Friday, June 15, 2007

Should or Want?

Should, or want…which comes first? I find myself paralyzed between my shoulds and my wants. This week I should have done laundry and cleaned up the house to get ready for the company that is coming this weekend. What I really wanted to do was go to my art table and make. The conflict of emotions this created in my already overloaded brain put into a state of irritation and paralysis. As I result, I have neither done my housework nor my artwork.
In the “real world” women are expected to take care of the home first, and their creative pursuits second. I don’t think that works for me. When I make time to make, I always have more energy and desire to be creative in my caretaking at home. It I don’t make time to make. My energy dries up, and I feel bitter and irritated that I have so much and so many to care care of. My blessings feel like burdens. I can very easily lower myself onto the sofa, remote in hand, and shut out the world.
So, tonight after the young’uns are safely tucked in bed, I will slip out to the studio and make into the wee hours. In the morning I will vacuum….maybe.


Judy H in NC said...

Thank you for saying it first, house keeping second! If we were male "artists" housework wouldn't even come into the conversation!

So I have discovered/decided for my mental and artist health, as long as I don't feel the health department would close me down, I can fit in housework around my art.

So don't feel guiltly about's taken a while and there are still twings of "I should be doing the dishes", but what little time I have to devote to my art should be done so without guilt.

CarolCot said...

Hi Amy, boy have I been there and still am today. Unfortunately I took the route that about everything else, including art, is before housework. What a mess and I just can't stand being embarressed anymore by unexpected guests or even the UPS guy. My most recent strategy is a "10 Minute a day" approach. The idea is I can tolerate anything for 10mins. Each day, regardless, I have 10 mins of specific housework I do. Monday - Kitchen: stove, sink, floor. I was surprized at how much I could accomplish in 10 mins being focused like this. While my house is far from being really great, at least it keeps it to a tolerable level. And at 10 mins a day, I still have energy to do other things.
Don't know if this will help with the "paralysis" but thought I'd share in hopes it might. Hang in there, you are not alone.

Spike said...

Mmmmmm . . . in the "real world" when I ride on an airplane, the attendants are careful to tell me that I have to take care of myself first.

"Secure your oxygen mask and make sure the air is flowing before you assist anyone you are traveling with who might need help," they say.

And ya know, sometimes the voice of authority is right. You need to take care of yourself first in order to serve others who may be traveling with you.

I swap off art with househusbandry (I'm taking CARE OF THE HOUSE, NOT MARRIED TO THE HOUSE. Big difference there.) I'll go create a series of ATC's--then do the dishes. I'll sew for an hour--then vacuum the living room. I'll do the laundry--and knit in between moving wet clothes to the dryer, dry clothes to hangers, dashing for the rinse cycle to add bleach, etc.

Note that each thing is specific and limited. Not "I'll clean the house, then I can do some art." When is the house clean? How much art is some? Will I have the energy for "some art" after clearing the clutter, dusting, vacuuming, laundry, dishes, washing the windows, curtains, and rugs?

Ultimately, I would rather be remembered for the things I create rather than my immaculate house.

Nona Parry said...

check out FlyLady at
We artists do not have to become full-time housekeepers Nor Chaos-deniers.