A blog about life, food and photography.

Mediocrity

I’m 34 years old. I have a husband, two kids, and I live in the suburbs. I am a stay at home mom.

I used to have a job all the way up until 2009. Then we moved to San Diego. Shortly after, I got pregnant. At around 5 months or so I gave up looking for a job, since it didn’t look like someone was going to hire a visibly pregnant woman. I had a baby. Along with a baby, I had post-partum depression for 13 months. I got better, eventually. We moved again, this time to Atlanta. We bought a house. We had another baby. And I guess the second I turned 34 I realized I hadn’t done anything of importance in my life, and am wondering if it’s too late.

I worked on this blog since 2009. It almost took off for awhile, then the minute I popped out a kid I only had sporadic bursts of inspiration, enough so to post some recipes or baby stories. When we had the second baby, I posted even less. I barely have time to sit down for five minutes straight without a kid screaming at me. That’s why I’m writing this at 12:27 am.

Some people pour all their effort into their careers, as if that’s what makes them them. Some people pour themselves into motherhood, as if that’s the most important job in the world. And if that works for everyone, great. I wish I felt that way about something. I go to bed at night and wake up with two kids in the morning, and the whole day comprises of making meals, changing diapers, wiping butts, reading books, playing toys, screaming, more screaming, time-outs, cleaning, more cleaning, cleaning again, laundry, cleaning, and cleaning. When my husband comes home he sees me sitting on the couch surfing the web on my i-pad, with the kids running around. It always looks like I did absolutely nothing all day, as the house is a mess and dinner isn’t made. You’d think with all the tasks I accomplish everyday, I’d have something to show for it. Nope. By around 4:30pm I give up and turn on the cartoons so I can get some peace.

I used to do photography. I can’t anymore. I can’t hop into my car and drive somewhere to take pictures. If any of you have kids (or baby and a toddler), you understand, right? I also can’t cook anything blog-worthy. All I cook now is toddler-approved food so I don’t have to make separate meals for each family member. There’s no salmon, no halibut, no lobster, no seafood basically. I could make separate meals, but I barely have time to make one meal as it is.

Lately, I’ve had this hobby of drawing. I used to draw in high school, and I was actually pretty good back then. I had friends and teachers who were encouraging, and I wanted to get into illustration. When I went to college, my father told me I couldn’t major in illustration, or fine arts. It was graphic design or nothing. So I went into graphic design, and I hated it. But I ended up with a job as a production artist for 7 years anyway.

So, leaving a job I didn’t particularly enjoy wasn’t a bummer for me. I started drawing more as the kids played inside the house. It gave me something to focus on and helped me calm down when I started feeling like I was going crazy, with no one to talk to and two young children to cater to all day.

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This triptych is still currently in the making. It’s of my 9 month old baby, and she makes the most unique expressions. I like capturing the asymmetrical eyes and mouth.

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This was a 1 hr. drawing I did last week of my oldest daughter.

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This one a couple days ago.

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This was my favorite drawing I did this year. I like the glassy eyes and the way she looks like she’s about to cry.

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This was from one of my favorite photos I took from the San Diego Zoo. Maybe took 30 minutes. It seems as if the less time I take the more I like it.

I have around 30 more drawings but those were the latest ones I have done. I guess I’m posting all this for some sort of validation. I’ve been told (repeatedly) that I’m average, that they are nothing special, that anyone with enough practice, can do this. That the features are exaggerated, that they are cartoonish, that they are mediocre. Since I am my own toughest critic, I say this stuff to myself all the time. But to also hear it from others, I don’t know if I should just give up or keep going. Why am I doing this if I’m constantly told that I’m, well, mediocre? 

I’m 34. I have a husband and two kids. I live in the suburbs. I am a stay at home mom. Everything I seem to do is mediocre. I am not special, nor do I want anyone to tell me that I’m special. I’m not gifted. I don’t want fake compliments. I’m not here fishing. I’m not trying to humble-brag. I want a reason to do something, and I feel like I don’t have a reason to do anything. I get more negative criticism than positive criticism. Not just with the drawings. But in life in general. Being unemployed. Being a mom.

It would be great if anyone with an art background could give me some helpful tips on how to improve. Instead of just telling me that I’m average without offering any other advice. Because I am 34, married with two kids, and a stay at home mom who is desperate to not feel like a waste of space and a leech on society.

