For the past month I've been contemplating an upcoming change that I was scared would stall the progress I've been making on my art business and not allow me to be my best person (in the various roles that I play). You see, for the past two months I've had the gift of starting up my art business with childcare, all day, 4.5 days a week. Although my role of mom comes first and foremost, I must say having the past few months to transition out of my old job and into this new venture (all while peppering my days with lovely amounts of self-care) has been incredible.
I've worked hard as well, painting like crazy to prepare for the show I did in June, building a website, putting myself out there and setting up systems to support my new business (there have been many late nights). I've had some amazing teaching experiences materialize as well.
But here's the thing, when you're building a new business you are doing everything for the first time, and that can be exhausting. It takes at least ten times longer to make your first lesson plan as a teacher than to make your third lesson plan. First time teaching, first time making a proposal for something art-related, first time at a specific type of show or sale. Firsts are challenging. But it was just starting to get easier, when my circumstances changed (by choice) and now I have two little boys to bring on adventures each day. This does not leave a lot of time for working.
So initially, I thought I may have trouble switching gears and being present with my boys, after 2 years of working without summers off to be with them. I contemplated hiring babysitters or putting them in camps. However it has been the opposite of what I anticipated. I've been having trouble wrapping my head around getting into the studio, or lesson planning once they are in bed. It has only been a week, and the slower pace of not racing out the door in the morning and hanging out more has brought out the best in all of us.
I did ask some advice from my art mentor and some other older women (who's children are all grown up) who ran businesses from home and had to make it work in the summer with kids out of school and their opinions were all consistent:
"Just enjoy the summer with your kids and don't worry so much about your business, it will be right where you left it come September, even if you have to live on less for July and August."
I do have some commitments to honour that are keeping me in the work mindset, I have some teaching opportunities and some commissions, and I still enjoy it all. But mostly I want to have time to savour with my kids and carve out some space for me in my studio to play and gather inspiration to carry me through another busy year. Playing creatively is something I've struggled to do in my studio since art making became a business (I'll save this for another blog post).
So I've signed up for some workshops to keep my fingers nimble and I have earmarked time to get down into my studio to paint and plan a few evenings a week. Perhaps ask me in a month and I might be craving back to school unencumbered work time, but for now I'm savouring this newfound slow and I'm still not sure how this working from home in the summer thing will play out... But in the meantime you can find me adventuring, crafting, camping, thunder storm watching and probably making snack plates ten times a day.. oh yeah and squeezing some painting and blogging when I can.