Parenting as Creative Work
Every parent is an artist.
Every moment you spend with your child - you are actively and creatively making something.
Every load of laundry is a paint stroke. Every activity ("successful" or not), is a smear of charcoal. Every time you validate a feeling, solve a problem, lend a hand, offer words of encouragement, get down on the floor, find the VERY SPECIFIC ping pong ball, or crayon, or snack that is REQUIRED at that very MOMENT... you are making something.
You are a maker who has found themselves in a position requiring constant creative problem solving, energy, and vision.
You are, as you read this, the primary artist of your child's inner landscape. You are painting the ground they will ground their dreams in. You are drawing the sky they will let them soar in. You are the photographer for their stories and memories. You are the curator of their culture. You are the poet writing lines of their future inner dialogue.
In the daily grind of dishes and snacks and "LOOK-AT-THIS-ARE-YOU-LOOKING-AT-THIS," we must remember to occasionally lift our heads to remember our role in their lives is bigger than this day. Which means two things: 1) This day is matters 2) This day doesn't matter so much.
1) This day matters
It's the small strokes that make a painting- the details and intentionality. Step back from your work for a moment to see and know: what you are doing, all of it, matters. It is not for nothing.
Your child will not remember nor acknowledge the loads of laundry you did during potty training. However, they will be shaped by your care. They will be changed by the way you speak about their bodies, their learning process, their accidents, mistakes, and victories. You're laying the base coat for what they will later take up the brush for themselves. It matters. Deeply.
2) This day doesn't matter so much
Art can be messy. It doesn't need to fit into a neat grid or columns. It doesn't need to end with a perfect number or be spelled right. Art SPLATTERS. So does parenting. Art is PROCESS. So is parenting.
In the grand scheme, a misplaced line can be erased and redrawn. An errant stroke can be repainted after it dries. In light of the whole, a bad day does not define us. Nor does our messy house, forgotten soccer jersey, or tenth trip to McDonalds.
You're an artist Give yourself permission to non-judgmentally try things, fail, and try again. In doing so, you create a space for your child to learn to do the same, and you create an atmosphere where both of you are free to be human: splatters and all.
Consider this an invitation to create. To approach your day and your child with curiosity, vision, and a loose hold on your brush. You don't need to be perfect to make something beautiful. You just need to keep showing up to your canvas with love.
We're going to make it.