“I have only drawn a few things in the last 10 years,” my sister told me at our last visit. Knowing exactly how that feels, I hastened to tell her about my success with overcoming my excuses and fears by setting myself a tiny goal of ten minutes of drawing a day. Often, after reaching the end of my compulsory time, I go on for a while longer, until someone in my family needs me. The hardest part was just getting started and justifying making the effort in the first place.
My sister knows all about her family needing her all the time. She has a new baby daughter, who requires constant attention and help, and who has difficulty sleeping. With that kind of load, it’s just too much to add a non-essential activity to the schedule. But I want her to!
Why? Because of the rewards I’ve encountered, and I want her to enjoy them too. For the last almost 20 years I’ve been raising my 8 kids full time, and only in the last few years have I tried to confidently do more artistic endeavors.
In reality, it is hard to make a meaningful personal goal come to pass when in every and any moment you might be essential to another person’s survival, but I’m not backing down from this goal because honestly, just ten minutes of drawing each day has become a springboard for me to better self esteem, excitement, courage and a deeper connection to heaven.
There is a lower barrier now to drawing and even painting sometimes. I feel the need to practice art frequently. I’ve joined my husband in his creative pursuits, at his many requests. I also see my kids doing art more, and it’s fun to teach the neighbor kids some lessons. I feel like a more whole human being while I’m being creative. Being a full-time mother requires all of your efforts, constantly, and that energy needs to be refilled.
Also, I think I need to admit that this is an easier thing to accomplish since my youngest is finally sleeping through the night and is good at entertaining himself for pretty big chunk of time. I wish I could say that my household chores are also doing themselves now. Looking to the future when there are fewer people and less laundry needing me all day long, I’ve heard that mothers go through a painful adjustment period and that a hobby is helpful in making that transition. I might be preparing for that day with this goal of mine.
My sister said, “I can’t play if there’s still work to be done.” Yep. I know that one. In reality, it will never be done. I’ve accepted that and I’m okay with that. I’m not happy about being judged by others as a failure if there is a mess left unsorted (as if all messes around here are somehow my fault!) No, I know the truth. All my work in my house and family is a revolving door. I’ll get back to it. I’m not going to break my emotional and mental health by trying to be in control every minute, because that’s a debilitating mindset.
Now my motto is, “As part of my daily work, I must draw or paint for 10 minutes.” See what I did there? I mandated some playing by calling it work! There’s nothing a dedicated mother likes to accomplish better than work, right?
Ten minutes really isn’t long enough to get deeply into something. But if you use this timing tool backwards, and limit some activities, (like sitting on the toilet browsing on your phone,) to ten minutes, you’ll see that you probably have a lot of time, and can sneak in a few more fun and enriching things than you have been telling yourself you can.
I’m still trying to make myself exercise daily, but that’s a different fight. The strength I gain from keeping this goal will help me gain the victory over many others.