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Q & A with Creative Momma Megan Gray

I was feeling a wild exclamation streak coming on. A need to bring up the subject of mothering and creativity and take a stab at outing the innate shame of this combination. Righting the wrong of the looks of suspicion and incompetency we get when we try to be both mothers and creatives! Gasp. Impassioned, I wrote a Mother’s Manifesto and I immediately knew who I needed to talk to on this subject : Megan Gray.

I think I must have stumbled on her prolific self through Instagram and soon I was reading some of her blog posts enthralled because not only was she a highly talented and prolific artist, she also faced some seriously scary life and death challenges with her daughter simultaneously. Among many other things surely, Megan paints, blogs, promotes other creative mammas, and mothers her own children. She inspires me immensely. So I asked her if she might be amenable to an interview. She said yes and asked me if I would also do one. The link to my interview is here.

Megan Gray herself on Shalavee.com

Do you feel there’s a societal conflict between creating, success, and mothering?

Absolutely! I don’t hear anyone asking my husband how he goes to work and does all that he does while having kids. But I also believe that mothers/caregivers have the power to change this mindset, and I believe we are starting to. I think with supporting each other as parents and creatives, instead of judging our choices as parents, we can move in the right direction. I also believe we can do it all, just not all at once.

I feel I need to work twice as hard to maintain my separate creative self since motherhood. Do you find this and how have you coped? How did/do you balance or juggle, allow for and nourish your creative needs and your babies’/child’s needs simultaneously?

When they sleep I work. When they are playing without my need to hover, I work. When I am with them, I am with them. When they were babies I constantly reminded myself that they grow quickly, enjoy this time (still remind myself of this). I was in full mother mode for the most part. As they get older and more independent I can work more because they also have lives of their own. We live, learn, and create simultaneously. Sometimes it’s great! Sometimes there are major challenges when someone is sick, or the kids are just being kids. I try my hardest to stay in the moment, but I’m not perfect. I feel lost and upset at times. I wouldn’t change any of this though. No matter what. They help me to see how much I need to create for myself. They are my greatest teachers and supporters. I love that! My husband also helps me soooo much. He only gets one day off and whenever he can he takes over so I can get more painting done. I really couldn’t do as much as I do without him. Support from others is key!Another Megan Gray painting on Shalavee.com

Was there a point, after you’d worked so very hard to establish a product and presence, when you could relax a little? Or do you feel a little like I do, stuck in a creative doing vortex?

I do take time to relax, especially after any events or bursts of creativity. If I don’t my sanity can get just as crazy as if I don’t create. I work a lot at night, so if I don’t go out in nature often, I won’t feel inspired enough to work either. It’s all a balancing act.

What do you do to keep balanced your career and family goals? To keep from burning out at both ends? What are your thoughts, mantras, or practices on maintaining the balance of being a good mother and a productive creative?

Practicing mindfulness has helped me to really be aware of what my needs are at a given time. Also, helps us as a family to be mindful of all of our needs. Compromises help too. Again, I am not perfect. I have moments I am not proud of as a parent/human. The best thing though is to surround yourself with supportive people as much as possible, and have a lot of patience for yourself. I’m still working on this.

There are also times on the parenting end and the creative end where I ask myself, “Have you done enough today?” I love my kids, but I don’t need to do every single thing for them, or play with them constantly. I want them to be independent and creative on their own. Of course I am here to help them when they are hurt, sick, having trouble with figuring things out, and to help guide them with learning, but I am also here to make sure they are given the freedom to be creative humans themselves. Same goes for my art. If my kids need me more, or in that moment, it’s time for them. I will get back to the art later on.Megan Gray Painting on Shalavee.com

My Take aways:

  • “We can do it all just not all at once”
  • We need to support each other in changing the judgemental mindset.
  • Ask for help from others
  • Get outside
  • Do your thing when you can and be with your children when you are with them

 

You can find Megan’s blog at www.megangrayarts.com . Her Facebook page and her Patreon page all show her dedication to making, selling, and sometimes giving away her beautiful paintings. Her Instagram page is where we do most of our chatting and I admire her kindness and enthusiasm so much. We art inspirational when we follow our own muses. I know you are with me when I say Buy Original Art!!!

Thank you lovely Megan.

If you enjoyed what you read, subscribe, via the subscription box in the sidebar, to my thrice weekly posts via your emailbox. And visit me on Instagram to see my daily pictures, friend me or like my page on Facebook. Or come find me on Twitter or Pinterest too. I am always practicing Intentional Intouchness so chat at me please. I live for conversations.

And, as always, Thanks to you for your visit.

