast painting by me
Nine years ago I left an office job and took a telecommuting job with Soft Flex Company. My desire for doing this (besides the obvious perks of working from home) was to start a family. Being available to my family while working was important to me. When my son was born, I worked all hours of the day squeezing in time between naps and working late into the night. After about a year I realized that yes, I was balancing my time but, I was in chaos, tired, and not fully engaged with my family or my work and I wasn't creating art at all. I realized then, that balancing your time doesn’t necessarily mean you are balancing your heart and soul. And finding that heart and soul balance is something I continue to work towards.

Today I work full time, make art, connect with new people and old friends, and at the end of the day, I feed my children, read to them, put them to bed, and catch beautiful moments of their childhood. Here are some of the ways I stay connected.

Ways to stay connected as a family  
  • Discuss your day and your feelings. We turn off the TV during dinner and discuss our day. We also have semi regular family meetings. They are a forum to discuss family issues going on (like the boys insatiable need for snacks) and what things have made them happy, upset or sad. Having time to safely share their feelings has proved to be invaluable.
  • Schedule free time. We enjoy parks, museums, visiting friends but, we also enjoy hanging at home. So each weekend we leave some "free time" for us to just be home and with each other. That sometimes means missing out on an event and that's okay.
  • Volunteer at school if possible. I visit my son’s first grade class 2x a month on my lunch break and give a 20 minute art history lesson. This is rewarding on many levels, I share my love of art history, I get to know the teacher and students and my son is very happy I am there. There may be something you can do to help that is in line with your time and interests or maybe you can stop in for lunch with your child.
  • Maintain a healthy relationship with your husband. My husband and I currently work from home and are lucky to spend lots of time together already however, we still need to maintain a deep connection. Making time to talk about things that interest us (other then the kids) is important. I like to read and he likes to listen to podcasts and we share what we are learning about with one another. We have a special Sunday morning show we always watch together and we share the responsibility of putting the kids to bed early each night giving us each one on one time with the boys. Putting them to bed early allows us some time to ourselves in the evening.
Me and my son painting together.
Ways to stay connected to your art 
  • Take time for creativity. In my situation I am not able to be in my studio every day but, I try to get there once a week and on the days I’m not in the studio I look for ways to enjoy creative time with my children such as drawing, playing with dough, music, dancing and reading. All those little moments support me as a whole artist. If you are serious about putting time in your studio pick a schedule for yourself that works with your life, not against it, and get into a routine. Also regularly evaluate where your time is going and see what adjustments can be made.
  • Make your workspace work for you. You have to have a creative space that works. For me, I have to be at home but, in my own space. My garage has served this purpose well. I go out there in the evenings when the kids wind down and are playing quietly (and my husband is home) or I go out there on weekends and bring my kids with me. They have an easel setup right next to mine so, that we can create together. Lastly, try to keep your workspace neat.  My studio isn't always in tip top shape which okay but, when it's a big old mess I don't want to go out there.
  • Have a secret weapon. My secret weapon is my husband. He is a tremendous help with household chores and cooking. If it wasn't for his help I wouldn't have the energy to do half of what I am able to accomplish.  Having someone there to support you in whatever shape that means to you is invaluable. It could be your sister, an artist friend you can relate too or maybe it's a spiritual guide or simply a cup of coffee that gets you going. Your secret weapon could be just about anything.
How do you balance motherhood and the life of an artist? Do you have a secret weapon that helps you along your way?

Guest blogger Kristen Fagan is the Website Graphic Designer for Soft Flex Company. She also has her own blog and etsy shop.  She'd love to hear from you! So, please feel free to leave comments or email her at Kristen@SoftFlexCompany.com.

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3 fabulous thoughts ...

  1. HI!

    What a beautiful post, we all need to slow down and remind ourselves what truly is important..
    Thanks for sharing your thoughts to help us all stay on the right path!
    Take care

    ReplyDelete
  2. Thanks so much for your comment, I'm glad you enjoyed it. It was a good reminder for myself as well writing it. Be well, Kristen.

    ReplyDelete
  3. this is truly a wonderful and honest post. Thank you for sharing your thoughts with us. :)

    ReplyDelete

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