Struggling with Priorities....

Discussion in 'General Parenting' started by DaisyFace, Jun 23, 2009.

  1. DaisyFace

    DaisyFace Love me...Love me not

    Hello all--

    I don't know who else to share this with....but you are probably among the few who could understand, so here goes:

    I am an artist....and a pretty good one, too.

    BUT I am also the parent of a difficult child who can get really out of control. And as you all know, I am living in a house with surveillance cameras and bars on the windows and locks on the doors. We see tdocs once a week, and now parenting classes once a week....and craziness all the time.

    And since difficult child has been out of psychiatric hospital....I just can't seem to get myself "back on track" creatively....which has a direct impact on my ability to generate income from my work. I have been trying to tell myself that it's just a matter of "refreshing" my career goals....

    but the truth is--in the face of all of this carp going on in my family, the ability to draw sure seems useless....

    and it's very hard to set a goal like "Create a new, original painting each week"....when I'm also working on the goal of "Keep my daughter out of jail" and "Keep my daughter from engaging in dangerous and risky behaviors".

    I don't understand why my only God-given skill set lies in the artistic arena...while all of my challenges fall in the mental health, education, communication, and health/human services areas.

    I'm just not equipped....and yet to pursue the career goals for which I seem most suited just seems silly and selfish.

    Do any of you ever struggle with this? How do you handle it?

    (And please don't tell me that God only gives me what I can handle--He's obviously teasing me or joking around or something and I just don't get it.)


  2. AnnieO

    AnnieO Shooting from the Hip

    I haven't written in several years, except here, and a couple of short poems. None of which were much good.

    I just do what I can. I'm "artsy-fartsy" which means I do weird stuff like foam crafts, sewing, plastic canvas, etc. - all over the board - as my own therapy. Need to escape for an hour? I go out to the workroom and draw on graph paper and listen to a CD.

    But then, I can. My house is no longer on lockdown. Although I'm thinking it will be again soon if the sugar doesn't stop vanishing!
  3. JJJ

    JJJ Active Member


    I just had to quit a job that was perfect for me. I couldn't do it right because of all the time I spent dealing with my difficult children. It broke my heart to finally have the job I dreamed about and not be able to do it. There are very few of these jobs anywhere and I knew when I quit that I might never break back into the field.

    I wish I had a suggestion that would help but all I can do is commiserate with you.
  4. Andy

    Andy Active Member

    You need to find a market in real life GFGness paintings so you can paint what is goin on in your lives. A picture of how it feels to keep your daughter safe. Perhaps a series with each one fighting a different challenge in her life? I am sure each situation you find her or other members of your family in each week would be a new original painting.

    I think that painting is important. Art brings life to life. It opens the eyes of people to your world. It does not have to bring on happy feelings. It can touch the heart of needs. You may reach someone who is looking for understanding.

    Keep painting. Your are feeling a need to because it is important. It can be your stress relief and what a heritage for your kids. To have a picture that mom painted would be the pride of my house if my mom painted.
  5. DaisyFace

    DaisyFace Love me...Love me not


    I think you are right--

    I do think it would be ideal to try and find a way to combine what is happening in my personal life with some viable career goals. But how to do that and still protect my children's privacy? I don't even like to admit to strangers that I have kids--my address and phone are so easy to find and people are SCARY. (Plus, I have a difficult child who is just too ready and willing to get in the car of a stranger.)

    But you are right....It would be wonderful if my art could help or speak to others also struggling with difficult children.

  6. WSM

    WSM New Member

    Altho I work for the Fed Govt in a job I just love, love, love, I've always known since I was 4 years old that I was supposed to be a historical novelist. I have a letter from one of the most prominent agents in New York stating that I have the 'makings of a major historical novelist'. Just before my first baby was born I had an editor interested in one of my books, but was too busy to follow through.

    Now I have the time, or could have the time, all my energy is sapped by difficult child and husband and the daily drama. To create you have to be in the zone, and you can't get in a zone, yoy can't get centered if you are stressed, alert, wary, devastated, anxious, with your attennas out toward difficult child, primed for disaster, your mind racing with lies and figuring out what's really going on, etc...

    You just can't.

    WHen difficult child was in the mental hospital, the day before he came home, I felt the bounce of creativity.

    I don't know what can be done except to just wait until they are gone. My husband's ex had 5 children and one was alcoholic, three were bonkers schizophrenic, and one was rather neurotic and strange but able to support himself. By the time they were in their early twenties, he divested himself of them all, learned detachment (not a cut off, but detachment), remarried and had 20 more years of very decent life, a step removed from the chronic crisis and drama of his kids. He was very happy.

    I figure that's how it's gotta be. You just accept that you have to wait for yourself, just as you did when they were newborns. Except for us, we have to wait 18 years instead of 6 or 7. :(

    What kind of painting do you enjoy?
  7. DaisyFace

    DaisyFace Love me...Love me not

    Hi WSM--

    I studied fine art and graphic design. I work in several different media including oils, acrylics and watercolors....depends on what will work best for the project at hand. My passion is historically-based works, but that's not real popular at the moment so I have been doing little watercolor pictures of animals.

