US artist, illustrator and designer
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My guest today is Charlotte Condie- an artist, illustrator + designer based in Atlanta, Georgia, USA, and the mum of 4 kids.
Her experience in creative arts has spanned over two decades, 3 US states and multiple media including chalk, linoprint, quilting, collage and mosiacs. The bulk of her work is now digitally created, which has proved to be a great option for her as a mum of a young child, when she is frequently holding a baby and unable to fumble with inks, rollers, paints, brushes, and canvases.
We chat about how her art practice has adapted to suit her current situation, how her yoga practice influences her artwork, using her art to to aid surviving through the pandemic. and reflecting the simple day to day events through her art.
**This episode contains discussions about depression, anxiety, panic attacks and a brief mention of domestic abuse**
Visit Charlotte's https://www.instagram.com/charlottecondieart/
and - https://charlottecondieart.com/.
View Charlotte's piece "Protection" - https://www.instagram.com/p/CYMdwTSF58g/
More information about the mudrahs- https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Mudra
Read more about Meg Conley - https://www.instagram.com/_megconley/
Shop art supplies Charlotte uses here
Connect with the podcast -
Music used with permission from Alemjo
When chatting to my guests I greatly appreciate their openness and honestly in sharing their stories. If at any stage their information is found to be incorrect, the podcast bears no responsibility for guests' inaccuracies.
Podcast transcript at the bottom of the page
Thank you so much for tuning in to this episode of The Art of Being A Mum Podcast. I'm beyond honoured that you're here and would be grateful if you could take 2 minutes to leave me a 5-star review in iTunes or wherever you are listening. It really helps! This way together we can inspire, connect and bring in to the light even more stories from creative mums. Want to connect? Take a screenshot of this episode and share it on Instagram tagging me in with @art_of_being_a_mum_podcast
I can't wait to connect. And remember if you or somebody you know would like to be a guest on the podcast, get in touch! I love meeting and chatting to mammas from all creative backgrounds, from all around the world!
Alison acknowledges this Land of the Berrin (Mount Gambier) Region as the Traditional Lands of the Bungandidj People and acknowledge these First Nations people as the custodians of the Region.
Welcome to the Art of Being a mum, the podcast where we hear from mothers who are artists and creators sharing their joys and issues around trying to be a mother and continue to make art. Regular topics include mum guilt, identity, the day to day juggle mental health, and how children manifest in their art. My name is Alison Newman. I'm a singer songwriter, and a mum of two boys from regional South Australia. I have a passion for mental wellness and a background in early childhood education. You can find links to my guests and topics they discuss in the show notes, along with music played a link to follow the podcast on Instagram, and how to get in touch. All music used on the podcast is done so with permission. The art of being a mom acknowledges the bone tech people as the traditional custodians of the land and water, which this podcast is recorded on and pays respects to the relationship the traditional owners have with the land and water as well as acknowledging past present and emerging elders. Thanks so much for joining me today. My guest on this episode is Charlotte, Condi, artist, Illustrator and designer based in Atlanta, Georgia in the United States, and a mom of four children. Charlotte's experience in creative arts has spanned over two decades, over three US states and multiple media, including chalk line Oh print, quilting, collage and mosaics. The bulk of her work is now digitally created, which has proved to be a great option for her as a mum of a young child, when she's frequently holding a baby and unable to fumble with inks, rollers, paintbrushes, and canvases. Today, we chat about how her art practice has adapted to suit her current situation, how her yoga practice influences her artwork, using her art to aid surviving through this pandemic, and reflecting on the simple day to day events through her art. This episode contains discussion around depression, anxiety, panic attacks, and a brief mention of domestic abuse.
Welcome along Charlotte, it's lovely to meet you. Thank you so much for being on the show.
Yeah, sounds exciting. Yeah. Never done a podcast before.
Oh, you guys. It's cool.
I think you might only be my third guest from America to which is which is cool. So I'm starting to Yeah. and broaden the horizon.
Time. Is it there for you? Is it breakfast time?
Yep, it is. It's 7am. Okay, can you same breakfast so actually got?
Yeah, I'm Mark my moments by just what I'm going to be eating. Oh, that's cool.
So you're in my right. So
you're in Atlanta. Is
Yeah. Lana metro area.
