We are slowing moving into my favourite time of year – Autumn that is. I am still yet to catch my breath after the start of the school term and, as we are doing home renovations, there is chaos all around us, but I can see the golden autumn light shining up ahead with the promise of less heat-waves and more polished floorboards.

So, now what to do?
What to do?
Where are my children? Far from home! (well. not really. Quite close by at educational institutions actually.)

But suddenly I am all at sea. After 7 years where motherhood has been my primary focus I am wondering how to scramble back.

“Let the nothingness wash over you” is what my dad would say, he in the midst of the first days of retirement. “Write a blog post!” My mum would chime in, always checking and often being disappointed these days. “Make some more of those bloody bunnies and make yourself some cash!” is what some of my friends would say, still rolling their eyes at the ludicrous yet profitable nature of that pass-time. “Get your illustration folio together and get some freelance work” some of the others would suggest. “Finish that flaming second draft, you lazy nong,” Is what another bunch entirely would shout at me, as their waggle their chopsticks over Beef in Mandarin sauce at our favourite cafe. “Make me a chocolate cake!” Is what Amelia would shout as she waves goodbye at the school gate. “Don’t forget to pick me up and then can we watch tv?” Is what Lily would say.

But I don’t know. I just don’t know. This term is so short. Before I know it I will have settled into a routine only to find that we are on the eve of the Easter Holidays. Can I put off real life until term two perhaps?

In the meantime I am going to drink a cup of tea, read Keri Smith’s How To Feel Miserable as An Artist and write and enormous list.

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31 Responses

  1. Belinda says:

    My 3 year old has just started kinder too and I have a little time to myself after six and a half years of non stop motherhood. I’m in no hurry to do something with my time. I’m happy to just be. I’m tired of chasing rainbows. I’m just going to sit around and see where I am for a while. There’s no hurry. Who knows, if we sit still long enough, something wonderful might find us…

  2. Lisa says:

    All the suggestions sound fab, especially the chocolate cake! just go with the flow and enjoy the space to think, youre so talented that whatever you decide you will succeed!:) I have another year before I’m at your point! but don’t want to wish my life away! want it to slow down actually!!!

  3. coryy says:

    “far from home”reading “whose mouse are you”, perhaps?

    I’m deep in the middle of my first school year with them all full-time. YIKES! You miss them, but somehow the days seem to fill up just as quickly without little ones around.

  4. Jenn says:

    I was in your shoes in September when my only went off to her first year of full-day school. I don’t need to find paying work. And the state of the job market here makes that a fortunate thing. I spent a lot of those first days (weeks?) watching tv. Way more than I’m willing to admit. And I talked and thought a lot about how I felt and what I wanted to do. Or what I could do. I had a lot of items on my list. And I started a project and kept at it even thought it felt not quite right because it was something and I was interested enough to get started. And then I came across the thing I was looking for. And I am gradually filling-in the time with what I want. I’m not all the way there yet but my day is starting to look the way I want it to.You’ll find your way too. I think the short version of the above is that I did let the nothingness wash over me. So once you are thoroughly sick of the nothingness, start something. Anything. And you’ll find your way to the right thing.

  5. Cherie says:

    Your Dad’s spot on! Don’t be too hard on yourself, it will all fall into place when the time is right, till then simply enjoy this chapter 😉

  6. Katie says:

    Wow- great and honest post! I think your dad’s plan is the way to go for a while, your brain will know when it’s ready to go again.

  7. shannon says:

    nice brush lady. me needs something like that. Ive been playing with watercolour pencils lately and rediscovered the fact I can actually draw when I want to. but being one who digs shortcuts as I am faster on the computer, i need this advice to you – obviously yes, make more bunnies and than maybe spend term one making lists and little plans of attack. And then next term get to it.

  8. Gina says:

    Oh, you’ve written such a lovely and honest post. I’m just starting on my motherhood journey with a wee 1 year old so your dilemma seems so far off, but I can sense it too. Loobylu was the first blog I ever read (and still do, clearly) so I’m along for whatever you chose on this next exciting time. And boy, taking a break for yourself seems like time well spent too. What a smart Dad you have.

  9. Kirsty says:

    I too, after almost 8 years at home, have just sent my 2nd child off to school. I am now home with a 1 yr old wondering what it is I used to do when it was just me and a 1 yr old.There were walks to the shops, and playgroup. Now we live in the ‘country’ and have no such things available. At kid #3 I am playgrouped out. At the moment he requires constant supervision, and I am trying to hand stitch while standing up so he can’t grab my hand work. Make lists though! Lists rock.

  10. manda says:

    what to do is my question too. and there are so many answers…but how to choose… i dont know either..but i wish you luck, maybe some luck will help x

  11. Happydacks says:

    Just ponder your possibilities and put a hold on real life until term two, as you say term 1 is very short.Definitely make more bunnies and don’t rush into anything until it feels just right…bide your time!

  12. Fiona says:

    After 7 years, a term seems a very reasonable amount of time to think about what to do next. At least! Drink tea and make lists, I reckon. Whatever you choose, it will be ace.

  13. Susan L says:

    Welcome to my brain … i always feel tortured by the quantity of what ifs versus the actual output. I know I need to learn to relax and breathe more … and I’m sure hoping my yoga helps.

  14. Lisa says:

    Read Rachel Power’s book The Divided Heart: Art and Motherhood. She is an Australian writer and I had to buy the book online from a bookstore in Australian because it was not in print in the US. Took weeks to arrive as they sent it my sea….symbolic of navigating the waters of motherhood and creativity. Pause for a bit, Claire and just breath. Also, consider reading Carl Honore’s book In Praise of Slowness: Challenging the Cult of Speed. I think you already “get” this, but it helps to be affirmed.