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Change Is Good

There’s a shift that’s been slowly nudging me for change. Well, it started as slow nudging but has become more urgent. The whisper has become a yell. Because I’m a changer, an innovator! I switched my living room and dining room around last Fall ! I am impressed when other people don’t have a compulsion to redecorate or rearrange their houses. I haven’t done anything big here on the blog or at home decorating in a while.

See, there was a question posed to me that went something like, “Have I reached the point that in doing the same thing again and again, it’s actually holding me back?” And I’d have to say yes. I committed to writing three blog posts weekly. I’ve done a marvelous job at proving I’m reliable to myself, I write well, and can schedule stuff even in mid-chaos. Deer in the backyard on Shalavee.com

But now, there needs to be a more. A further step after you’ve gotten the basic step down. A variation needs to happen because you can feel the tension starting to build between what you are doing and what you could be doing more of. Like talking more and thus inspiring people or having them inspire you with their comments and participation.

I’ve created blog reading goodness here three times a week and delivered into your mailboxes. And now a delivery format change is necessary. My thoughts are to publish two blog posts weekly and then send out a weekly newsletter/blog post with links to those posts from the earlier week that you may have missed. Eventually I’ll be using everyone’s addresses that are on the Newsletter list to send both the posts and newsletters out as they’re being managed separately right now. Making it simpler so that I can put my efforts into creating bigger and better stuff. Like e-books and guest posts.

I urge you to put your email address into the Newsletter sign-up box in the right hand column and as a thank you, you’ll receive a link to a previously unpublished Creative Mothers’ Manifesto. It’s a passionate rant about being a mother and a creative simultaneously. There’s some insidious messages we receive yet I have solution thoughts.

And coming up this Wednesday, an interview with Megan Gray of Megan Gray Arts. She’s a prolific artists and mother and she answered my questions with her own twist and bubbliness. I’d had the pleasure of answering all of her questions on an interview on her blog not too long ago. We play on the same thought playgrounds.At the playground on Shalavee.com

Until the day after tomorrow lovely readers. Have a glorious next couple of days. We’ll be on vacation at the beach this week but I’ll be checking into my social media. Find me. Links below.

If you enjoyed what you read, subscribe, via the subscription box in the sidebar, to my thrice weekly posts via your emailbox. And visit me on Instagram to see my daily pictures, friend me or like my page on Facebook. Or come find me on Twitter or Pinterest too. I am always practicing Intentional Intouchness so chat at me please. I live for conversations.

And, as always, Thanks to you for your visit.

Achievement Addiction on Hiatus

My husband and I are from the same camp of hard work. In fact I’d say we’re both addicted to the feeling of accomplishment we get after completing our projects and tasks. So much so that to not be crossing off items from a to do list may feel slightly like failure. There’s no doubt, we’re achievement addicts.

We apparently have forgotten about the “being” part of human being in our drive to do. And thus, there will never be enough “done” to get the feeling we matter. It’s a hamster’s treadmill of promises we overachievers get caught on. It will all be perfect after this project gets done.

And then along comes Summer.

Summer is a concept/mode in which you are asked to relax. It demands you become a relaxed outdoor person with nonchalance and a tan. You are supposed to stop focusing on your list and unplug. Really? Yet, As hard as it is to let go of the “going going” and “doing doing”, I secretly sigh with relief because when Summer comes because it’s just the excuse I need to give myself permission for some long thwarted relaxation.Outdoors person on Shalavee.com

This year I saw Summer coming and prepared myself. I took care of all my self-care items to begin to prepare for the mandatory mood shift, all while still accomplishing my list. Proactivity at its finest. And then I invited friends over to christen the start of the relaxing and celebrating season with an all day chat-fest. And that felt like I’d accomplished a lot for the group of us. We all needed it.

I’d taken care of all my chores in preparation for the gathering. My floors were vacuumed, my shopping done, and my laundry caught up. And I was able to allow for me to do something I wanted to do and not just something I had to do.  I sat all day and laughed and drank and entertained and I was a Being. And I’m thinking this is the way to do Summer alright.My tribe in my backyard on Shalavee.com

So for all you Doers, who are reading this and thinking you probably need to do more for you. You do. I told my husband the other day that you can’t get more work out of a dead mule. Let Summer give you permission to have a seat and not do laundry today. Or ask someone else to make dinner (call for carry-out) and go chat with an old chum on the phone for hours. These are messages to yourself that you are worth more than the sum of you check marks. You get to enjoy and relax just as much as the rest of the world on holiday.

If you enjoyed what you read, subscribe, via the subscription box in the sidebar, to my thrice weekly posts via your emailbox. And visit me on Instagram to see my daily pictures, friend me or like my page on Facebook. Or come find me on Twitter or Pinterest too. I am always practicing Intentional Intouchness so chat at me please. I live for conversations.

And, as always, Thanks to you for your visit.

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