Yeah. Right. So that's like, that's a that's a big, big cities. And
it is. I mean, we've lived in bigger. I'm actually from Southern California. And so I grew up in Orange County, just outside of Los Angeles, which to me was large. And I guess this it's not as big as LA but it is. It's you know, you have downtown and then it sprawls for quite a while. So yeah. Yeah. Lots of people. Can you give us
a little bit trade to what you do? You're the sort of style of art that you may right now
I'm almost exclusively digital. And it's, it's, I guess you would kind of classify it as illustrative. And I really enjoy like, retro style, like I draw a lot of inspiration from like, old illustrations, comics, ad art, stuff that, you know, people would would sell things with. I don't know why I think just because I'm a kid from the 80s and so that stuff is so I don't know. Comforting. Yeah. Old, old stuff. Yeah, rotary phones and that sort of thing. Like, yeah, yeah, that's so familiar and comfortable for me. Yep. So that, that kind of informs my style. But subject wise, I tend, I tend to kind of sit somewhere in kind of spiritual, but also like, fun. It's rough, because the style, like, I love spiritual art, and I love like symbolism, especially, it's kind of an obsession. For me. The challenge is that, when you when you want to sit in that space, it's almost like there's a requisite for what your art should look like, right? And, like, mine, almost maybe I feel like could be considered crass. If I want to approach some of those topics, because it's almost gross. Like, looking next to other people. I'm like, well, they have these gorgeous images of, you know, God or, yeah, handlers or whatever. And that's not what I do. I could, but that's not and it's funny, because I have that stuff in my home. And I love putting that kind of thing in my home. But that's not what I that's not how I think it's weird.
It's almost like, a bit of a juxtaposition sort of thing. Like, yeah, it's a bit of,
I don't know, yeah. Yeah. Because that's like, approaching the divine, from a very human way. Like, we're still we're animals, we're, we are very gross in our, in our behavior and our approaches. And, and that's, that's not necessarily anything to be ashamed of. And I think I'm trying to still find the balance of how can I? How can I approach those divine aspects of myself, while also recognizing that I'm still a human being, and that I have human experiences, and I'm very much a product of my time and my society?
Yeah, absolutely. So that was like that, that's really reflected in the way that the Euro looks. It's like, it's very real. And it's, it's not, I don't wanna say sugar coated, but it's like, this is what it's like, this is what life's like, right now in 2020. Yeah. So really cool. So how did you get into Chintu? Yeah, I've always been a really creative person.
I've always been a creative kid. My dad graduated from university in studio arts, he was an artist. But that was never anything he made a living off of. But he was like that point person in early childhood that introduced me to creativity and music was a big part of my childhood. And you know, it still is a part of our lives. I have a daughter, who is all she plays almost anything she touches, she can turn it into a musical instrument, and she's gonna graduate high school with a it's like a musical diploma, sort of, and. But like, so the creativity has always been part of me. And I was the kid that was always drawing and you know, the friends come to me, can you drive this, can you drive this and, but it wasn't something I was able to pursue at university, my my mom who resented my dad for being an artist. And having trouble finding jobs was like, I don't want you to do that you're gonna do this. And it was, it's an irony because mom didn't want any of us to go into the arts. And while we didn't, we also didn't get a job in the thing we went to school for either. So like, you need to be realistic about what you're expecting for your children. Because, like, just because you get a bachelor's degree in something does not mean that that's what you're going to be doing for the rest of your life.
So it's a good lesson, I think, because it's, I feel like, I've know what it's like over there. But there's so much pressure here for kids to know what they're going to do when when they get like up to year 12. Where you're both here. It's like you have to
feel like no one realistic to do. Yeah, like, and that's a common thing like it maybe it's just because we're products of a Western civilization where they're like, What do you want to be when you grow up? And, like, can't expect a child to know what that is? Or to understand what that means. And yeah, we'll have dreams that's fine, have dreams. But I'm like, we're not all going to be astronauts and we're not I'm going to be to Vinci or the president. And, and that's fine like I want, I want them to aspire to things, but then to also expect them to understand even at 18. What they're going to be doing, like, my, so my oldest is 18. She's a senior, she's going to graduate in five months. And so she thinks she wants to do architecture. And I'm like, you know, great, go do your generals, if you still want to do that. Yeah, go ahead and do that. But I'm, I'm leaving the room open for you to change your mindset real time. Yeah, I certainly did.
That's the truth, isn't it? And when you get out there in the world, and you actually see what there is, it's like, you know, yeah,
you don't even know what you don't know, when you get out there. Right? You don't even know. And, like, I remember, when I graduated, I was like, I want to, I want to do anthropology, because I love cultures and history and all that. And then I got into that department. And I was like, this is the driest thing I've ever seen. Like, my teachers were so boring. Like, I can't do this.
To be stuck in.
Like, this is not my cup of tea. And I and I married my husband while we were in school, and he's an accountant. And he's like, You should take an accounting class and like, Yeah, okay. And I took basic accounting, I'm like, No, that's not my style.
Do you know, when you know, you know?
Or you just, you know, by trial and error, you're like, No, that's not me either.
I love that. So you started to you mentioned about your daughter's. He's 18. Tell us about your family.
