Q: I studied art in college and married before graduation. Four years later, I spend my time preparing meals, wiping the noses of mucous-faced toddlers, and mopping the kitchen floor – while my still-single friends have thriving careers in graphic design and other artistic disciplines. I love my children, but… I admit I’m somewhat jealous. Should I just abandon those artistic dreams? That part of my life seems long gone.
A: We’d like to answer with an illustration you might not have considered. As many starving writers, painters, and musicians will tell you, art matters a great deal whether or not it generates “commercial success.” It matters because it flows directly out of our humanity; we were created to create.
In that context, we’d suggest that as a homemaker – a nurturer of children and shaper of an environment in which they can grow, thrive, and flourish – you’re a creative artist of the highest degree. Your present medium may not be clay or paint or an iPad, but impressionable young human lives. You’re sculpting character every day.
Furthermore, as your children grow, you’re well equipped to help them discover their gifts and talents. You can guide them in developing their own forms of artistic expression – and create right along with them.
As they progress through school, you may have opportunity to slip into the workforce or pursue “formal art” as a hobby. Schedule “me time” each week, starting now, to pursue your artistic passion. But regardless, being a mum is a high calling – and the lives you shape have more value than any painting ever could. In fact, you might be surprised how many of your “successful friends” are likely jealous of you.
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