I’m having an ego moment. Cruising the Internet, I find so many sites by people — especially women — who are creative and generating a living (or at least some income) from it. Friends are making and selling their art. Friends are designing clothing and selling the patterns, and knitting up gorgeous garments. A friend is starting fitness accessory business. Friends write books and hold retreats. Acquaintances are life coaches, writers, have award-winning blogs, make and sell jewelry, and so on.

And I’m here in my little corner of the world, dabbling away. I suspect I’ve always been a dilettante. I walked away from a fledgling career as a professional counselor with her own practice to move here with Husband. (To get licensed here would require almost going through the whole process again — at a cost in money and time that I just won’t spare.) Sometimes I think about setting up a life coaching practice, but what is that, anyway? Everyone seems to be doing it; Google produced 42 million hits for the term. Plus, I’ve been out of the work world long enough that I feel rough and rusty.

One reason I go through sporadic periods of creating is that once I’ve got something made, the question arises of what to do with it. I’ve got knitted stuff stored in my drawers. Art I’ve made sits in a portfolio. Space is limited, so I create less often, and it depresses me to create only to have it sit in the dark. Yes, I could knit for charity — and I do. But there is something satisfying in being compensated monetarily for one’s efforts, and it is validating and heartening to be recognized for one’s work.

I’m not complaining so much as I am musing aloud whether I could be doing more, if I am wasting precious skill and talent by not generating income in some way with all this creativity.

And I’m wondering where these women get the energy. Some of them, in addition to being mothers, work outside jobs, and yet still find a way to create, often at the expense of their sleep and perhaps health. Maybe they can actually function this way. I did it for years in my 20s and 30s, but I’ve found that I’m a crappy mother if I’m exhausted and sick, and I want to be a good mother. I don’t enjoy life when I’m barely able to move or think. There are no sick days available.

So I struggle a bit with… envy? Or maybe it’s worry… a fear that I have retreated into a passive state, almost infantile, in that I don’t generate income, especially from all the dabbling I do. I’m getting to play, while Husband is out there bringing home cash. I don’t have currency in a world where the question, “What do you do for a living?” is unanswerable because I don’t make an income. There was no place on the U.S. Census form that I filled out for our household for me to write that my current job is Homemaker and Mother and that no, I wasn’t laid off and seeking work. It — I — just didn’t count.

I know, wah wah wah. But I do wonder.

Explore posts in the same categories: Arts, Community, Domestic Arts, Education, Journal, Motherhood, Recreation, Social Science

3 Comments on “Pangs”

  1. Vicki Says:


    Are there holiday craft shows in your area. My husband is a retired high school teacher (as am I) and he loves to make things out of wood. At some point he ran out of room to store what he had made, so he began going to farmers markets in season and craft shows around the holidays. He has been quite successful in freeing up space and bringing in enough money to buy more supplies to make more.

    Just an idea,


  2. e l k Says:

    i decided to comment here although I saw your AEDM pieces and they are lovely.!

    you know all moms and women feel this way at times and the envy is difficult because we are just seeing a small fragment of life on whomevers blog, store, website etc. and they can make it look any way they want it to …

    I am now coming out of the other side with children 17 & 21 seeing that my hours of care for them was my creative avenue at the time and they are turning into really lovely women…

    anyway just wanted to encourage you and let you know that your “job” is an art that many would long for~

  3. Angela, Australia Says:

    Kathryn, I don’t know why but mothering / parenting is not always viewed as a worthwile career, well in ‘western’ countries such as Australia, at least. No sooner are you wheeled out of the labour room and you are asked when are you going back to work! I will not deny it is a huge task to balance care of your child and to have creative, professional, or social fulfillment. BUT if we muck up their first 4 or 5 years it will not matter how successful our careers or incomes are we cannot recapture that time in developing their lives, relationships, and our bonds with them. Some people do seem to manage a career and parenting but for some of us it is one or the other, not both. I was a health care professional, and was lucky to score one shift a week, but as far as career went, it was a good ten or more years before I re-entered that rat race. Love Claire, be with her, she is irreplacable.