The creative fire burns bright in your soul. You crave the stage, the melody, the exhibition, the perfectly phrased sentence – the need to express yourself through your chosen art form. The drive to hone your craft and become a master is an undeniable pull. But then, the whispers start – the societal messages that some creative fields aren’t exactly family-friendly. The feeling of having to choose, especially for women, between nurturing a family and chasing your creative dreams can be overwhelming.

It is my firm belief that you can have both. It will require a creative approach, but with the right mindset and practical tools, you can build a fulfilling life where your artistic journey and your family thrive.

Often, we hear creatives say they can not do what they are called to do. This is also true for creatives who are called to be parents.

Denying either the call to create or the desire to nurture a family is a recipe for an unhappy life.

The Myth of the Sacrificial Artist

The image of the tortured artist, alone in their garret, fueled by angst, is a tired trope. There’s a reason so few successful creatives truly fit that mould. The raw emotions that fuel your art can also fuel your connection with your family. Your dedication to your craft becomes an inspiration, showing your children the power of pursuing dreams.

Making it Work – The Practicalities of Building a Fulfilling Career as a Parent

  • Space to Create: Every performing artist needs a quiet place to rehearse lines. Every writer craves a dedicated writing nook. Negotiate dedicated creative space, even if it’s a stolen corner of a room. Utilise nap times, early mornings, or late nights when your partner can take over family duties.
  • The Power of Support: Surround yourself with a supportive network – your partner, family, or fellow creatives who understand the demands of both parenthood and artistic pursuits. Don’t be afraid to delegate and ask for help.
  • Financial Security: This is a big one. Financial stress can stifle creativity. Explore flexible work arrangements, consider side hustles that complement your art form, such as teaching, and seek out grants, commissions and paid speaking engagements. Don’t shy away from a part-time job; rather, see it as a stepping stone to obtaining your dream.
  • The Coach in Your Corner: A creative coach can help you develop strategies for managing time, navigating career choices, and prioritising both your family and your art without feeling like you’re constantly sacrificing or being selfish or undeserving.
  • Striving for Mastery, Embracing Imperfection: You won’t always hit the perfect note, deliver a flawless performance, or write a masterpiece every day. Accept that there will be messy moments, missed deadlines, and days when “good enough” needs to be good enough. The key is to keep showing up, keep practising, keep believing in yourself, and strive for mastery in your chosen field.

 

Remember, a thriving creative life doesn’t have to come at the expense of a fulfilling family life. With the right mix of passion, planning, and support, you can create a beautiful balance between the two, leaving your mark not just on the stage, the page or the canvas but in the hearts of your loved ones.

 

 

 

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Monica O’Brien is a professionally trained and accredited Coach and founder of Creative Edge Coaching www.creativeedgecoaching.com.au. She blogs on issues about creativity and small business development for conscious artists and business entrepreneurs. 

 

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