We had the good fortune of connecting with Beth Gatza and we’ve shared our conversation below.
Hi Beth, how has your perspective on work-life balance evolved over time?
Nobody goes into motherhood thinking, “This is going to be a BREEZE!”. In fact, you have so many people trying to convince you that your life will never be the same that you almost start to believe them. On top of that uplifting advice, you are forced to stop doing the things you love because your body morphs into a completely unrecognizable form and you can do nothing else but sit on a couch surrounded in a throne of pillows. Yet, through it all, I knew one day the tiara would be put away, and after the birth of my daughter, I would quickly be chomping at the bit to create again.
It took longer than I thought.
Yeah, they were partially right. I wasn’t sitting in front of the easel for 18 hours a day wondering if the blemish I painted on my oil painting looked real enough. Instead, I was sitting in front of the TV watching Broad City at 3 in the morning while breastfeeding my daughter, and waiting for my husband to come back with my sumptuous Arby’s request. “So what”, I thought, “this is all temporary and I am STARVING”… we’ve all been there. Yet, after a few months, I started to feel it in my thoughts, in my emotions, and in my bones.
I eventually went back to work where I teach full-time art at a private school. It was strange being away from the craziness of new motherhood. It was strange to have actual moments of peace and quiet. I ended up feeling overwhelmed with the need to create, and sure enough, it all started to flow out of me again with ease. I would use my lunch breaks to work on my own art and would use my teaching time to think about the projects I would create someday. I would come home to a beautiful baby and feel…sad. Sad? Yes, sad. Here was my daughter doing all of these amazing things that babies do, and I was not there to see them. What if I miss her first word, what if she starts to crawl and I miss it, what if she doesn’t love me?
Ok, so maybe they were right? Then lockdown happened. I was back home with my babes (my daughter AND my husband). I was singing in the kitchen while making breakfast, I was dancing down the hall with her in my arms and I was seeing all of the amazing things that babies do. I was also teaching 500 students art Live on Zoom- Not the best environment for working on your own art. My daughter’s naptime and bedtime were questionable, and because of which she was crawling on the ceiling on the good days. It was stressful and I knew that I had to figure out a way to find a little bit of control through the madness. I got my daughter on a strict nap and bedtime.
Things started to change. I was actually able to start planning my days around these naptimes. I was starting to find myself with actual free time. I began to paint, workout, and have some moments where I just sat on the couch and stared at the wall, because, well it was relaxing!
So what’s next?
Your guess is as good as mine! I have a few months this summer to enjoy this routine before the upcoming school year. Then, it will be time to adapt all over again. What have I learned through all of this? Well, I learned that after having a baby, your life will never be the same. They were right, and it’s all gravy with me!
Alright, so let’s move onto what keeps you busy professionally?
I just truly enjoy painting people so when I find the time to do this, it makes me very happy. Yet, besides painting I have gotten back into making video art which is something many people do not know about me. I went to college for film making and worked in the film industry after I graduated. It has been nice working on this type of art again and it somehow it feels like soon these two passions of mine will merge. If you would like to check this out or my drawing timelapses, cruise over to my YouTube page (link below).
If you had a friend visiting you, what are some of the local spots you’d want to take them around to?
Out of the city: Hiking in the canyons and dinner at The Old Place.
In the city: A day at the Huntington Gardens and Dinner at Pizzeria Mozza.
This shoutout is to my amazing husband who has been a mentor, cheerleader, muse and my best friend throughout the years. He has the amazing ability to make everybody he meets feel as though there is no way to fail, but if you do, everybody else is the idiot except for you. I am in awe of him daily. I love you, M.
Other: Skillshare: https://