So we have four kids. We have three teenagers and a 20 month old. Yeah. So, um, our oldest three, we adopted all of them as infants in our 20s. And and then I got pregnant when I was 38 and had a baby at 39. So yeah, I have an 18 year old, a 16 year old, my son will be 14 next month and then the baby. And so that's, that's a fun dynamic. Like, it's not that bad. It. The thing I love about having the baby again, is that she brings up and reminds me of all the times with the other kids, which was nice, you know, because like it was so long. It was 12 years since I had had a baby. And I had forgotten a lot of those things. And so she'll do things I'll be like, Oh, we remember when, you know, my son did this or the other girls did this and like it just I feel I feel bad that like every single moment with her I'm just grabbing on to because I feel like she's probably the last one and I like often go to bed crying because I'm like, Oh, I've just missed this and I'm so sad that it's gonna go away soon. And my husband's like, what's the problem? Like, she's gonna go to school and a year and a half. He's like, you're gonna be okay. At the end of the day but isn't that
nice? They like you say you, you sort of it's like you're appreciating every all these moments. Yeah, present and you're really experiencing everything. Like that's really
lovely. Yeah, I regret that I wasn't as present for the older kids as I am for her. I didn't appreciate it when I was in my 20s. And I was, you know, trying to juggle three children close together. They're all they were all two years apart each of them and so I remember taking my oldest to school. I would walk her to kindergarten. She'd be like I had a double stroller. So I'd have the two girls in there and my son was like on my chest. And I would walk you know, like a mile to the school and people would look at me and their cars like what is she doing? Like fumbling all these children. And it was crazy times, like the one story that like one morning so my son is huge. He's so he's Tongan in Samoa and big boy. And he was a big boy at birth, but he learned how to crawl out of his crib at six months. And so I couldn't contain him at that point. And then naptime was like, well, you're just gonna sleep forever, because they can't keep you anywhere. So one morning, I remember he had crawled out of his crib, down the stairs into his sister's room. And suddenly, I'm still in bed, and I hear this screaming, and I run down there. And he had pooped on one of my daughter's beds. My oldest daughter, and my oldest daughter had rented the living room. She's cowering in the corner, like screaming. And then my other daughter who is like a, like a compulsory vomiter, like, started barfing, because it grossed her out. So kids craving one kid barfing, and another one who just pooped on the sheet. And my husband looks at the situation and he's like, I need to go to work. I'm like
oh, my goodness. Oh, that's brilliant. Well, that's parenting in a nutshell, isn't it? So I hesitate to ask, but during that time, will you need to do any? Yeah. Not at that exact moment. But you know.
So the creativity has evolved and changed over time, and it certainly accommodates to the situation. When I was with them, when they were little, there was a lot of I did like collage stuff, mosaics. I did a lot of quilting, like aplicadas, stuff like that. But it was also things like gifts and stuff for me or the home. And when see my son was for it was right before we left California. So my husband is he wasn't in public accounting. So he worked for a large accounting firm, out of Orange County, Los Angeles area. And we were there for eight years. And it was, it was a good life. But we certainly couldn't afford to give the kids the life. We wanted to give them there. And it was his job was so demanding. It was often 18 hour days. Oh, it was it was not. Yeah, it wasn't. When we got married. It wasn't this was what we wanted. And so we're sitting there reevaluating that with children. And we're like, you don't want to do it this way. And he he recognized he's like, you know, the thing I do enjoy is teaching the new recruits every year when they when they would go out. They would bring in new employees and they would train. And he's like, that's the part I love the most was teaching the new people. And so we decided to go to graduate school, in the middle of that. And so we took three children with us to Madison, Wisconsin, and he pursued his PhD so he could then teach so now that's why we're here in Georgia is he teaches in the business school, he teaches accounting. And that has been Wow, that was a tremendous challenge to to go through. That was definitely worth it because now he can take my son to football practices and be there and he can come to concerts with the girls and he can and this is the most time he has spent with one of the children ever at this age this little age like he missed a good chunk of the older kids early years because he wasn't around And so that's been nice. But I'm sorry. And that wasn't even really the answer to your question. But before, right before we left, right before we left California, I had started doing competitive chalk, mural competitions. California is like the perfect environment for that, because it's almost warm all year long. And the weather's nice, like, it's very rare that you don't have a wet season, certainly. And so we lived in Mission Viejo at the time, and they had a chalk festival. And I was like, I should try this. And it was so fun that I went out of my way to like, find other ones. And so I would do several year. And I did two with my dad in Salt Lake City. That was usually over the Father's Day weekend, which was really fun. I knew he would enjoy that. And then and oftentimes we are, I would win some of them which was validating, like, especially if they were a cash prize. So but that was something that I was able to do. When we were living in Wisconsin, it was a little more of a challenge, because part of the year you certainly can't be outside. But I remember kind of the beginning of the end of it, though, was when I drove I think it was three or four hours to Iowa. For one, and I, I want it but it was gift cards to the town that it was in. Oh, like I don't even live. I'll never be back. And I was like, Okay, I need to weigh like my costs and expenses for this like, because it was not just time, but it was like just money and time away from my children. And so yeah. I think things definitely picked up in Wisconsin, I had a good friends. Still a good friend, I just haven't been able to communicate with her as much since we've moved. But she was a designer for American Girl and the doll company. And she
she made a Christmas card one year doing line Oh print. And I was so like, struck with that. That method, I was like, that looks like something I could do. And it was and I got into that couple years before we left Wisconsin. And that's when I actually started selling things was with that. And it was something I could do. I kept all the supplies in my basement next to the washer and dryer and I would go down there after kids would go to sleep and work or I would do it. Like if they were at school and I was off work or whatever. Then I would take a few hours and do that.
