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  1. #1
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    Balancing an art life and family

    Hey there,

    I was just curious how those of you who have children find the time to balance your life as an artist (which is definitely very time-consuming) and your life as a parent. I don't have any children myself, but I definitely do want to be able to be a mother and give my children enough love and attention while still working as an artist... any thoughts on the subject?

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  3. #2
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    Sorry I am no use to your question, but I have been asking a similar question like this to myself. I know how you feel.

    On my journey of improvement (taking classes, drawing /all/ the time, practice, etc), I was wondering how people balance relationships and art? I have a boyfriend who is very understanding but I do not know how it's going to be when I really start getting serious (this summer) and take some intense drawing and figure drawing classes. ;( I already have trouble balancing the two and just don't know how it's going to be once I start a career as well!

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  5. #4
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    Haha, So I guess its hopeless?

    I too am in a relationship and find that there are many times when my boyfriend would like more attention then I can give. But, we are able to work it out because we live together, so even if I can't always be there then we can perhaps cuddle watching a movie before bed, or if I wake up early enough then I'll cook him a nice breakfast. the thing is, love relationships and the relationship with a child is completely different. A child isn't readily able to understand that s/he can't have your attention all the time, especially because you are doing something like drawing. And there's school plays/events, there's sick days, all these things that I think a parent MUST put aside time for if they want to do a good job. I guess it's a little early to be worrying about this, but It is a real concern...

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    I'm not an artist, but work full time with 3 kids. I used childminders when they were little. Being a working mother will always be a juggle.

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    I'm working fulltime as an illustrator. My boyfriend is working fulltime as an illustrator. problem solved <D

    On the other hand, we have no kids, I honestly don't know how it would be that way but it is do-able. Many of the professional illustrators I know have kids.

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    Yeah I accept any distractions my girlfriend provides.. "Let's go to my friend's friend's art/fragrance/music exhibition!" It stresses me out sometimes if I'm in the middle of a funk, or in the middle of a growth spurt, to spend time away from art. I tell myself it's good practice for when I have kids.

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    I have a full time dayjob, freelance illustration gigs with (usually) really tight deadlines, a girlfriend and three cats... and also a serious training regime and classes.

    If you squeeze the day enough, you have time for almost everything, but there are always sacrifices to be made. Usually, my girlfriend gets the worse end. I hate that, so I'm trying to change it so we have more quality time, but it is really a juggle.

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    Live life to the fullest. It is the only way. Observe and learn from the past, plan for the future but live in the moment with your partners and children.

    If the children want to be involved and have a go at painting, sculpture or whatever you are doing then let them, even if they can only just walk, make a space for them, teach them your skills, share with them your failures and your successes as they grow up. If nothing else this will impart wonderful knowledge to them and in time they will surpass you anyway. And yes that will take 15 or more years. That's all a part of being a parent.

    You cannot 'make time' for children. You must not create 'quality time'. That is a nasty deeply selfish way of thinking. They are of you. Love them, cherish them, involve them, answer all their questions, learn about those things that you don't have an answer for with them, create boundaries for them so they know that they are safe and watch them blossom. Yes they will consume all the time that they can take from you but that is OK. All too soon you will be taking them off to University and they will be off adventuring in their own lives. Then and only then can you go back to being totally consumed by your art.

    My partner and I have two children now 20 & 18. Both enormously good at their own art and they have been surrounded by us doing ours since conception. They have seen the good the bad and the bloody marvelous. But you see we have an advantage in that we do our art from our home. Yes our 'home' is really cool being in the country with space all around us allowing us to be ourselves.

    And be smart. We had our children when we were both in our thirties. There is no need to rush. Get all the things that you need to get done before you have children. And if you never have children, well as far as I am concerned that is just fine as well. If you can't make the commitment then don't do it until you can. Shitty parents create monsters far worse then anything you can imagine in art.

    We are remembered only by what we leave behind.

