The art of being home / by Susie Lubell

I am getting used to this new schedule. First it was getting used to working three days a week and having the kids two days a week during the summer. But that was all about going somewhere - a museum, the aquarium, the pool, a lake. And I didn't worry about naps because they happened in the car on the way home usually. And I was getting much of my work done in the three full days that I did have.

But now I only work mornings. And I'm realizing that it's only really enough time to send some emails, straighten the house, fill some orders, read some blogs, eat breakfast and maybe go to the post office if that's necessary. It's just not a lot of time. So I'm not painting. I'm not even sketching! I have some ideas rumbling around in my head but getting them out between 9am and 1pm on a weekday is not happening. So we're reinstating weeknight art mania - that is, I sequester myself in the studio to paint for the whole evening uninterrupted. Could be a challenge. Last time I did this it only worked because I told the kids I was leaving and then drove my car around the corner and sneaked back in the side door incognito.

Anyway the point is that I am feeling better about the schedule. The first week or so after school started I was not happy. I was fighting with my son constantly because I think I was probably resenting him for keeping me from my work. That is FUCKED UP. He's my work, really. He's my focus. And his sister. Although, shit, she's raising herself better than I ever could. And that's with being close to deaf. Imagine what she'll be like tomorrow when she can finally hear?! She'll be running for public office by age three. On a strawberry yogurt for all platform...

So at 12:45 I shut the door to the studio and I don't go in there again until my husband comes home. Except for when I cheat which with time will be less and less frequently I hope. And we're starting to develop a rhythm. I get the baby to nap and then my son and I get some dinner going. Or if I've saved a print or a framing job that we can do together I give him the ATG gun to have at it. I don't count that as cheating. And then we have a snack and then play a round of memory game with a deck of cards (boy do I suck at that game). Then a puzzle. Sometimes an art project if I am especially organized. Did I mention that my son won't watch videos or television? I'm not joking. Because I would so love if he did.

But before we know it the two hour nap has passed and we can all go to the park together. I've even started enlisting friends and neighbors to help engage my son for this stretch of time. In fact yesterday he went over to our neighbor's house, who we only just met, and played with her five year old for a half hour without me even being there. This was a first.

And when things go like this, we don't fight. We enjoy our time together. Which was the whole point of this new schedule in the first place. Enjoyable time together and more of it. We're getting there.