The way that you draw now, I noticed on your on your socials, you talk a lot about using your iPad, like doing digital drawing. Yes. So it's like your practices evolve to suit.
What's going to happen? Yeah, so the iPad. My husband bought me an iPad for Christmas in 20 I think it was the Christmas of 2019. So it was a Christmas I was pregnant. And I'm actually to back up a little. When I first got pregnant. I was so tired. And I couldn't do anything. Like I had, I had bought all the supplies to actually start screen printing. Because I wanted to start doing that. And I had made screens and I had all these things already. And I suddenly got very tired. I can't I didn't produce anything those entire almost nine months. I didn't do anything and and I know that sounds crazy and I I would wake up I'd be like how do people go to work? be pregnant? Like how did they show up at work? Because I had to take a nap every single day and I was lucky that I have that option. Like I'm just gonna lay You're down here and just take a three hour nap because I couldn't do it. And luckily, I was selling stuff at a local blue peak at the time. And they were like, oh, yeah, take the time you need. And that was really nice. So I bought the iPad, though. That was a game changer. But it took almost a year to figure out what I was doing. Because I didn't. I knew there were programs, and I didn't know what they were, and I know who to who to talk to. And so finally, I sat down and I, I got, I use procreate. And then I got a Skillshare subscription to learn how to use these things. Because I was like, I can't, I used to be able to pick things up. I learned how to use Adobe Photoshop, and I was like, 16 years old. And without tutorials before there were tutorials. And now I don't know if it's because I'm old. But I'm like, I I can't just I was it took me nine months of sitting here. And I was like, I don't know how to use this. Like, I would try and even even the the company's own little walkthrough how tos. I was like, No, I need I need a YouTube video or something. So finally I yeah, I just got Skillshare. And that that's, that's where it took off. So like, and I need to post something about this. Because looking at just what I had started doing last year in January, to now it's huge. I'm just being able to understand the medium. That was a huge learning curve.
On Yeah, I love watching your little videos, we actually show how you. Hey, yeah, that's so cool. Because like, I'm not far at all. So I love I love seeing people draw and paint and
yeah, that makes me happy. Yeah, it's, it's rough, because it's easy for me to share the videos from the iPad. The rough part is setting up a tripod to actually videotape me doing it because then I'm like, I gotta do this during nap time, when she's not around to like knock over the tripod. And so it's just like another I need to actually plan to do. Oh, no.
So at the moment when it comes to creating is it it is it's literally around naptimes bedtimes is that so Hey. So
it used to be that first year of her life before she started moving. I had a baby in one hand and the iPad in the other hand, and I would draw, and I would hold her and it was very like, I was like I could do this forever was great. And then she started moving, and then things got a little more challenging. So now like sometimes she'll get distracted for an hour, like we'll sit and watch a show or whatever. And I'll just kind of grab my iPad and draw. But usually it's when she's napping or she's sleeping. That's when like, serious stuff gets done, especially if I want to record anything I'm doing. It just has to happen when she's She's asleep. Can't do it when she's awake. Very grabby.
Oh, I work in childcare. So I completely can relate to the age.
But I mean, the medium is great, because like, I realized after she was born, and I had my studio still, everything was still out. And I looked at it and I said you know, I don't think I can do this for a while, like I can't come back to printing for a while because it's just not conducive to the current situation that I'm in. So like I packed it all up. I also started oils. It started oils. And then I was like, Yeah, this isn't gonna happen for a couple years. So I just packed it all up and put it away. And it's fine though, because I can take the iPad anywhere and cleaning that up as a matter of a split second, I can just close it and She can't get hurt. I don't lose anything. It doesn't hurt the house. It doesn't hurt her. So,
yeah, it's just it works perfectly. Can you see yourself going back to that more, you know, hands on physical stuff
I do. And I want to I am putting a piece together actually, for an organization that is like a physical piece, it's going to be like a mosaic. And that's it's just rough going, because it's something I have to keep away. And I only can do it when no one is around me. So yeah, just limit my time. And it's also tough, because by the end of the day, I'm exhausted. And I'm like, I just can't do it.
