I really enjoyed this blogpost by mommy-illustrator, Crystal Driedger… she puts into words just how I feel balancing being a mother and illustrator. She shares some great tips for multi-tasking and time management. Love her last point, it’s true to my heart, too :
“My son is the most important thing and always will be. This means that I will never again take on more work than I can handle… I will not answer a client’s phone call or email if my son is crying… I will lower my expectations on the type of work I can get done… have rearranged my priorities… And, when I see that it’s 10pm and I’m still writing on my silly blog, knowing that my son will most likely wake up a couple of times tonight crying then be up for the day at 5:30am tomorrow I call it a day.” – Crystal Driedger
Crystal’s blog post got me thinking of what I’ve done differently since becoming a full-time mum and part-time illustrator…
• Let clients know my priority is being a mum : Being honest with clients up front that I’m a full-time mum helps then know what they can expect from me. I let them know how much time a week I’m available, and communicate right away if I’m unable to work on their project that week. I’ve had some amazingly understanding clients when occasionally deadlines have had to be pushed.
• Quote generously for projects : I’ve found it takes me twice as long to do anything as I expect, so I quote twice as much time as I did before I was a mum. Not because I’m slower at painting, I just need to accommodate those unexpected interruptions, lost nap times, colds, bumped heads, and even days where I just need a nap.
• Taken my time to enjoy each project : Where before I would churn out illustration after illustration, I’m savoring each project. Because of this, the quality of my work is improving drastically, and I’m more and more happy with the books I’ve been illustrating.
• Post date blog writeups : I really enjoy blogging, but don’t have the time to keep up with it like I used to… so if I am inspired to blog, I post date my entries (like this one!) and space them a few days apart, so that I have several weeks of posts written in advance. That way I can enjoy blogging, but not feel driven to keep up with it every couple days.
• Make the most of nap time : I use my daughter’s naptime for projects / chores that are too tricky to do while she’s awake.
• Share the computer : For those times I have to email my clients, or do some paperwork, my daughter is fascinated by the computer so I put a cartoon on the screen so she can sit on my lap and watch something in the corner of the screen while I reply to emails.
• Work together : Now that my daughter is a toddler and curious about whatever I’m doing, I can involve her by setting up her own paints and crayons while I do small doodles… I spend more time telling her to not paint on mommy’s painting than I spend being productive, but I like involving her in what I’m doing. And at times I have to give up what I’m working on and just sit and draw “baa”’s and “bears” with Hera because it’s just fun.
Will leave this here… and once again I’m so glad I wrote this article two weeks in advance so I can enjoy taking the day off tomorrow to decorate and bake a cake for my daughter’s second birthday.