I listened to an episode of the Laura Horn Art podcast where she interviewed Inga Buive. It was entitled "Painting While My Son Naps" and while they chatted through various topics such as motherhood and Inga's thoughts on her creative journey, I immediately resonated with the "nap time artist" title. 

When I started Carlita Hearts in November 2019, I painted at night when my children slept (mostly!) and during the day when they napped. Those quiet moments were so much fun despite them being limited in their timeframe. It amazed me to discover how much I could get done and I really am grateful to God for that season of my creative journey. There was no time for uncertainty when faced with a blank page - if you are granted 5 minutes of kid-free time, best you put your brush your paper!

Then, as with all seasons, my children grew out of (read: defied) their daytime naps. We do let them have quiet play from time to time in the afternoon in their rooms but it's not consistent. How would I find the time to scratch the creative itch, so to speak, during the day? Eliminating the daylight hours from painting to only night time, left me feeling frustrated. I tried to paint with them around, but whoa, they wanted to get involved using my paint set, brushes and would even paint on the piece I was busy with! It was a very different to the tranquil, nap painting stints I was used to. 

I kept trying to paint without having my children around me, but over time, I knew that wasn't a sustainable way to continue in my creative journey.

To be honest, I want them to grew in their own creative skills and share how they can marvel at God's creative hand in creation too, so why would I exclude them from my own, when I wanted to them to be doing the exact thing I am keeping them from?

It felt counter-intuitive so I needed to prayerfully consider a different approach.

Now while I still prefer to paint on my own which is usually at night, I've opened myself up to getting creative with my children, not without them. Letting us sit together and embark on a simple creative project. Colouring in pages, having them commission me for a picture (let's just say that they are my most impatient commission customers!) or crafting something out of a delivery box. It's not always this Pinterest-worthy time where we are all smiling, getting things right and making the most magical creations. There are moments of tears, unmet expectations and disappointment. But, the sweet fruits I've seen are where they get creative out of their own when left to play, and it is so encouraging to see! Children really learn from what's unsaid and from what they see (not always, but lots of the time) - if you are seen with a pencil crayon in hand, they will be drawn to also have a pencil crayon in theirs. 

While I don't have all the answers to seamlessly weave motherhood and creativity together, I think if it's a little messy, it's being done right. My hope for the next while is to continue along this creative journey with curiosity, be open to different seasons that will ebb and flow, encourage their hearts to be in awe of God's creative and loving hand in their lives and ultimately enjoy the journey, as my children sit beside me growing in theirs.

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