How I Balance My Mother/ Artist Dual Vocations

TLDR: I don’t. In fact some folks might accuse me of being selfish for jetting off to France next week for a month-long artists residency. While others might accuse me of not being ambitious enough for taking off so much time to be home with my daughter and those long gaps in my CV.

Wellspring: A Mother Artist Project

I was invited to be a part of a panel of mother artists to discuss our lives as mothers, our work and faith. I will be joined by several other women who wrestle with this tension. The short answer is that I do not balance it. I am both artist and mother all of the the time. I only have one child and plenty of support, but I still struggle to be present in the studio and present at home. It is an ever-present tension. The development of organizations such as Wellspring tell me that I am not alone in this.

Click on the image to learn more and register for the event:

Click on the image to learn more and register!

In fact, this morning I was planning my week, which included finishing a small maquette and statement of intent for a Request for Proposals as well as come up with grocery list and meal plan for the week.*

*See below for a delicious recipe that I am planning for Thursday. It’s a favorite in my family and an easy way to slip in some vegetables for my teen.

Marveling at Rubens

I wish that I had a story of this integrated life of working side-by-side with my peaceful and creative toddler in the studio and the kitchen; or frequent museum visits where we marvel at works by Rubens. (We have spent time marveling at great works of art at the National Gallery in Washington, but it’s not near as often as I’d like.) I wish that I could share with the panel at Wellspring that now that I have a teenager I have this whole things figured out.

I don’t have it figured out.

I have raised my daughter in a life of art. So much so that it is ordinary to her to have a mom who makes statues and it is normal to go to bronze foundries and museums. In fact, when she was small she once said, “I can see why moms are so tired all the time. Making sculptures is a lot of work!” I had to tell her that not all moms make statues or even art for that matter.

The reality is that she is not particularly interested in making art or spending time in the studio. She does not like to cook, which is my other creative outlet. She is her own person with her own interests, likes and dislikes.

I often have to drop what I’m doing at the studio to pick her up from school and rush to an appointment. I have to ignore my natural rhythms of creativity in order to accommodate after-school activities, games, and dinner time. I have to go to bed early, even tough I’m a night-owl, because she’s up at the crack of dawn.

When most people imagine a creative life, they don’t picture it crammed into 8:00am- 2:00pm.

[You can see here that I’ve trailed off, no doubt rushed off to the next thing.]

My Favorite Kale Dish

Greek-Style Kale and Sausage Stew with Egg-Lemon Sauce

  • 1 tablespoon olive oil
  • 1 Small onion, diced
  • 1 pound uncooked Italian hot sausage
  • 6 cups  coarsely chopped kale leaves (trimmed of thick stems)
  • 1 ¼ cups hot chicken broth, divided
  • 2 eggs, beaten
  • 3 tablespoons fresh lemon juice

Heat Olive Oil in large pan. Add onion and cook over medium heat for 5 minutes or until tender. Break sausage into bite-size pieces and add to pan. Brown sausage on all sides for about 5 minutes over medium heat, stirring frequently. Add kale and ½ cup chicken broth. Stir.Cover, reduce heat and simmer for 20 minutes or until kale is tender.

Beat eggs with lemon juice in heatproof bowl. Gradually add remaining ¾ cup hot chicken broth to egg mixture while beating consistently so eggs do not scramble. Pour egg mixture into kale and sausage mixture. Simmer over low heat 1 to 2 minutes, or until egg mixture is slightly thickened. (Do not bring mixture to a boil or eggs will scramble).

Serve immediately and enjoy!

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A figurative sculptor for over 20 years, Sarah tells monumental stories in clay, bronze, and stone.

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