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  12. #10
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    I figured, Ive got 2 hetero sisters to carry on the blood line, theres 7 billion people in the world and 900million more on top of that every 10 years (for reals), Ill just opt out.

    Cos you cant be a skint artist with kids, you have to forget being a selfish fuck and work hard to provide for them. And I like being a selfish fuck!

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  14. #11
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    SSJ I've been wondering about all that too, I'm in my mid 30's now and I'm well aware that time is running out, but then again it's only now I'm feeling like i'm getting to grips with the beginnings of a career and that is taking up most of my spare time, luckily my partner is usually occupied with his own obsessions so it works out. I like what Waipunga says, that is the dream.

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    Waipung, very wise words!

    Again, I fall in the boat of those above.
    20's with a partner.
    I study go to uni 3 days a week to study, work 2 days a week in hospitality, have to study at home for my course, freelance animate which uses a hell of a lot of my time and also try and manage seeing my parents/siblings along with spend time with my partner.

    Some weeks are good, some are bad.... Like this one where I'm on my third night of getting 3 hours sleep. (freelance animation deadline pulled forward 4 days, thus no sleep).

    Anyway, it's a struggle as it is now with an average to 4-6 days sleep each night and a 4 hour commute each day. Not the most pleasant.

    I'll figure it out eventually, for now; I can live with the organised chaos.

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    Ever just woken up and gone "shit, does the world around me exist"?
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    Quote Originally Posted by Velocity Kendall View Post
    Cos you cant be a skint artist with kids, you have to forget being a selfish fuck and work hard to provide for them. And I like being a selfish fuck!
    Same here! I love just being able to draw all day even if I don't make much money. No desire for kids.

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    Quote Originally Posted by Velocity Kendall View Post
    Cos you cant be a skint artist with kids, you have to forget being a selfish fuck and work hard to provide for them. And I like being a selfish fuck!
    Same here! I love just being able to draw all day even if I don't make much money. No desire for kids.

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    Thanks for all your input, everyone. I feel that I've gained a new perspective on the subject... I honestly feel a lot of pressure to start a family sooner than later for both cultural reasons and for the fact that many of my friends have already had their children; but I realize that its better to wait for a reasonable time than to start a family at a time where you can't do your best as a parent...

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  19. #16
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    The social pressures and stigmas for and against certain behaviours respectively are strong and pervasive, but theres more than enough people in the world already.

    Balancing an art life and family

    Your life is not some empty waste if you dont have kids. Michealangelo and Leonardo were homos and I think we can agree they did ok.

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  20. #17
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    Quote Originally Posted by Velocity Kendall View Post
    Your life is not some empty waste if you dont have kids. Michealangelo and Leonardo were homos and I think we can agree they did ok.
    Leyendecker too. Sure, his lover was a douchebag, but hey, nobody can say Leyendecker wasted his life for not producing offspring.



    Check these out too:
    Rotor - GoGoJoJo

    "Limited drawing skills are OK if they are offset by a fearless commitment to putting images on paper."

    "I mean, What is a chair? It's an anti-gravity device." Glen Keane

    "The difficult part is continuously realizing when you've stopped enjoying the process, and re-aligning yourself. It's kind of like meditation/being an art ninja..." ceddo
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  21. #18
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    (Tried to post this on Tuesday. I love this new autosave, works a treat!)
    I agree with Waipunga, there's no rush. I'm 44, my wife is 40, and we have a 20 month old boy. I'd say you can only plan so far, because having kids really changes you, and you can't predict what they will be like (eating, sleeping, teething, puking and farting all take on new unimaginable importance in your life). You think there's going to be all this sacrificing, but in the end, you just do what you have to and find a way.

    We're doing OK, my wife is now back at work part time (4 days compressed to 3 long days), I take a day off (today in fact) to watch junior, relatives help out a bit and we use a nursery a couple of afternoons a week.

