This Saturday, July 17, is my 9-Year Might Could Anniversary—the day I bought my web domain in 2012 and officially became a business! Each year, I like to celebrate or do something special to reflect and remind myself how far I’ve come.
And, to be honest, I need that reminder more this year than others. In some ways, surprisingly, 2021 has been a more difficult year for me so far than 2020. This year has had plenty of happiness, fun, and relief, but also a lot of confusion and a continual feeling of being a bit lost and unmoored.
Part of the equation are the constant adjustments needed as a new parent (am I still a “new” parent if it’s been almost 2 years now?). Butterbean is, I suppose, officially not a baby anymore, and is now a very active, very opinionated, very hilarious and adorable toddler. My mom once warned me, before I delivered, that she didn’t realize she could love something so much before having a child. And she was right. I’ve been completely blindsided by the attachment I have to Butterbean and how much I want to just be with her.
That is, of course, all good and amazing and wonderful. But prior to becoming a parent, my art was my baby. Drawing was my obsession. And my career was perhaps a more integral part of my identity and life than maybe it should have been. My work, my art, and my identity are all intertwined and messy.
So who am I now? Can I have two obsessions? Two all-encompassing loves? What do you do when you want two things so badly, and feel constantly pulled by two things so passionately, all the time? Can I be both “Might Could” and “Mom”?
The past 21 months have been filled with attempt after attempt to find the right balance of work and parenting. And as Butterbean gets older, it isn’t getting any easier. Instead, it seems like I keep going back and forth between polar extremes of solely focusing on work, art, or Butterbean. Moments when I think I should be playing with her more and moments when I think I should be drawing more. And then, of course, moments when I think I should be trying to make more money now that I have a dependent.
Anyways, I don’t have the answers. I don’t know how to do both. And I often feel that I’m letting someone down no matter what I choose to do. But I’m trying. And one thing I’ve realized over the past couple months is that, while Butterbean is my number one priority, it’s also vital for me to keep working on personal art projects of my own. And the distinction here of “my own” is important, and something I’m still defining for myself.
It’s easy for me to get caught up in what I should or could be doing to advance my career, grow my business, or make more money. That’s what most outside advice and societal influences points to anyways. But having a child means having less time, which means having to focus and prioritize more ruthlessly. What is most important to do with that precious time alone?
I’ve been very inspired and motivated lately, and I believe I need to take advantage of that state of mind a focus on steadily chipping away at creating my own books. I’m still figuring out what that really means, and what changes I might need to make to support that, but I’ve been working at it now for a bit and am feeling good about this direction.
I’ve learned a lot about myself these past 21 months—and especially the last 6—and have a lot more to learn. It’s funny how bringing another life into the world and seeing her grow into a little person has taught me so much about my own life and how I want to live.
Here’s to another 9, whatever they may bring. ✌️