We're doing fine, actually, but I want to feel like I'm contributing to the family income. I know I contribute in non-monetary ways (like taking care of cute little E), but I would feel better if I could help with bills, diapers, and dog food (etc.). Some of it too is wanting to stay involved, to be on some sort of career track. But what career track is that? I've spent the last ten years lazing around--not working hard enough to be a better private lesson teacher (I feel like I'm only operating at 10% of my potential), not trying hard enough during grad school (out of several student performance hours and composition recitals I only prepared one of my pieces for performance. Sad! Most of that came from the fear of putting my music out there)---not trying hard enough during grad school and therefore not getting all the teaching experience I wanted--teaching experience that is crucial for wanting to teach college-level courses later.
How have I futzed away 10 years? How do I get out of this rut?
I had this weird vision last night while watching "Me and You and Everyone We Know" (I liked it! It was weird--I had to watch it twice), which features a woman who does bizarre digital art and tries to submit her work to a contemporary art museum (and succeeds). I tried to picture in my mind what my art would look like if the New York Times did an article about it. I visualized the article, and saw my name in print, but I knew deep down that this could happen only in a parallel universe--or with a crazy amount of hard work, risk-taking, good timing, luck, and meeting the right people. Have you been in a position where you've seen art or writing and you're like, "I can write better than that!" Or, "God, I'll never be able to write/make art like that!" I feel like that's where I am--knowing I can create something beautiful but not knowing how to get there from here, or knowing if it's worthwhile. Seriously, how many writers and artists and composers can the world handle? Don't we have too many (bad ones) all ready? Is it worth the hassle of writing something and trying to get it published (which may never happen)? Does a piece of art not really exist unless someone looks at it, reads it, or listens to it? What if you just made stuff, and no one, outside of yourself ever saw it/heard it/read it? Should you try to sell your art or just make it? Are you an artist if your paintings never leave the house?
I'm thinking about these issues because it would be great to sit here and write/make art while baby sleeps and send it off to get it published and get a nice little paycheck to help buy the dog food and diapers. But even if I write and write until my eyeballs fall out and my fingers cramp up--I'm not guaranteed any money for my hard work. What are your options as a stay-at-home mom? What are your options for staying on some sort of career track?