    If I was to give any advice, it would be to not over think it. Have a plan if you like, but make it general and be FLEXIBLE. Really, relax and be flexible. At the moment, I work 4 days and the odd Sunday afternoon if I need to. The wee man goes to sleep at about 8pm and my wife isn't far behind him, so I get to draw (of hang about here) from then till midnight if I want. I don't watch TV anymore, except the odd thing with my wife, and going to the pub is no longer a regular thing. Some nights junior doesn't go to sleep, other times he passes out at 6pm. Thankfully, once he's down, he tends to stay down. When he get's ill, all bets are off, and I can be pretty sure I'll be ill the following week, because I catch everything he gets. (Conjunctivitis last week, not pleasant). All of this may sound a bit horrific if you don't have kids, but it isn't. You change, and sorry, you probably won't believe me until it happens.

    Looking back 3 years, I could never have imagined coping the way we do. We had a plan, it lasted about 3 weeks intact, then we changed it and that lasted a couple of months. Now we've settled in, but we were just talking last night saying that now that he's walking confidently, it's all changed again....

    Being an artist should help I'd image, because you're used to uncertainly and adapting and pushing through the unexpected, in short, being flexible. Being self employed helps me, I can work at night and weekends if I need to, from home or the office, and take advantage of quieter times with my boy.

    @Ian: Girlfriends are WAY harder, a kid ishard work, but at least you can usually figure out what they're after.

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  23. #19
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    @Kjesta: Just bought a book on him on Tuesday and was reading about that! Weird.

    @VK: Please, not climate change, PLEASE!!! This place is 'interesting' enough at the moment without going there.

    Oh, and yes, you don't need kids to make your life worth while. In fact, It's sad to see how many people live only FOR their kids, doing everything they want, and give up on their own lives. Shallow idiots.

    My pet hate is parents ASKING their kids everything...You're up early, got everything ready to go to the swimming (like organising a military exercise!), everyone else is in the car, then a mum asks the three year old. 'Do you want to go swimming, angel?' And the response 'No, want to go to park'. Then the screaming begins.(sigh)

    Just. Get. Him. In. The. GODDAM. CAR!!!! Grrrrrrr (Sorry, I'm currently living the dream. Can you tell?)

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    Quote Originally Posted by D0ming0 View Post
    @Kjesta: Just bought a book on him on Tuesday and was reading about that! Weird.
    What's weird? That he was gay or that his boyfriend was a controlling douchebag? (The former isn't really weird while the latter is, well, just one more case of someone having an exceptionally bad relationship. Though it always makes me feel sorry for him.)



    Check these out too:
    Rotor - GoGoJoJo

    "Limited drawing skills are OK if they are offset by a fearless commitment to putting images on paper."

    "I mean, What is a chair? It's an anti-gravity device." Glen Keane

    "The difficult part is continuously realizing when you've stopped enjoying the process, and re-aligning yourself. It's kind of like meditation/being an art ninja..." ceddo
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  25. #21
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    Quote Originally Posted by Kjesta View Post
    What's weird? That he was gay or that his boyfriend was a controlling douchebag? (The former isn't really weird while the latter is, well, just one more case of someone having an exceptionally bad relationship. Though it always makes me feel sorry for him.)
    No, just weird that I read it yesterday, and you mentioned it today It's a real interesting read though.

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    My dad is a self employed interior designer, and he always found time for me when I was a kid when I needed him. He still works as hard as he used to, but he managed by working late nights to keep up with his workload and delegating childcare to other family members (for example, after school we used to go to our grandma's to eat and do our homework, then he'd pick us up up later in the evening. We never felt neglected because he had to prioritize work a lot of the time, if anything I took after his work ethic.

    I guess the most important thing is having an understanding partner, and close family/friends to help when needed.

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    8 month old daughter here , I'm lucky to have an understanding wife, and a daughter who isn't that troublesome (yet) :p


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    i'm not sure these are things you can really juggle. as the balance act will leave someone with the shorter end of the stick.
    either you gonna be missing out on work or neglecting your kids.
    this i mean on the personal level. if you have the help of family members the children aren't downright being neglected, they just don't see you enough.

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