    You're right, it is easiest to work when you are in "the zone"....and it's hard to get there when you are stressed out all the time. And it causes me to question if what I am doing has any importance at all. As I said, the ability to draw seems so useless in the face of all that is happening.

  8. Jeppy

    Jeppy New Member

    Thank you for posting this. It makes me feel better because some people look down on me since with my educational background I don't have a job commensurate with my abilities. I have stopped going to college reunions because of negative comments from people who don't have children themselves and don't understand why I'm "wasting my education". My difficult child also likes to rub in my face that I have a job and not a career.
  9. DaisyFace

    DaisyFace Love me...Love me not

    O that's terrible! You have sacrificed for your child and he is the first to make you feel bad about it....

    I'm so sorry.

  10. DammitJanet

    DammitJanet Well-Known Member Staff Member

    Daisy...I am so not artistic so if I make no sense forgive me.

    Bipolar and other mental illnesses seem to really tie in to artistic temperaments. Maybe one day your dtr will be artistic in some way too.

    I like how someone above suggested combining painting and your daily life. It doesnt have to be your actual childrens faces but maybe you could paint angry demons or animals when there is anguish going on and more serene stuff at other times. I have no idea really. To me, I really like pictures of sailboats and landscapes and lighthouses so Im not really up on modern I have heard about something called "outsider art" though...but not real sure what it is.
  11. SomewhereOutThere

    SomewhereOutThere Well-Known Member

    I love to write, but my creativity seems to go out the window when I have a critical emergency.

    On the other hand, when day-to-day life is stablized, even if the kids have their issues, I make myself write. It takes my mind off of my problems, and I'm a better mother if I had a mental break. I deliberately DON'T write about sad issues or my children because then it wouldn't be a mental break for me.

    Don't quit painting. It's important for you AND for your child.
  12. Wiped Out

    Wiped Out Well-Known Member Staff Member

    I love Andy's idea of incorporating your painting with your personal life. Maybe you could illustrate a children's book about mood disorders?
  13. KTMom91

    KTMom91 Well-Known Member

    I used to write poetry, but I haven't in ages. I just can't find the words anymore.

    I wonder too about my "job". Is substitute teaching a career? I enjoy it, but am I fulfilling my destiny? Am I making the world a better place?

    Hugs to you, DaisyFace and Jeppy. I'm asking the same questions.
  14. susiestar

    susiestar Roll With It

    I am sorry you are stressed this way. It truly is hard to be "in the zone" when you are so stressed.

    Do you ever meditate? I have found that falling asleep to a guided meditation is very very helpful. Even if I don't hear all of it I get enough to help keep me going another day.

    I do think that painting out your feelings could be very helpful to you and maybe you could take your career another direction.

    husband is very very creative. His imagination has always fascinated me. Before we had Wiz he wrote a number of short stories. I wanted him to try and turn them into a book or anthology. I do not generally like fantasy books with wizards and a sort of medieval feeling. But the things he writes are so well crafted that you can really "see" what is going on. He paints a picture that is rich and layered and interesting. I am totally amazed by this as I can not write a short story to save my life.

    Sadly, husband has done almost no writing in many years. Too busy with work and all the stuff Wiz went through and now with my disease, he feels he has little time.

    husband is also an AMAZING artist. This he has used for various things. He created a bookmark for the Superfund site he worked at in Cincy. He was in the library and they had a bunch of bigwigs coming in. They loved it and sent them all over the site and to many other sites.

    He also has done some things for various charities. Right now a coworker is turning one of his designs into a tshirt for a charity.

    husband has also turned to computer graphics to fill some of his need. He is that rare combination of computer programming geek and creativity and the ability to reach almost anyone. At work he is now in proposal development. He works to create presentations for people all over the country. He even has a funky pad that lets him "draw" on the screen of his computer.

    I hope you can find a way to express your creativity in a way that works into your career.
  15. aeroeng

    aeroeng Mom of Three

    I paint in watercolor, not professional, but I have sold a little. A few years ago, I did the illustrations for a book a co-worker wrote and it was wonderfully fun to create pictures for someone else's ideas. I never expected to enjoy the project that much. But I have not picked up a brush for over 6 months, as the boys drain it all out. So I know how you feel, except I make my income through engineering not art.

    My mom taught me how to paint in watercolor. One thing she always said was to pick up the brush and just paint every day. She said, if you don't feel creative then don't worry about what you are painting go abstract just keep that brush in your hand and play. So when I am in a particularly uncreative mood, I will doodle on the paper and then color it in with a doodling type of fashion. Some of these have come out very well, others were cut up to make book marks. But even doodle paintings are difficult when difficult child is on a rampage. The energy and inspiration is just not there.

