Tuesday, February 22, 2011

"I love deadlines. I like the whooshing sound they make as they fly by."
— Douglas Adams

This is a photo I took 2 weeks ago of a 16 person caricature I am working on.

It still looks the same way today.

Today, I finally spent the whole day at the studio, one of only a handful that I have been able to, in the past 6 weeks, because of my 3 children being really sick, then getting sick myself, and now having one that is still quite sick. As I straightened out supplies, cleaned tables and sorted through all the pending projects and overdue administration work, I couldn't help but feel so irresponsible. I have only managed to get done what was ABSOLUTELY necessary to get done in that time, and honestly even that felt like a struggle. So today, as I scraped paint off the tables from a class 8 days ago, that word "irresponsible" just kept running through my head.

But what else can I do? All this time that I have been "irresponsible" at work, I have in fact been "responsible" in the other area of my life— taking care of my family. I feel good being able to be with my kids when they are sick, especially since there are so many times where I have been irresponsible as their mom...forgotten they had a field trip or that they needed to bring something specific for school, or that time I forgot to pick one up on a dreadful early dismissal Thursday.

Then, as I am paying studio bills, I suddenly remember that I am responsible to bring in half of our family income to survive. Wow, and then I actually achieve feeling irresponsible on both sides, AT THE SAME TIME!

The thing is, I don't know if there is a way to change this struggle. A lot of days it works fine, I draw, I spend time with my family and it all feels great. Then we hit something like this past 6 weeks, or a busy Christmas gig season, or a Fringe Festival week and its not. I am assuming that as my kids grow up and slowly require less of me, then I will feel less irresponsible on both sides. For right now, though, I don't think there is an answer beyond just doing what I can do as I do it and hope people understand.

Late last night, I stumbled upon an email for a caricature I was supposed to do that was to be in Calgary by tomorrow. I felt so bad that I had forgotten. I sent her an email late, late last night, saying that I would try to get it done and sent off today. This morning Jane, (who I only know through this corporation I have done work for in Calgary) called and we talked a bit then she sent me this email...

"Okay sweetheart, to relieve some of the tension - lets make this for his party on March 04th - as we chatted on the phone you need to get healthy and take care of yourself. Also thanks again for the donation to Casting for Life.

Big hugs,
Jane"

Tears honestly welled up in my eyes when I read it. I took a deep breath, and felt a sudden relief that someone else does understand, and for a brief moment I stopped feeling irresponsible.

5 comments:

Emily Anthony said...

You give words to the universal thoughts of our particular profession in such an eloquent way. Bravo

Caricature Girl said...

Thanks Emily, that means a lot especially because I know you completely understand too. :)

Emily Anthony said...

Yup, I sure do. :-)

bassetbabies said...

I think that many people in fact understand, though those feelings are anything but mundane. I wonder if it is a struggle of our current generation. The "stop, but wait!" head turning habit of our generation. Yet, wiser women would stop, turn and rethink. Don't beat yourself up too much. You are doing great and if you need the reminder from another mom, your reasons for slowing down is justified. I'd take the word "irresponsible" out of your vocabulary entirely. Find your zen and be a surfer. Don't hold yourself to any particular paradigm. This is the biggest challenge for professional moms but finding our zen highlights our awesomeness.

Caricature Girl said...

thanks so much for your comment Mandy, definitely food for thought.