Yeah, that's the thing. There's only there's only so much that you've got to give isn't there? You can't have too far or you just, you just crack unfortunately.
What I wanted to ask, I was looking at your amazing pace, protection. As soon as I saw that, I just thought all these things came to mind. Like, I thought this lady knows about the Madrid She must know about yoga. So this is cool. But just the way that it looks, it's so I'll have to put a link for people to have a look at this page. Because it's just incredible. Like you you're basically linking something that's 1000s and 1000s of years old, with something incredibly relevant. That's happening right now with with Derek Yeah, can you can you tell us a bit more about the piece?
Oh, that makes me feel good. So yeah, like, so Yoga is a big part of my life. Even though like right now it's hard to even get to but, um, so I felt so one, I guess, this year, kind of like a personal goal was just to really start doing stuff that spoke to me that that could say something that I couldn't really say with words, and, but that also was putting parts of myself out there. And because for me, spiritually, I come from a lot of places, and yoga feeds and a lot of that. But I think these last two years, and it's been rough, because I had a baby at the beginning of the pandemic. And it's already challenging to be a parent of a small child. But then you're a parent of a small child, and you just don't know what's going on. Like, like, I understand the science, and I understand only as much as, you know, any epidemiologist is going to share with me and, and put it in terms that I understand. It's, it's scary and, and my my baby can't be vaccinated yet. And so, like trying to navigate what feels like a brand new world. That's very scary. I feel like I need to draw from the things that I've known for as long as I can remember that. I feel comforting. And I feel like give me peace inside. And pairing that with what I do understand logically will keep me safe as much as it can, you know, and it's like, every day I have this kind of have, you know, ever we all have these mental conversations with ourselves all day about, you know, how am I going to keep going? When I don't really know what tomorrow is going to be like, I don't really know. Am I going to be safe? Is my family going to be safe? Is my country going to be safe? Like yeah, it's it's an exhausting environment to live in. And I, the people I feel most sad for are my teenagers who are going to be remembering this for the rest of our lives. I don't think my baby will, I hope. I would hope that she'd be resilient enough to do This will be normal for her. This, this isn't she won't know any different, but my older kids do. And I've seen how this has been a real struggle for them. Like, I had to get everybody in therapy, the last year, I had to get everybody on medication this last year. And so for me, this concept of protection, it's, we have to arm ourselves with everything we know, in order to move forward into the unknown. You're listening to the art of being a mom, with my mom, I was amazed at
some of the other pieces I saw on your website, you sort of looking at day to day things like there's things about anxiety, self love, postpartum, the garden is just every day experience bass. Yeah.
Yeah, and those are, those were all part of a series I did for a gallery in Utah. Yeah, I mean, because when you're a mom, when you're a parent, I feel like the world kind of shrinks for you, right? And you're focusing on just that, that one little person, or, you know, maybe a couple of little people. And you are so involved with all of their needs, because their needs are immediate, and they rely on you completely for everything, and, but it's been fun to be present in that this time. Like, you're not to really worry about all the other things maybe I want to do, because I know I'm gonna get to do them again. And I like, really recognizing how short these moments are with her right now. I appreciate all these little things. And so she just loves walking down the street. And so we'll go out to the street, and she loves to look up at the planes that fly by. And she, she tells me about the birdies that are in the trees. And she loves like, people, some people still have Christmas decorations up and she'll want to go look at the Christmas decorations. And like just appreciating all those little moments. And being able to be a little kid with her is very soothing and just simplifies. Like I just kind of keeps my brain calm. Because yeah, like, especially, it feels like right now it's so isolating, which we've tried to be so careful. I don't get a lot of social interaction. And so it's when when you're isolated, you tend to get more depressed. And there's a lot of self talk that ends up being, you know, not, I mean, maybe negative, but certainly not helpful or productive. And so, I mean, parenting is so isolating, but so is the was living in. And it's like, I don't know. I like to be honest about all those feelings. But also recognizing the they're not forever. They don't have to be forever. Yeah, it's, it's hard because when you're depressed, or when you're, you're living in this heightened sense of anxiety for months at a time. It feels like it's just gonna, it's never gonna end. It's never gonna end. But I do I know that that does. And so I mean, I've only do things at depression for over 20 years, and we have taken medication for it, and I still do. Well, the hardest parts about being pregnant was I couldn't, and I had to get off it as quickly as and safely as I could. But I was I was a mess when I was pregnant. And I mean, I loved being pregnant, which is so crazy. That like you're miserable, but you're also just so in love and like I would love to be pregnant again. But I also recognized that I was a mess. And like I just somedays just, I couldn't get out of bed. I was I was just so deeply depressed or was just so anxious. And that was before the pandemic. I don't know how I could be pregnant now. Women do it.
