MDR posts about the reality of parenting children with vital careers.
Is it a cliché in our culture to say that if we “ find our balance, then life will be perfect”? Balance means quite a different thing to a parent with young children than to most single people. We read lofty ideals about some future magical time when all of a sudden, we will receive ample time to be 'balanced'. But let’s be real, that’s like waiting for Godot. Balance does not come when you expect it—it comes when we are relaxed with what is true for us in the present moment of our lives.
Blissful moments of balance occur, unexpectedly, and are generally unplanned. Let’s explore two myths regarding balance for parents:
Myth #1: “Having It all, all at once”, and Myth #2: “Don’t settle for anything less than the best" even if you are a beginner. Let’s help move into the balanced reality of managing these myths with confident expertise. These myths rob you of the present moment reality to some future fictional state that does not take into account who you really are at this junction of life.
As a creative parent, the art of parenting is also the parenting of the art. Both sides need a healthy parent and guardian to create balance.
MYTH #1: “YOU CAN HAVE IT ALL.”
To put this idea into context, I am in my mid 50s and have enjoyed careers as a concert cellist, a recording artist, a record producer, a multimedia concert tour performer-producer, and now as a publisher of family media. I started my career when I was 10. Really, I was very serious about the cello as a kid. That seems like a lot of careers, but to me it has always been one career as an artist-entrepreneur. I did reach many key career milestones, but never at the same time. That's the secret sauce right there. A meaningful career always comes with important pitfalls that move us forward to the next brilliant moments. Balance requires a single-focused, honest, ‘one task at a time’ tenacity.
A long career means you have intermittent milestones of success. Yes, sometimes it is a complete smorgasbord when the different elements converge simultaneously, but usually there are little peaks and valleys of life events. After many years, these events read like an amazing career resume.
What the shiny promise of Myth #1 does not reveal is the work and the many failures that must occur to reach the high peaks often enough and consistently. The lazy idea that you will ‘have it all’ is a set up for disappointment that leads to frenetic multitasking, versus a serene one-goal- at-a-time pace.
Clearly, approaching life without a clear focus dilutes your ability to embrace your potential. Trying to have it all ultimately results in having very little substance and a lot of smoke and mirrors. It is far better to encourage our children to set special milestones and work towards them peaceful paying attention , breathing in eternity in each moment. Telling yourself or your child that they can have whatever they want in life simply because they want it. Is an empty can of worms. There must be a higher mission and a clear Why?. It is a cliche to live life just for the sheer acquision of wealth, we all know what happens at the end. I saw a little film by salvatore Dali near the end of his life, he was so fearful and macbre, he had little spiritual substance or understanding of life outside of art and acquisition, you could see it in his mangled fearful state. He was 'successful' by many societal grading systems, but that look sent ashock to me. He didn't do it right. Probably because his career was one of vanity not of serving other humans. That is a huge pitfall of many creative. All form and no substance.
A child's brain is wired to learn and grow positive nuero associations and as a parent it is your duty, joy and honor to fill thier lives, hearts with real life LOVE-SUBSTANCE filled with meaning and sometimes with things. A rule of thumb I found is a split of 70% of the time think and give out LOVE-SUBSTANCE 30% of the time financial backup. The 'have it all' idea is a formless mistress that leads to nowhere., because the only thing worth having is LOVE- SUBSTANCE
MYTH #2: “DON’T SETTLE FOR ANYTHING LESS THAN BEST.”
I always wonder about those perky self-help gurus who proclaim grandiose promises that appeal to our lazier side. Sometimes our energy and skill levels really do lack the quality to ‘deserve’ mastery.
We all start out as beginners, hello! The idea that we will shine brightly before we have gained mastery in our life's chosen career is silly. It is important to enjoy the good and long days of apprenticeship into mastery. Gaining your own life’s energy and mastery is a rare and well-earned reward of success that belongs to you alone. Mastery creates a confident balance you can easily replicate if the tsunami of life happens to blow things away for awhile. I have lost a few battles, but because I know how to build and understand the architecture of my life skills, I have rebuilt businesses several times over, each time with more joy and understanding than the last. You can be that master builder with the invisible tools that flow from your inner commitment and a vision of your place in the world.
As artists, we create something from nothing, humbly shaping and growing the crown of the success we wear in future years, always seeking the ore, so we can shape and polish our inner metal. If you know from day one that there are no magic bullets to the top of your career, then you will be just fine. You will smile knowingly when the drama comes your way and understand that it is not really personal, it is the ebb and flow of energy and self discovery in our higher purpose as creatives and as parents.
It is an immature idea to take one little step and then expect a miracle. People do not magically stay at the top of their career without hard work and lasting effort.
This myth continues to derail the spirits of young artistic entrepreneurs. There can be giant leaps, once you gain the gravitas of experience and wisdom. Know that the best advancements are created by your best, balanced daily energy—the energy that you can create again and again. That is the true success of a creative person: a confidence that can create, sustain, and enjoy each level of your life’s creative garden.
I know entrepreneurs who were grandfathered into a meteoric rise, and fell harshly, humiliated because their rise was neither organic, nor born from their own energy level. They were unable to sustain the immense pressure it takes to maintain a successful presence in their field. You must create the muscle to withstand the pressure, as well as the humility to actually be capable of creating and managing meaningful works in the world. The momentum of a master looks easy, yet is most definitely not.
On many occasions, our work has charted high, and then fallen off the charts. What goes up, then comes down. It is the way of things for all artistic people. Even the megastars who achieve mastery of their celebrity, encounter continual setbacks. One cannot sustain decades of success without tremendous concentration, ample periods of rejuvenation and authentic family love.
As parents, it is necessary to impart the importance of a natural self created work ethic to our children. They should be inspired by the world around them, and in turn reciprocate to inspire the world with thier vision and participation. However, in order for them to do this, they need to understand that anything worth doing is worth learning, practicing, and perfecting—and these key elements take time.
MARIA DEL REY
Publisher and Founder of ChildGood Magazine