So I got a part-time job for fun. Yeah. For fun. I NEED forced kid-free time, even if that kid-free time comes at the cost of half my income. Plus, it’s a super sweet ART job in a peaceful setting. Can’t beat that in my book. It’s an amazing studio in an adorable house built in 1897 in adorable “downtown” Smalltown, USA that offers art lessons to all ages in a wide variety of media; they just opened a few months ago and I really hope the business succeeds. I only work on Wednesdays, and will be teaching painting and sculpting to adults and teenagers (Score! No little kids!). Right now it’s just private one-on-one lessons with hours between each one for me to work on various projects by myself. Alone. With quiet. Or music. Of my choosing.
Anyway, it’s lovely. Except…*sigh*…except. The kids have to go to daycare until after 7pm, and that means I’m paying to go to work. (Duh, so does every parent who’s ever worked.) So. The goal is not to make money—the goal is to get some me/art time. You would think it would be an obvious de-stresser.
And it is…mostly. Except that I can. not. handle. tutoring non-artists. Well clearly I can, because I did (with what I hope was perceived as patience and understanding), but O…M…G it is excruciating to restrain myself from grabbing the freaking paintbrush and doing it for them. I thought I was explaining things in the simplest of terms but the non-artist brain simply could not grasp and/or execute a right-to-left brushstroke or comprehend the deformity in their horse’s foot. How do they not see it? HOW? And it K-I-L-L-S me to sit quietly and watch the slow, painstaking progress. Loosen. the. hell. up.
I know, I know. I’m being a big jerk. I am aware that it’s a matter of experience. What I was not aware of is my apparent lack of patience. I mean, I totally know I lack patience with my kids, but who knew it was actually absent in general?
One of my “students” is a man in his 60s who’s never painted before in his life. Evidently he used to be a jockey of some renown, and is appropriately tiny. (Seriously those guys are tiny! I felt like a beast, and I’m only 5’4”!) I admire how much he’s thrown himself into this brand new pursuit, and it cracks me up how concerned he is with publicizing himself as both “jockey” and “painter”, now that he’s completed 2 ½ paintings. It is commendable how proud he is of his work though…whether it’s unfamiliarity or overconfidence I’m not sure. (Maybe there’s some residual fame-induced ego.) He is one of those cute old guys who speaks his mind, politely, seemingly oblivious to the chance that his thoughts could be offensive. He said my haircut was unusual and my daughter’s name was weird. Although he did say I looked too young to have kids, so that was nice.
The other two I’ve had thus far are both teenage girls, both very nice, but the contrast between the two of them is stunning. They are the exact same age, but one is home-schooled and one attends the public high school, and they truly fit the stereotypes. Although I went to public school, I found the sweet, unassuming home-schooled girl much easier to relate to, as her counterpart is forcefully confident and fashionably dressed. Plus homegirl seems eager to create art, while the other acts like she’s too cool to show any enthusiasm. I’m not sure if my feelings speak to my distaste for seemingly self-involved girls in high school, or the fact that I am more introverted, generally speaking.
Then it gets me thinking what environment I want to subject my kids to as they grow up, and how much those choices can shape the people they become, and I get all kinds of stressed out. I want them to be humble and self-assured; not overly sheltered but not fakely/prematurely mature. I sure as shoot don’t have the patience to home-school, but if our little rural town produces high school students of such worldly caliber I don’t know where to send them.
But I digress. As usual. If nothing else my new diversion gives me more to talk about, eh? And gets me out of the house, away from the kids, and I get to do art. Woot woot! (What the eff is “woot”, anyway?) The jury is still out, however, on whether or not this job is a stress reducer. Because…
When I pick the kids up after leaving them at an in-home daycare for 8 hours, they are wound up and cranky and ready to let loose on Mom all their incessant questions and whining. I want to be happy to see them but they make it…challenging. They are hungry and tired, and so am I***. I don’t get home until nearly 8pm, when I set to making dinner, watering the garden and lawn, feeding the dogs, and cleaning the house (since the husband is working nights and was home unsupervised all afternoon…clearly he spent all that time making messes for me).
Tonight I made the ultimate dinner of champions: macaroni and cheese with hotdogs in it. The epitome of health food. And class, of course. (Actually, it had whole wheat noodles and turkey dogs…does that help? Ooooo and I added peas! And real cheese! Win!) Then came the “take a friggen bite!” and the “stop picking your nose!” and the “no begging!” routine of dinnertime around the coffee table surrounded by dogs, then the toothbrushing and the “stop talking and sit still so I can read your friggen story!” routine of bedtime.
Just can’t win. On second thought, I’m totally winning. Pain-in-the-ass kids that I love, pain-in-the-ass husband that I love, great pain-in-the-ass house, and great pain-in-the-ass job(s). Yes, plural. My primary job is Mom, which, at risk of being cliché, encompasses maid, cook, teacher, nurse, referee, etc., etc. My other jobs are art instructor, freelance artist, and baby-grower. I have a huge mural project in the works, if the non-communicative engineering firm would get their stuff together. And the other huge project I have in the works is, of course, a baby. I get my first ultrasound for this surrogate pregnancy this coming Monday, to further verify the two positive ***pregnancy tests that were taken two weeks ago. “Cautiously optimistic” is the name of the game.
So that’s that.
P.S. "I love jobs" came from an SNL Weekend Update featuring James Franco that I find hilarious. Unfortunately I can't find the right video clip for you. So sorry.