The topic of mum guilt. Do you? Do you have any thoughts on that term? That topic?
Yeah, I've been thinking about that. So like, I think that's a real thing. But only because we've made it. Right. Like, I feel like it's such a product of our society. Yeah. Like, especially in societies that don't serve women. And, and I can, I don't know, Australia's system very well. So I'm not going to speak at all to you. Mostly just to mine where we, the one thing I've noticed, okay, so the big eye opening thing for me about this pandemic was it truly revealed how much my country's economy relies on the free labor of women. And I say that because of the way it went down when schools couldn't meet. And people had to quit their jobs. And it was mostly women who quit their jobs. Because someone needed to be home with all these kids who had to go to school. And what hurts is no one's said anything about that in the government's like, no one's recognized that plenty of women are saying, Do you see how like, crippled the economy is because you are relying on half of us to leave our workplace and stay home to make things move forward, as best they can. I and so certainly, when you have a system like that, that doesn't value, the the work and the impetus of half of the population, of course, we're gonna get guilt, we're asked to raise human beings, and also contribute to society as if those two things are different. As if, as if parenthood isn't a contribution to society, it's not valued, because there's never been a monetary value placed on it. But it's obvious now. Because no one noticed that people are working at home to raise human beings for the society without any kind of financial compensation or recognition. And, and then we're punished when that job is done. And we want to go back into the workforce. were punished because we had been home the whole time, like, Well, we've certainly been doing things like, yeah, we've been economizing. We've been transporting, we have been, like, we've been doing accounts and receipts, like, can you cannot tell a parent, that they're not doing stuff for the economy, just because they're a parent. So like, of course, you're going to have guilt in that kind of situation. I just feel like now. And especially now, I'm like, I am not at all guilty for staying home right now. And I'm not at all guilty about taking time for myself when I need to. Like I I'm, I'm fortunate enough that we don't need two incomes right now. We did when we're in Wisconsin, and my husband was in graduate school. And I worked I was I worked at an elementary school and I worked on a farm. I did that for over three years. And that was rough. And I mean, it wasn't just that like we also needed government assistance for food like because we we were students and we have three children.
I just feel like We need to pull ourselves out of our heads, even though our society may tell us or subconsciously tell us that we are not valuable as parents. That's not at all true. Because without us, this society would fall won't even exist. I feel like every parent needs to take comfort and pride in that. But also, it should move us to maybe request more, demand more. I feel like, what, what gets me so fired and angry right now is that, like, my government is trying so hard to pass things to help families and it's not happening and I'm, I'm so mad. I'm like, this has like, exacerbated and exposed all of the worst parts of our system that we've been relying on. And we're not doing anything about it. Like, it's obvious. It's clear, like the numbers are there, but they're not doing anything about it. And it's, I think, I think it's Meg Conley, she's a writer, if I should send you her stuff. She's amazing. And she has talked about this a lot. And it's, it just like puts fire in my mom bones. Like, it's just this is this is not the podcast for that I'm sorry.
Not so good. Don't ties in. I mean, this is, this is what you know, your thoughts and your opinions, that's what influences your your work. So you know,
yeah, what I mean, and it to be a parent, like, you're, I feel like you're in the trenches of economies. Like it's just that that influences every part of your life as a parent.
So the other topic I love to hear about is identity. So that idea that I mean, we've sort of we've sort of talked touched on it briefly, in this last the last topic we spoke about, but when you become a mum, that's it. That's all you are. You're just a mum, you're not. Did you ever feel like we're at the moment feel like when we as a mother, what happens to Charlotte, who you were before,
for sure, especially when I was a young mom, like I wanted to be a mom, like, obviously, we went out of our way to be parents, because we adopted, but that still happened. Like I still. You're, you're worrying about someone else all day. And you're meeting all their needs all day long. It, it feels almost like you're disappearing as a human being. And I, I felt that and I get that argument too. But I do have to swing back to now how quick that time is, like, in the moment, it feels like eternity, like, the days are long. But the years are so short. And the roughest part for me. While it was so hard when they were little, and I felt lost sometimes was when my son went to school, though. Because then I was like, What am I going to do with my life? Like? It's not like they don't need me now. But it's a different need, like the kind of self sufficient and they're going to school for a good chunk of the day. Like, what am I going to do? And that is when the art got pretty intense for me, because I needed to explore that for myself. And I certainly had other responsibilities, like I had to go to work and stuff to jobs I hated. Like, I loved the farm. I loved and that was that's a job I would always take. But working in an elementary school. I hated that job. And the kids were cute, but if you ever want insight to like another failed system of a large government, public education like I will I will die on the lines for any teacher who works in public education. And because those people are underpaid, and they are unprepared for all of the things that happen there, I was, I was verbally and physically abused by children for several hours a day. And it's like, no adult is prepared for this. Like, they don't prepare you even even as a parent, I was there and I'm like, How can you be this way? Like, I understand you're someone's baby, why are you so mean to me?
