Ellen Starr Lyon

commited to creating art while being a full-time working mom

Oh yeah, I’m a mom…………


A terrible photo of a new painting.

A terrible photo of a new painting.

Okay, so what kind of art thrives in chaos? Not exciting, mysterious chaos, but run of the mill everyday, every family type of chaos? I started this art blog to inspire myself to keep on keepin’ on and to just vent. I really just need one other mother to nod her head while she reads this.

Yesterday, I decided to use my free-time (ha!) to work a little on a new painting; when what I really wanted to do was flop on the couch under a blanket and watch an episode of Friday Night Lights. Well, FNL has moved into TV-14 territory and I’m at home with my 8-year-old sponge, Odessa. Free time you ask?, here is how Tuesday broke down: help get everyone ready to catch the bus, race to get to work (10 minutes late) for the next 9 hours. At five I head home and usually have to walk the dog right away but have switched jobs with my son and am now free to chat with my husband and grab a snack before taking my daughter to gymnastics by 5:30. Last week I ran during this hour by yesterday I chose to sit in an uncomfortable chair to read and catch glimpses of my daughter on the mat. We’re home by 6:45 and sit down to eat a meal I didn’t make! My son and husband have already eaten and are about to go to the YMCA, as Finn has a martial arts class and my hubbie will hit the elliptical. So viola!- here I am with an hour to myself (almost) and so the deer-in-headlights feeling strikes. What very important, fulfilling activity can I do to take advantage of this precious, precious time?! The pressure is immense. I could just hang with my girl but she’s got dinner to finish and a shower to take before the guys return. This doesn’t sound like much but tonight is dessert night and so vegetables MUST be eaten- therefore this could take a while. Then it hits me, “Oh yeah, I’m an artist…” I’ve eaten my veggies so I make a beeline for the studio, knowing the clock is ticking. Enter the parenthood wrinkle, 8-year-old must eat vegetables and must be supervised so that the eating of said veggies is verified by the only parent around, moi. I can handle this, so after a brief, irritated “No, you can’t sit in that chair in front of my easel!” , I’ve got girl and plate settled. Picture sand through the hour-glass, I hurry to start Pandora playing and turn on the space heater at my feet. The next 30 minutes are a combination of an exhausted push to create more depth and just the right shade for the foreground mixed with intense negotiations over the now cold vegetables. There were tears (hers) and sighs (mine) leading to a mostly empty plate and the next hurdle, a shower.

Sure, I moved paint around. I improved a shadow and focused on the black rim of the left bowl. But it is really tough not to think this is impossible, like trying to breathe mud instead of air. How can I incorporate more art making into my life? With time to focus and to think about the next brush stroke and what I really hope for the end product to be and say? Then it hits me, “Oh yeah, I’m a mom…” Isn’t it said that “Women can do it all, just not at the same time.”? So as I sat there, trying my best not to be frustrated, I thought this- I may not be achieving all that I want, but I still work towards my goals and how many kids grow up negotiating dinner while their mother sits at her easel?


Author: Ellen Starr Lyon

I am a Paintings Conservation Technician by day, free-spirit mother-of-two painter by night!

4 thoughts on “Oh yeah, I’m a mom…………

  1. You’re a great mom. I am constantly amazed.

  2. I think you show amazing resolve, to snatch snippets of time to do your work amidst such a schedule! Sometimes, snippets is all we get!

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