POST EDIT: Warning...this post might be rather jumbled and is a true stream of conscienceness. But the truth is, it's something I don't talk about much, and I need to. So. There you go.

With our new house, one of my priorities was to have lots of places to make together. As a working artist, you'd think that would be a simple and obvious request. But as a mother and with this little business of mine, I'm often surprised how hard it really is for me illustrate while my kids are making. I can embroider, sew, do crafts and draw bits and pieces of projects we do together, but I don't usually get a chance to just have my own drawing time. Maybe it's cause they are still so young. Maybe it's because when we make together, I'm teaching and guiding (and cleaning up!) more than not. I think mostly it's because now that I get paid for what I illustrate, I can easily fall into the mind-set that drawing is "work" and not "play." And since most of the day is filled with playing, and lessons, and cooking, and cleaning....I often forget to let myself just PLAY!

Sitting down with my sketchbook to fill some pages while the kids create beside me, is usually followed by Addie wanting to color in my sketchbook instead of hers...which I love. So I let her. I get out another sketchbook for me (I have several that I float between for this very reason), and then Ian's pencil breaks and I need to run downstairs to grab a sharpener. And then Ella wants to color on Ian's paper, so he goes up in the cupboard to find some more. But in the mean time, he wants to sculpt. So we set up the table for clay. And then I open my sketchbook while the kids are playing, and water spills all over, and clean it up. But before I do, Addie wants to rip out her page in my sketchbook to hang on the wall. So I rip it out, and then Ella is hungry. And when I get her some raisins, the others want some too. And now it's lunchtime. And I think I've maybe started drawing a small little head with shoulders, with a scribble of crayon next to it. And so it goes. It's almost like "If You Give a Mouse a Cookie."

I absolutely love being creative the kids, but, I'll be honest... I haven't really found any solutions to getting real art work done except for when they are tucked soundly in their beds. I wish it weren't so. But I've also come to the conclusion that making time isn't about getting any particular project's just about making. Which, hello, is the fun of it, right? But even though I get to be creative at night, I've made it a point to be more creative and draw while they are. And even if I never get to turn a page in my sketchbook, I've seen how valuable it is to draw for myself while they are creating. Instead of only teaching, or giving ideas,etc. I am making more of a point this year to let them see me drawing.

Which actually brings me to another topic: often, since they know mom can "draw anything"'s actually a fine line I walk with drawing with them. Often when I do draw, they just ask me to draw for them. And when I stand off and let them come up with their own ideas, they can sit at the table for a really long time.

But, seeing mom draw and mess up is something we're working on right now. Even last night's bedtime story was about a time when I learned that all art is beautiful and mess-ups only lead to new ideas. It's really amazing to create and teach my kids about creation...their needs are always changing, and so are mine. I love it.

So it's funny...even though the house is filled with tape and scissors and glue, and there is a constant source of pencils & paper in any given place in the house....even though we make together all the time and do creative  projects together....sometimes I forget to just forget about my "projects" and just play just like my kids do. Silly, really.

So, I'm putting pressures of deadlines aside, and just playing more this year. It's more important than I ever realized to say it out loud...kinda like losing weight or giving up caffein. So, there. I said. it. But truthfully, like any profession that you love...once it's something you get paid for, it's easy to forget to play. Something that a busy mommy can easily forget. Man! Why do we forget so easily? Being a responsible adult is nice and all, but isn't playing what makes it all worth it? So. Playing. It's good. And it needs to be given a bit more attention. I can just here the Goddess of Play now. She's saying, "Thank you. It's about time."