So that’s it. I guess I’ll crawl back into my hole now.



12 thoughts on “Mediocrity”

  • Okay…first you are not mediocre and whoever is telling you that is not only wrong – they are mean. It sounds as if you are still suffering from postpartum depression and maybe need some help to deal with it. It also sounds as if you and your husband need to have a nice chat about maybe getting you a sitter for a couple of afternoons a week so that you can go out and do something you want to do and are inspired to do, which will help you recharge – you would still be an at home mom and I think it would help. As far as your drawings – they are not mediocre at all – I have zero artistic talent when it comes to drawing but I can recognize good drawings and yours are good!

  • Your art work is truly spectacular and unique, you have a great talent that needs to be guided and channeled properly to unlock your potential. When I was young I liked to draw and I wish I can draw and illustrate like that. I’m certainly not an artist but know good work when I see it. My older brother is a prof. freelance photographer whose work has been published in magazines and my sister-in-law (his wife) has a master in fine arts, she can illustrate and paint very well. She comes from an art pedigree as both of her parents are retired university art professors.

    Personally I was a latch key kid and childhood as both my parents had to work long hours just to make sure we all had a decent standard of living. Even way back to the early 1970’s when in the 1st grade, had to get up and to get dress for myself just to walk to school with older siblings and to fix my own meals & snacks after school until my parents got home around 6 PM. As the previous commentator Maria D. stated, sounds like you are still suffering a bit from PPD.

    Full time motherhood and homemaker is a noble and highly valued calling. It’s much tougher than working on a job or career. I should know as my own wife has been one since our first, our son was born in 1999, we had our daughter in 2005. Actually relocated west to the Seattle suburban area over 21 years ago as didn’t want to have a 2 parents working full time situation in order to support and maintain a decent and affordable household as it is required in the NYC / NJ greater metro area where most of my elder siblings and family still reside. Fortunately for me, within a few years, I’d met a great woman who believes in the same about raising kids and family even though she also had an undergrad degree. Hopefully you’ll get more enjoyment out of looking for your kids, artwork, and your kids will appreciate later on what you are doing for them now. Good Luck and all the best to you.

  • This is the most brutally honest post I’ve seen of any mom and I can’t tell you how much I respect you for it. I used to follow your blog back in 2009 when you were posting but it’s totally understandable why you didn’t update as much anymore–different priorities. I used to blog a lot too when I was unemployed and I suddenly stopped when I got a job. I miss it but it’s my own fault that I don’t even bother to try now. I’m not a mom but your entry summed up what I was fear motherhood will be like (pretty sure my husband’s going to want me to stay home with the kids). I also appreciate that you didn’t end it on some happy note because you’re just laying it out there and keeping it real. Also, really enjoy the drawings. I’m not an artist but they look so realistic to me. I know you weren’t fishing for compliments but damn, big props to you for this post. This is probably the best thing I’ve read all week because there’s so much honesty in it. Keep on drawing, or surf the web on the iPad, whatever keeps you sane.

  • Im not a very artistic person hence I don’t know how to appreciate art but anyone who draws from the heart usually produced very beautiful masterpiece.

    As for being mediocre, 🙂 you are a mom to 2 wonderful kids. That isn’t mediocre. Hang in there. It’s one of those days. Ive been experiencing since baby no2

  • Thank you all so much for taking the time to write your comments. Reading each one did make a difference. The internet does have nice people in it. I guess the isolation from adults and living in an area where I don’t know anyone (I mean, come on, who makes new friends at 34, and how would you even do it now) drove me temporarily (ok, not so temporary) insane. So it is one of those days. Been one of those days for too long.

  • This comment has nothing to do with the art (which is great by the way), but I wanted to let you know that several years ago I stumbled across your blog when I was looking for instructions on how to make a perfect panini. Your blog was the first I ever read – I didn’t even know this whole blog world existed! Since then, I have started reading many food blogs and found a passion for cooking and learning about food that I did not know I had. All of this happened during a very stressful time in my life, so it was great to discover something that was peaceful, enjoyable and conflict free. My point to you – you had a huge impact on my life and you had no idea, so thank you!

    And hang in there – I am a mom as well and I’m pretty sure my comment this evening after dinner was “It appears I am the maid around here.”