  15. sarah says:

    So many options. Why not write them all down and put them in a hat, then just pull one out and do that! Personally I’d be going with the chocolate cake. With a yummy ganache on top for the hips! 🙂 Whatever you do, do it well!cheersSarah

  16. Kate says:

    I recently said to my husband that once both kids are at school be prepared for me to flit around for a good 6 months before I actually decide what I want to do.After what will be 6 years of ‘stay at home Mum’ I think I will need time to re-group, rest and have a bit of quiet time.

    Dance to your own tune Claire 😉

  17. Deb says:

    Enjoy this time – that is what i am trying to do. After 7 years at home I sent my younger daughter off to Prep this year and now have 5 days to take of BOTH myself and my home/family. My husband is (lucky for me) in no hurry for me to get back to any kind of paid work so I am finally finding myself and what do i really want to do in this next stage of life.One term is the minimum i would suggest.

    Hubby is also taking long service leave so we are headed to Europe for term 2, putting off any changes til at least second half of the year – at least you have so many things to consider (some of us are starting at ground zero as if we were 18 again instead of about to turn 38 on Tuesday!). Lots of time to think and get in touch with myself – i think that is the key after so many years focused on little people.

  18. Cassandra says:

    Great post Claire. Beautiful illustration too. Are you still doing Morning Pages? I find them an enourmous help, although have stopped a little while back. Now being 7 months pregnant and having a totally irregualr sleep pattern and rarely any energy, writing my MPs or getting anything done is more and more of a challenge. But normally, lists and Morning Pages are my most useful tools for sorting out my little brain!xx.C

  19. Robin says:

    I love this illustration. That sounds like a very exciting list of things to do. Definitely enjoy that cup of tea and the peace for awhile first.

  20. Fran says:

    Write a children’s book. I can hear your “voice”.

  21. victoria says:

    Sometimes I wonder if wanting so much, being interested in so many different thinks, being enthusiastic about life makes it overall harder. I feel constantly frustrated about all I’d like to do that it kind of paralyses me at times. Maybe a narrow focus is easier, if not better.I love the picture, I love all you do and whatever feels right for you, I look forward to hearing about it.

  22. You make so many people happy! Your posts are so warm.I hope you don’t do your head in list making, first term is always short – why not just do what grabs each day and leave the list till after Easter.(I vote 1 for Autumn too, it is a wonderful season.)

  23. Kirsty says:

    “Let the nothingness wash over you”. Your Dad’s a wise man! Term 2 is only around the corner.bunnies, books, blogs, business…

    I vote for Banana Bread!

    (& you know I’m always going to side with your mum). xx

  24. You will be fine just relax and enjoy the peace and quiet for a bit you do deserve it afterall being at the coalface of childrearing for 7 years. The reality is you will need time to adjust. The positive is that you appear to have a lot of choices which means that when you are ready to move you shouldnt have any problems finding something to do. Dont feel guilty about not immediately leaping into anything, my advice sit out the back in the sun and enjoy a nice cup of tea.

  25. Megan says:

    I have a 9 month old girl; my first. I often wonder what it will be like in the future when my kids (the one’s I’ve yet to have too) are off to school and I’ve got some time back. I’m trying to make sure to soak in everything I’m doing now as I know this time isn’t forever. I like the idea of taking a little rest and then see where your inspirations take you.

  26. Oh no. Thanks for reminding me how short this term is. My girls have had two curriculum days this week (@#$@#$!!!)and that has really killed my momentum. Love having them home, but ….I know what you mean about where do you start. Sometimes I think I spend so long planning and thinking about where I will start, that I could have got stuck into it long ago.

    Good luck!

  27. mimi k says:

    thanks for the link to the “miserable” list- I love it!When I am at an impasse, I tell myself- just do something. That often leads to cleaning the workspace. If that doesn’t spark anything, at least my desk is clean 🙂

  28. jacqui says:

    I’ve followed your blog since 08 Claire & have never commented (so apologies for that first up!) I always love reading about your adventures and read this as I tried to rock my 8 wk old little girl to sleep and print out Play School colouring sheets for my 2 yr old . My sewing/crafty table lies completely neglected but I can’t stop making lists in my head of ‘things I want to make/get done’ (often during night feeds!)Your post made me realise that now is not the time to be expecting a lot of productive time as I’m sure the day you’ve described will come around quicker than I expect….. I should just do things when I can and enjoy my little girls.

    I vote you have lots of tea and reflect on what a great job you’ve done with your girls for at least Term 1!!

  29. Dear Claire, long time reader too. I’m sure I’m not the only one that has got great comfort from your blog over the years. Your honesty at how you balanced your creative life, work and family – so many if us can relate. And now you have time. My first reaction was ‘This lady deserves to take some time off!’ and of course it wont be time off. For the time being you are a stay at home mum. and in this day and age this still means for so many of us juggling work and kids -just within our home walls. Watch some tv, make some bunnies, nap. And blog more, please! Because we miss you!

  30. Christie says:

    Yep, term 2, I think it’s ok to stay in a holding pattern until then, then you can make some bloody bunnies!!Hope you are enjoying the strangeness of some kidfree time. X

  31. monique says:

    “But suddenly I am all at sea.” That phrase spoke volumes to me, but I am having the opposite problem. Have focused so much on my work that I have lost hold of my home’s and family’s order. Awww the life of an artist mama, so cyclical, so unpredictably unpredictable.

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