I needed that job. So the art, though, has been cathartic, therapeutic, and an opportunity for me to come back in touch with myself. And especially that inner child work that I felt like really needed to be done. I had a pretty abusive home wife as a kid. And, like, kind of sorting that out for myself, and still doing it. The art is what gets me through that. Like that's. And I know, even people who aren't creative or don't, don't turn to creativity, to help themselves through that, that sense of sell. Like, there's always something right. And and I'm not saying that work is the answer. Because it isn't always. But I think maybe maintaining the perspective that our life moves in seasons and cycles. And it's, it's easy to say, especially as a female, where we we literally have a season and a cycle every month or whatever. But knowing that our life if we can, if we are lucky enough can be long. And there are things I'm doing now, I'd never imagined I was doing 20 years ago, and I'm sure there will be things I'm doing in 20 years that I've never even thought of like maybe I'll I'll maybe I'll go back to graduate school. I don't know, like, the their possibilities are endless. And I think we don't need to necessarily peg ourselves into one little box. Because we're always growing, we're always changing, just like our children. And that never stops if we're if we're lucky enough. We never have to stop growing. We never have to stop learning. And just because we're not the same person we were 20 years ago doesn't mean it's a bad thing. Maybe it's a good thing.
Yeah. I like that. That's good. Yeah, and I like that you articulate that we're always growing and changing just like our children like you. And that and being that sort of ties into being really present, experiencing the experiencing the moment and then knowing that that will pass and then you'll have another moment. Yeah, it's a really good way of things. And I guess that helps to stop people like feeling really overwhelmed. Because you can be stuck in a moment and be like, Oh my gosh, this is just so it's never gonna end well, you know, but it's like, actually, it's okay. Because yeah,
for sure. I mean, and that's what I love. The basics of yoga, breathing and your mind, you can't stop your mind from thinking you can't stop thoughts from coming, right. But if you just focus on your body, breathing for a minute, just just think about your lungs, filling with air and coming out again, just being in that moment with your body. Recognizing that this is what you're doing, and that's okay. And it's hard like I suffered terrible panic attacks. When we were preparing to move down here and after, like, I had thyroid disease for over 10 years, and then my thyroid started to make some thyroxin again, and I became hyper to the point where I was having panic attacks and, and then when you have panic attacks, you feel like you're dying, like you don't really understand what's going on with your body until you've had one. And then. So then when I was having them, I recognize, okay, something's definitely going on with my body, and I had to go to the doctor and get that taken care of. But in those moments, like when you are overstimulated, you're panicked, or you feel like you can't get out of that moment. It is hard to focus on just breathing. But that's like the only thing you need to do. And like, I'm not a doctor, and I'm not a yoga teacher or anything, I just, I just know that if you can just try and focus on that basic thing that keeps you alive in that moment. And then do it the next moment, and do it the next moment, like helping helping my children, you know, this last year, like overcome real mental health challenges. reminding them that you know what, it was a bad day today. It was a really bad day. Let's go to bed. And we'll wake up in the morning. And we'll just try again. You know, and that's all you can do.
Yeah, absolutely. Yep. And that's really good to like tools and skills to be able to pass on to your children that you know how to manage. As I heard, it's similar experience with my eldest this year. He's four, Lizzie now 13. So last year, we started my school here
that just complete overwhelm where you can't Yeah, you can't think you
can't process stuff. You just get in this panic state that just come back to you breathing, we would call this the square breathing. So you live in for for four hours before and just just bring yourself back to the present moment what's actually happening? You know, it's such a powerful, like, it's so simple, that it's ridiculous, but it's just, you know, yeah, it's so powerful. And you forget that it's there. You forget that you've got this breath. It's keeping you alive. You don't even have to think about it, you know?
Yeah. Because if you don't have to think about
it, it's a really, it's a really good tool. When it comes to you, yeah. Probably not so much your littlest one. But for your older kids, do you feel it's important for you that they see your contribution that you're making? What you're putting out to the world?
