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The truth about being a working mom

On my instagram stories I shared a deep thought about motherhood and living a meaningful life through my art. A couple of people answered with their enthusiasm about this topic and so here I am writing more about it. 

I had my first son when I was still in university, still trying to figure myself out and what I like and do not like. I started working as a ‘freelance designer/ artist’ about 2 years after my son was born. 

I remember feeling this strong urge to just do something for myself aside from raising my child. But the feeling of guilt kept popping up. The negative views of being a working mother are deeply engrained in our society, yes even in 2022 ( though of course things have improved throughout the decades). I kept thinking I was doing the wrong thing… leaving my child to do what exactly? make a painting? design a logo? 

Little did I know that as I kept doing all these things ( paintings, corporate graphic design work and all that stuff) I was figuring out who I wanted to be. Something I did not have the chance to do because I had children at such a young age. 

Once I discovered illustration I was literally blown away. I would come to my studio to make art because it felt like my true calling. I kept making stuff no matter how ugly, because deep down I felt my life had meaning. A deeply satisfying and liberating feeling that I did not get with anything else, not even my children.

Don’t get me wrong I love my kids, if I was in a life and death situation I would pick them 100 times over my art. 

As much as the movies make it seems that 6 weeks post partum everything goes back to normal, it actually doesn’t. They don’t really show that till about 1 year after birth your whole life seems to stop and all you do is take care of this little thing that once used to grow inside of you. It then takes a few months to rebuild yourself back up to where you were ‘before child’, and even that is an accomplishment not many get to achieve. Let’s not forget that as mothers we are often the main care takers when our kids get sick, or come home from school, and that often results in another halt in whatever we are doing. 

Motherhood is a game of doubt and love… You doubt everything you are doing and yet you keep going no matter what because of the love you have for your child. Gosh it is hard  to find time for yourself. It is hard to balance everything but what is even harder is constantly showing up for the things that make you happy. That though, is the single most important thing. 

I would not be where I am today if I didn’t constantly show up everyday for my self, to follow my dream of being an illustrator and doing something for myself other than raising my own children. 

With all this in mind, I think it is also important to mention that we all must not judge mothers for their choices. From breast feeding or bottle feeding, to working or being a stay at home mom. What is important is that we all teach our children how to be kind and follow what makes them happy every day.

And as a mother of 2 boys, the most important thing is to show them that we are not always available, sometimes we are busy doing our own thing and cannot tend to every little need they have. If we raise our boys to think that we are at their disposal to do everything for them, they will grow up to expect the same thing from other women. While if we teach them to be independent and accept that women also have important things to do, we will be able to raise a generation of men that not only respect women, but look up to them in awe for all that they have accomplished, despite the enormous difficulties of motherhood. 

So yes… if you had any doubt about wanting to pursue your career while having children…Go ahead! Be consistent and just do it! 

Hi! I'm Elisa.

I’m a designer, illustrator, creative entrepreneur, self- proclaimed Ghanaian at heart, and mom of 2 boys and lots of animals

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