I spoke to Deepa Anand, an artist mom who shares about her journey as a mom and an artist. Check out her Instagram page @deepa_artwork to see her amazing nature-inspired paintings.
Tell us something about yourself
I am an abstract artist and a mom to a 10-year-old boy. I create abstract paintings, mostly using acrylic paints. Recently, I have started making natural colours that can be used for painting. I also organise workshops like mud play for kids as well as grown-ups. It brings us so much closer to nature and it is kind of meditative. You can say that I am all about the love for nature.
How did you manage career and motherhood?
Honestly, I struggled a lot and ended up taking a long break that was not my initial plan. It took me years to strike a balance but I had to prioritise. Every mom’s circumstances, health, struggles and support system are different and I believe no one should compare moms. For me, it was not quite possible to manage full-time work while raising my kid in his early years.
Tell us about your journey to motherhood and beyond!
I studied art, came to Mumbai for post graduation in Fine Arts and then started working as a web designer for some time. However, deep inside I knew paintings were my true calling.
I left my job when I was eight months pregnant because my workplace did not offer maternity leave. At that point, I was certain that I will start working again once my baby turned one. But, I ended up being at home for three years. I just wanted to be with my child in his early years but also missed working at the same time.
It was a tough phase and I eventually started working part time. I picked a job that was close to my house. I would drop my kid to playgroup, rush to work, rush back to pick him in time and go home. I was perpetually running all the time, it was insanely exhausting with all the household work as well. I used to earn well when I worked full time but the compromised pay of this job was highly unsatisfying. I kept feeling I deserve better, much better.
Eventually, when my kid was seven years old, I stopped working part time as well. I guess it just wasn’t meant for me. I wanted to focus on him rather than doing a job that neither paid me well, nor seemed interesting anymore. The painter in me kept nudging me to paint instead. My husband also encouraged me and supported me in pursuing my passion.
So did you start painting and exhibitions immediately?
I did start practicing my painting skills initially. I also started networking among artists and taking advice from them. I also visited several art galleries. It didn’t take much time then to stock up on my art supplies. The good thing was that I had the liberty to paint as per my convenience and from my home or studio. This way, I could be with my child and give him sufficient time while also focusing on my passion while he was in school.
So we can say that you gradually ‘brushed’ away your mom-guilt!
Yes, of course! It took me a lot of time to strike a work-life balance and follow my true calling, but I am here now. I think life teaches you a lot with the challenges it throws at you.
What tips would you like to give to moms who took a break from their career but are just not able to restart even after a few years?
See, I restarted my career after a gap of some three to four years. Before that I worked part time as well. I had never thought that I would take a break like that. It somehow led me to what I should have always done – painting! I would like to say that don’t lose hope if things are not going as per your initial plan. Keep the spark alive. If and when you think it is possible for you based on your personal circumstances, give it a try again! Don’t worry thinking if you could ever work again, that is if you wish to resume working. It might take a few months or years, but stay positive.
- Never give up
- Follow your dreams
- Start networking
- Start writing your goals (be it work or personal)
If you had a full-fledged career before having a child and don’t wish to start working again, that is okay too. You are a good mom raising a wonderful person, that is what matters the most!
Such an inspiring story, right? Personally, I haven’t been able to give more time to income based work since the birth of my child and was worried if and when I will be able to get back on track. Her story does make me feel better, hopeful and motivated! How about you?
You can check out her paintings on her Instagram page @deepa_artwork and for enquiries about paintings, commission work or workshops, email her on email@example.com