Yeah. I mean, I think one's definitely important that they see that I am taking time to do something that I like. Because I think that's like vital to maintaining, you know, yourself as an adult. You need to be able to have those times to do that. Even if it's just watching television. But being productive, not that your value is based on productivity, but doing something you enjoy and having people's to do that. I think that's valuable. And I think that helps them because then that gives them permission to do the things that they want to do like my son who loves football right now. And like, more than pretty much anything else. And and we have had to have talks about look, I still need you to work on school. I still need you to focus on that because that's kind of important. I love that you love football but I also need you to get a good education. Then Then my my daughter who loves Music and, and, and I think we all we all try and support each other in the things that we love. And I mean, if you're lucky enough, you'll get to spend your life even making money doing the thing you like. But even if you know, that's going to be something that's going to be part of your life forever, that's gonna be enriching and therapeutic and help you just help you feel you like you yourself. You know, I mean, it just feel comfortable in yourself in your skin. Doing what it is that you like, and and then for them, they're all on social media do which is fun, and come to me and be like, Mom, you swore on Instagram today, I'm like, Yeah I did this, I have people watching me, but then they, they'll see the stuff that I put out there, and they'll see they'll even watch, you know, me explain things about it. And it's not like we have those conversations about my work at all. But, um, I think it's valuable because when you see other people doing things they like, and then also getting an insight into the way they think about it or, or how they're thinking about it. Something maybe you'd never thought about. I mean, that's what I love about social media is that I get to meet people I would not have otherwise ever met in my life. And I get to learn about them and what's makes them tick. And, and I have like, these relationships with some of these people that are so like, dear to me. And like I think about them when I'm not on social media and like, I wonder if they're doing okay today or, and that. That's, that's super sustaining, especially right now when I don't get out to meet people, and I don't get to do that. But it also it just kind of opens my mind to people I've never met or people I have not experienced like, and getting to know them. Like I love that and learning things about them helped me change my behaviors like this last year. I've had like a hard time, for the last couple of years, celebrating American Thanksgiving. And really listening to indigenous people talk about what that holiday means to them has definitely helped me reflect on what I can do in my own life, to better support them and to to be the type of friends that I would like for myself. You know, like I want to be a friend to them and and i i Just what changes do I need to make for myself to be the person I'd like to be?
Yeah, so some real sort of some navel gazing I suppose. Just so see
ya for sure Yeah. I, I've had this goal for a while actually to start putting out some illustrations for children's books. And that's like, I really hope I can get that underway this year. Like, I think about it, and I think about it and then like another project comes up or whatever. And so it just never gets to my plate. So I, I want to do that. But the other thing I really interested in doing is illustrating some I don't know if you've ever heard of Howard then?
He is I think so. Yeah.
So he's a social scientist. He wrote The People's History of the United States and it's it's a lot more comprehensive history of our country that is often not taught in schools. I think it's actually a college level book, but I read it and I was like, I love this book so much and There is a children's primary school equivalent that they created. It's like the Howard's in education project. And they have like, and I had bought the children's version for my kids, but it's not like a children's version. It's more like high school level, I think. So I would love to maybe start doing some illustrations of those stories. Yeah, even just to share on social media, like, I love that. It's it's tragic that social media is now like a default education system. But at the end, it's tricky, right? Because there is that tremendous possibility of misinformation and disinformation. And like, there's stuff that definitely is absolutely bonkers. That's not real that's out there. But if we can somehow teach each other how to find reliable, adequate sources of information and share those, I can only think that's benefits everybody, right?
Oh, yeah, for sure. Yeah, there's a lot of education to be had.
I had decided, at the end of last year that, like, I really need to start moving towards people and bodies like, I can do them. I just don't because I'm so I don't know what tone to strike yet with them. And so it's like, well, I'm gonna start with hands. And I know mudras. And I know symbols. Well, and I'm going to start with that. So there will probably be more like, protection coming out. Yeah. Yeah.
Look forward to that and be awesome. That's not the word. You know what I mean? It's gonna be one thing.
I do know what you mean.
It to at least two big words. You
know, that's all right. I'm about I'm about to wind down mentally. Like it's about time for me to make dinner and yeah. After dinner, I'm like, Alright, I got about two hours before I can put the kid down. And then I'm just going to ease into my bed and like, listen to podcasts and draw like it really is really lovely. It is
good. Thanks for your company today. If you've enjoyed this episode, I'd love you to consider leaving us a review, following or subscribing to the podcast, or even sharing it with a friend who you think might be interested. If you or someone you know would like to be a guest on the podcast. Please get in touch with us via the link in the show notes. I'll catch you again next week for another chat with an artistic mum. Edge to Alice Cafe is a fortnightly ish, long form interview based podcast featuring conversations about politics, environment and mental health in a world on edge with Ben heavy. Ben is an international relations researcher, environmental educator, mental health advocate and longtime friend of mine who enjoys having a yarn over a hot coffee. The podcast tries to make sense of the different kinds of edges that define us, divide us and shape how we interact with each other. In a world that's gone a little bonkers, and what it means to be a little different. Check it out at pod bean.com or wherever you get your podcasts