    Your desire to find something that inspires you in and of itself keeps you from being “mediocre”.

  • hey there Candy! Who are these people telling you that you’re “mediocre”? They must have all their works featured in museums across the world, right?
    ………..yeah, I didn’t think so. You know what I think true art is? It’s not giving a flying f*ck what others think. Who are you drawing for and who are you trying to please? The answer? YOU. 🙂 If it makes you happy and you find peace in it, then go for it. It’s a hobby so have fun with it.
    Btw, your drawings are fantastic! So on top of being an amazing cook, photographer, writer and mommy to 2 adorable kids, you can also draw. Well, damn. See this space between the arrows? —–> <—–
    Yeah, I feel about that small right now.

    Loved seeing some new posts by the way 🙂
    ~ your old SD neighbor, Sunny 😀

  • I love the fact that this is wan honest post by someone in a similar situation as me. I am now a SAHM of two- my daughter is 23 months today and my son is two and a half months. Three weeks before the youngest was born, I gave up my career to stay at home with the offspring I had created, which I really wanted to do after I had the first and had to go back to work. This change came about as a result of my hubs getting a new job and started his career in music. He is now touring every weekend while I handle two littles for three to four days by myself then three half days again. This is a huge change for me from when I was the main Breadwinner because I already had a career going. I now struggle with the feeling that I am not contributing to the family anymore since I, for so long, contributed monetarily. Hang in there mama! I have had to make the decision to take us back to church whether hubs is here or not, and getting back into the word on a daily (somewhat) basis. these decisions are helping my moods, as is getting outside daily. You are very talented and shouldn’t give up on your art. It will keep you grounded and sane in the midst of turmoil.

  • You have talent. You feel an angst because life is more. You are a mother and a wife. Your art is part of who you are too. You need to understand the overwhelm and sensitivity you feel is part of the talent. You are making a difference with your children. Friends – connections can happen in real life and online. Expressing yourself here in whatever time frame works is great. Then know you do have options. Think of managing today as you are doing, and think of your ideal for expressing your art – drawing, photography, or food. Like you are doing 10 minutes a day is steps in the direction you desire. As others have said a grounding component for you and a delightful growth also. You are beyond mediocre, you have just been missing in action for a little while.

  • You are not a waste of space. I used to read your blog years ago, when you and your husband moved from the East Coast (Rochester?) to San Diego, then you were pregnant and I knew the posts would drop off due to higher priorities. Some time passed and I checked your blog again and saw that you and your family moved to Georgia, with another baby (congrats!). I don’t have children but reading your post I think that you are just tired and overwhelmed. Like another poster suggested, you should hire a sitter for a day or two and just spend the time doing what YOU want to do…take photos, go to the art museum and just enjoy being in the moment, or going to Piedmont Park or whatever park and just draw or people watch. It sounds like you lost who you really are because you spend all of your time taking care of others. You are a grown woman who can make her own decisions. You don’t have to listen to your parents anymore so just keep damn drawing. I know how you feel because I too am a struggling artist and I haven’t drawn or painted anything in a long time. Due to fear of failure, fear of success, lack of inspiration, etc. This year I am determined to get back in my “studio” and get cracking. I hope you continue to do the same.

  • Thank you, Candy, you made me cry. I seriously feel this way too – it’s not just you. Something is missing – but for me, I can’t put my finger on it.
    Anyway, I so admire you for being able to take up drawing again. BTW, I’m very green with envy looking at your drawings as they’re just beautiful. I can’t even make myself pick up a pencil anymore. I’m so excited and happy for you that you have such an amazing ability that you can share with the world. Be damned those who say you’re mediocre … fuck ’em … that is unless they’re family, and then, just ignore them 🙂 Miss you! <3

  • Thank you all so much for writing your comments. The rational part of me agrees with everything you guys have said. I guess I have to ignore that little voice that tells me I’m a worthless piece of s**t. As for the postpartum, I’m not sure whether I really have it or if this is just my normal existential crisis I have every few years 😛 I don’t think medication or talking to a therapist (something I tried once after PPD but did not help) will help this feeling go away unless I do something productive. I don’t know most of you but it sounds like a lot of you are going through, or have been through something similar. Thank you all for the wise advice.

    @ Michelle – I’ll give you a call sometime and we can talk about our worthlessness together, it’s been a few months 🙂

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