ART NAPS: an origin story
What can I get done in 15 minutes?!?!
This is a question that many new parents ask themselves. When babies are little, naps can be unpredictable and few and far between. We just had our second baby and it reminded me of life with my firstborn, when I first started painting.
In the early days of motherhood, with my first child back in 2019, I was struggling to find a sense of self. I was also struggling with postpartum anxiety, but I didn't know that yet. I had quit my job as a teacher to focus on being a mom (what I had thought I always wanted to do full time) but was feeling very burnt out. I needed something to call my own, something to give me peace, and something to clam my racing mind.
I am a chronic crafter and I love doing crafty things so I figured some sort of creative outlet would be good. I tried macrame, but it was hard to leave a project mid knot to go pick up a crying baby. I tried sewing a quilt but same issue--I couldn't figure out how to put it down quickly. Finally I remembered that I had taken a watercolor course the year before so I got paints out and went wild!
Watercolor, in my opinion, is the perfect medium for someone with an unpredictable amount of time to work. It doesn't dry out -- just add water and you're ready to paint! It doesn't require a big clean up -- no messy brushes to clean like with acrylic paint. No toxic fumes -- like oil painting. No tiny fibers for a baby to inhale like with sewing (is this a real concern?! Was I making this up?!? I remember being really worried about this but I can't remember if it's a thing?!)
Thus began art naps! When my daughter would nap, I would scurry over to my art room (now her big girl room) and start painting. Watching the water and paint swirl over the page was so relaxing and meditative. Accomplishing something, even if it was just a little painting, felt so good! Working on something just for me helped me gain a sense of self.
As the art naps continued and my daughter's naps (blessedly) became longer and more predictable, my painting improved. Soon thereafter I realized that I really loved painting and I wasn't too shabby at it, if I do say so myself! As my confidence and sense of purpose grew, I decided to turn this hobby into a business. I like to say that napping changed my life! I say it in a tongue in cheek way, but it's really true!
Now that we are navigating some sort of napping schedule with our second, I'm reminded of how important it is to do something for me while the baby sleeps and I want to encourage new parents out there to do the same! It can be so tempting to do the dishes, clean the house, all the drudgery that HAS to get done, but don't forget that taking care of YOU is just as important as those other things. You cannot be the best parent you can be if you are running on fumes. If being creative feels like an outlet for you, I encourage you to try watercolor. If an actual nap is want you need, take that nap! If you need to stretch, take a moment to take care of yourself.
I'd love to hear what you do during your art naps! Let me know over on Instagram!
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