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A couple weeks ago, I loaded up my toddler and my infant and I did the unthinkable. I attended my first life drawing class in over three years. This was an open session where any artist could pay a few bucks to sit and observe a naked model for a couple hours and sketch for your own enjoyment/practice/growth. I would never in a billion years assume my toddler and infant would be a welcome addition in a session such as this, and thus I had longed to attend this very same workshop for a while but considered it a simple no-go because I don’t have childcare.

There are a lot of things in life that are that way once you have kids. I often feel I’m committing a strange kind of assault upon other grocery shoppers because my crew of cart-contained kiddos are simply not adding to the ambience they, as citizens of this world, hoped for in the public space of the grocery store.

However, a mom doesn’t quit being a person beneath her mom-skin. And often, we keep spaces kid-free and don’t give much thought about moms who can’t attend because they feel obligated to respect the peace and calm of others. This is fine, I’m certainly not saying people should endure the antics of my toddler because I want to draw a naked lady. But why don’t we consider creating mom-friendly spaces for women who want to continue doing the things they did before they wore mom-skin? Not kid-centered spaces; no, I mean, mom-centered spaces that accommodate, accept, and help kids who are attached to their mothers.

The wonderful coordinator of the art center where I attended the life drawing class encouraged me to try bringing my kids. And, all in all, my kids were pretty well behaved and I was met with a lot of support and enthusiasm. This meant the world to me, and it felt great to turn out a few pages of scribbles with a final render that was probably a total of five minutes focused effort.

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A little figure drawing portrait from that fateful day.

Someone did complain, and I understand. I was thrilled to have the encouragement to even try attending! My heart burst open wide with unexpected gratitude when the coordinator introduced me to another artist-mama and said, “here, this inspires something–we need something for moms who are artists.”

And the ball began rolling, and I’m excited to keep that ball rolling. I’m excited to find a community, a physical place that exists outside the internet, where people are working together to inspire, create, and share with the people around them.

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Art journal page–part of what we’ll be exploring in the class I am collaborating to teach.

I’m excited to have the opportunity to create and collaborate, maybe get back to teaching–even if for a short while. Most of all, I’m really inspired to create something that allows other moms to bring their kids along–and the best part is that I’ll be doing with my own kids right by my side.

 

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