    Also for me painting requires a lot of thought. So much that it often distracts me from what ever is bothering me and can be very relaxing. So if you can muster the strength to get going it can reduce the stress caused by difficult child. Thanks for posting this. You got me thinking, I have been neglectful, and should go back to panting myself. difficult child in training recently purchased a digital camera, and has taken hundreds of wonderful flower pictures. Maybe I will start paining some of them in the evenings since school is out and we won't have the homework battles. Thanks for the push.
  16. timer lady

    timer lady Queen of Hearts

    I haven't read all of the answers so forgive me if I'm a bit repetitive. I, too, am/have artistic abilities. I love to paint in watercolor. I've just recently started playing piano again after 2 years & have started golfing after 2 years.

    That along with the death of my spouse. Saying that I do have help in the house for ktbug however that doesn't lessen the stress. In some ways it makes it worse because I'm always being interrupted to intervene.

    Taking 30 minutes a day to "indulge" in your love of art will make your spirit, your artistic soul soar. You can paint/draw your emotions, what's going on with-o your difficult child losing her privacy. I've drawn self portraits to portray life with a difficult child. The changes in my appearance, the stress on my face - in my entire body.

    Take that time for you ~ make it sacred.
  17. compassion

    compassion Member

    For me, I have to practie big time acceptance I am also very crative and have lots of intersts. I am delaing with a more than full plate with my difficult child and have to accept, for me, this takes tons and tons of energy and I cannot expect meyself to be "normal" right now. It is crisis time, has been for a year. I do little stuff like read anovel I like. I do wirte some, but I cannot do like I would like and if I was not dealing with the mania, runnign away, rages, constant appitnments, etc. I do a lot of volunteer work,etc. but have had to majorly just accept a lot of days I cannot. That rings me peace although do not alsy love it This week, there are tons of stuff I would like to be doing but today difficult child is back and we are goign to diversion program. Comapssion
  18. therese005us

    therese005us New Member

    I know you said, "don't tell me that God only gives me what I can handle" but He does. However, I would rather say, that things happen all in His plan. I have come to accept this over the years, as I struggle with wanting time to do things....I like to be creative too, in lots of different ways. Right now, I accept that my time is for the children, and their needs... so I have come to enjoy my role as their primary caregiver, and all the other special titles thrust upon me.
    I know that several years ago, aged 30 something, I had five children to care for, three with significant special needs, daughter now 24 coping with 4 extra siblings, and daughter now 12 with significant medical issues; and no support from either Departmentals (4 were foster children) nor spouse (now separated) I wondered at times how I would get through another day. I particularly remember screeching (a lot) one day, when I was again trying to get DS to sit still for the nebuliser, and breathe.... "do I have to breathe for you as well? PleeeZZEE at least try to do something for yourself..."

    I have digressed.... my point is, that was then, this is now, it won't always be so hard. 98% of the time, I LOVE my life, and I'm happy to wait (on the Lord) for my turn... then I look down the line and realise, I did have a turn, then... and then..... and then.....

    It's been a hard eight weeks for me lately with health issues, and stress issues ... andn I wondered if I'd ever get the time to wash the floors, tidy here, and sew.... tonight I am sewing and I'm SOOOO SEW happy! I just had to wait a bit.

    So, your talents won't fade for the waiting, they'll still be there, and I'm excited for you.. I could suggest, taking five or ten minutes a day to sit and write, paint, draw, just make the time 10.00am every day, or before breakfast, or something.... and it might just work for you... Good luck, you're special and I like you!
  19. daralex

    daralex Clinging onto my sanity

    I am an artist by trade (but have been doing office work forever) - but PLEASE find a way to motivate yourself for that - It can be VERY therapeutic!

    If you don't give time to yourself you will be no good for anyone else

    Art is a really good place to get rid of some of that stress and intensity - a good way to re-direct yourself.

    It's a gift to you for a reason - you're supposed to use it.

    Need inspiration? Take a stroll on the internet and find pictures of works of your favorite artist - or find a new one. Sometimes that helps me. I'll see a certain color or shape that inspires me. Go to a museum (yes, I know, with all that free time you have!) - but make the time. You'll be glad you did.

    Just do it!!!

  20. Mandy

    Mandy Parent In Training

    Thank you for posting this! Even though I don't paint I used to READ and love it.

    My dream was to write a book although right now I have no idea how I would accomplish it. My husband says to write a book about difficult child and our struggles and though I think its a great idea I believe its many years down the road for me.

    I know parenting is all about sacrafice but no one really understands the REAL sacrifice all of us parents of difficult child's make. I realized I had to put my career and dreams on hold for now and quit my job to be home with him because I was just running out of options. I definitly went through a grieving period realizing everything I couldnt do in this moment. I also put faith in God but still get angry with him when I think I have reached my limit.

    I think all these feelings are normal for difficult child parents and it is really important to get them out there so we dont feel alone. If it werent for this forum I would feel like a horrible, guilty parent 24/7 wondering why I couldnt fix this. Now I just accept what I cant change and accepting difficult child's illness helps me not go completely crazy:D

    Try to keep painting as often or as little as you can!! All of us need to find "therapy" to keep going!