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how do you balance your work and your kids?

making-a-living-column-headerThe question this week is for all of you who are running a business, working a job, or working in your studios and raising children. We hear so many of you talking about the mythical struggle for balance and wanting to be good parents while also being true to the work you’re doing. Read on, for some great words of empowerment and reality:

How do you balance being an active artist/entrepreneur/working person with being a good parent?

Juicy question!  For me, this is about intention, being, celebration and forgiveness.  I strive to prioritize based on my personal and family values, who I want to be and what I want to contribute to my family and to the world.  I celebrate what I/we have done well (solid, connecting parenting moment!  transformational coaching session!  fun hour creating!) and forgive myself and others for what we didn’t, including not balancing well.  Another opportunity to do it differently is . . .  now!

Amy Siu :: Coach • Artist • Mama :: loves to inspire joy and connection through conversation, creativity and kindness.

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Balance is bullshit.  It’s a concept that has only set me up for failure and self-doubt.  I’ve found that time expands when you are present and passionate about what is in front of you, whether that is your kid, your lover, your client, your book-keeping, your altar, your art or your self-care.

Michelle Madden Smith • producer, video editor, wayfinder + mama. raised by wolves.  animyst.com

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It doesn’t feel very balanced at the moment because I have a 5 month old and a 3 year old and the balance has tipped to survival mode.  But in the past, I found it was fun to create a space where my daughter and I could create together.  That way we could be spending quality time and I could be producing simultaneously.  She loved it.  I’ll have to find new creative ways to find that balance again in the future, but for now it’s all about finding the tiny moments to create in.

Leah Piken Kolidas in an artist and creativity guide living near Boston with her husband and two children. CreativeEveryDay.com

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For the most part, I let go of “good” and focus on just doing my best.  For me, it helps to let go of the need to multi-task so that I can be present with whatever I am doing. If I am watching the girls, I am watching the girls. If I am working, I am working. I try to avoid overlap whenever possible.

Tiffany Han is a business coach for the highly-creative woman and a mother of (nearly) 1-year old twins.

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This year I have decided to focus on family photography as a major portion of my business.  I want my personal family photographs to illustrate what I could do for my clients.  It’s a new approach (for me), but it let’s me photograph for myself and my family, AND it helps me hone and share the way I want to be working.

The kids have also started to take interest in photography.  Letting them have one of my film cameras or my iPhone as we go out for a walk or an adventure is such a great way to play and bond with them.  I think including them, and not necessarily making family and art two separate things is the biggest piece of the balancing puzzle for me.

Photographing and teaching yoga in the Pacific Northwest, Vanessa Simpson is a chaser of light and catcher of moments. You can find her work at focusinphotography.com and on IG @focus_in_Photography

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Hah!  Great question, one I ask myself frequently!  The short-ish answer to this is organization. Hubby and I are both fully aware of who has to be where when, and together we make sure both boys (ages 13 & 17) are able to get to their activities and appointments.  All four of us have important things we would like to do, and through the years we’ve all grown to understand that some activities have to give way or be postponed because of somebody else’s big deadline.

Candy Glendening is a textile artist who works exclusively with her own hand-dyed fabrics.

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I try to involve my children in my work as much as possible.  I often invite them into my space to do homework or read while I am working. I ask for their help.

My 8 year-old son recently told a group of strangers that I am a “famous artist,” which makes me think that my children have a sense that we are in this together.  Sometimes that means we are literally working together and sometimes it means I need time and space to work alone and they need to be okay with that.

Anna Hodges Oginsky is a writer and artist living in Michigan with her husband and their three children.

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Truthfully, I try not to focus on balancing per se.  Rather I look at it as a kind of dance . . .  one which is sometimes graceful and sometimes clumsy.  Some days allow for longer stretches of creative work, other days allow for little or none.  I try to remember that my creative work is very much tied to my parenting work . . .  I cannot separate them.

For sure, there are times when I need the quiet and space to do my work; but I also need the energy and passion of my children to remind me of why I’m here and doing what I’m doing.  Parenting absolutely informs my creative work and vice versa.  There are no equal amounts, no balancing acts.  It is constant flux and I’m {slowly} learning to embrace and harness this mindset.

Michelle GD is an artist who believes that the tiny bits of life are really quite big.

Do you have a story to share about how you are trying to maintain a balance with your work and your family? Please share your stories here in the comments.

Submit questions that you’d like to see the Mabel Community answer  in this Making a Living • Creating a Life column to:   info@mabelmag.com, subject line: Mabel Community Question

{ 1 comment… add one }

  • Leslie January 27, 2015, 9:55 am

    I was never able to have children of my own, so for me it is being a good daughter, sister, auntie, wife, friend and person. While my art is important to me sometimes it needs to take a back seat to those who need me. My parents are in good health at the moment, (knock on wood), but there will come a time when I will need to be there for them. When that time comes, I hope I will be able to balance all my parents needs with an art life. …./leslie

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