Using Art To Avoid Mommy Meltdowns
The majority of moms would agree that we are a far from perfect group of people. Even though people love to paint the image of that picture-perfect mom who lives to clean up every mess and wipe every runny nose, the fact is that she doesn’t exist (you know, outside of Instagram). For all the time that Hollywood spends romanticizing motherhood, they sure seem to forget what a royal pain in the b-u-t-t kids can actually be.
I love my kids more than anything on this planet (and most others), but there are some days when I find myself convinced that they were switched at the hospital because surely I didn’t make that. In this article, we are going to have a nice little chat about how imperfect (normal) moms can avoid losing their minds by making art.
When Your Kids Are Your Triggers
My children are the light of my life, but sometimes, they are what is wrong with my day too. There are days that are beautiful and filled with possibility until one of my kids makes a god awful mess or starts inconsolably screaming at the top of their lungs for reasons even they don’t understand (though I strongly suspect it is simply to ruin my day). I am a good mom. I am a hardworking mom. I am a mom who cherishes her children and wants to see them succeed in everything that they do, but there are also days when my kids fry my nerves so wholly that I don’t know how I will possibly recover.
It’s always the small things, right? You’re having a completely normal day. No, you’re having a good day. You’re on top of your errands, your work is managed, and you even had time to make or get them something special for lunch. It is usually at this moment where one of them will have a meltdown, and you know what? Yours probably isn’t far behind! My kids are the most important people in my life, but they can also topple a day faster than a dropped birthday cake.
For years, I thought that this meant that something was wrong with me. Can you imagine? This toddler is losing their mind over a misshapen chicken nugget, and here I am wondering what is wrong with me. I think we can all agree that motherhood does strange things to the mind, which is exactly why I started looking for ways to help support my mental health so I am more prepared for the chaos that my kids can bring.
Finding Your Other Self
We can all agree that society is weird about moms. Before our kids are even born, people have already begun only referring to us as mama and mommy. There is this sudden change where everything that we do is filtered through the mommy lens, and it can do a number on your mental health. When you spend all of your time focusing on being someone’s mom, it is pretty easy to forget that you are, yourself, someone.
It isn’t that I’m not proud to be the mother of my children, but I realized that stuffing pre-mom me into a drawer in my mind while I played the unending role of mom was taking its toll. That other me, the one who existed way before my kids (okay, maybe not way before) did not appreciate being shoved aside. She has always been an individual. Different. Unique. A little hard-headed. Somewhat prone to expressing her sometimes controversial opinions in the presence of boring people. That version of me needed a voice again, so I gave her one through art.
How Art Helps You To Deal With Your Kids
It isn’t that art will suddenly make your children’s tantrums fall on deaf ears, but it sure makes them a lot more manageable. Art is a therapeutic process that has long since soothed the beast in mothers and non-mothers alike throughout history. This is true for a few reasons for moms.
To start, it allows you to be in complete control. You can make any kind of art that you want. You own that space. Your child might have lost their shoes for the eighth time that day, but your paintbrush is exactly where it should be (note: keep children away from said paintbrush).
It also permits you to express yourself. As mothers, we can’t always express ourselves. Sometimes (like when our children are old enough to mimic swearing), we have to learn to reign it in. Fortunately, with art, you can show your full self. You can show the tears, the fears, and the good stuff too.
Unlike everything else now, it is yours. Art has always been a beautifully therapeutic process because it is your space. It is your canvas, your journal, your graphic design. In a role where you have to share your drinks, your snacks, and pretty much everything but your wine (even though that would solve a few problems quickly), it is nice to have something that is yours. You deserve a space that no amount of little fingerprints can touch.
Art is an outlet. We all need to create something and find peace and quiet every once in a while. Yours might include loud rock music and gruesome paintings, but that’s fine. It is about letting your mind separate from the craziness around you so that you can take a break.
Art isn’t easy, but motherhood is harder. You might be surprised (or horrified) to find what comes out when you allow yourself to take a step back and create something. At one point, you stepped up and started raising a child with absolutely no experience. Art is the same way. Instead of thinking that you can’t do it, pick up the paintbrush or pen or tablet and start making something. It will help you to feel a little bit better about all the little things that those little monsters are doing to ruin your perfect day. After you make something, hug your kids and help them make something too.