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Leah Piken Kolidas

My husband was so curious to see how becoming a mother would affect my art. He thought, once I had Annabelle, that I might start painting babies all the time. But I didn’t. Instead I painted the moon.

Our little girl was not a “good sleeper.” She was up much of the night, every 2-3 hours, until she was 6 and a half months old. Night and I became good friends. I used to be a night owl, making art until the wee hours, but this was different. I had a daytime life, filled with nursing, friends, family, sunshine, and the outdoors and a nighttime life, just baby and I, the darkness, and the moon.

What a strange time. I would sometimes dread the night because it was a bit lonely and so very long. I never knew I could function on so little sleep!

Finding time to create with a baby who doesn’t sleep well wasn’t easy. Even with a baby who sleeps well, it isn’t easy. But I do make time for it. There aren’t long stretches of time, just moments. I’ve had to create in a slightly different way, but I’ve found ways to make it work. Sometimes starting something during a morning nap and finishing it up after she goes to bed.

I continue to create because it’s important to me and it is important to her. Because I know I’m a better, more whole person and mother when I give myself this time to make art.

Now that she’s getting a little older (all of 9 months), we are beginning to create together. Her daddy plays guitar and she shakes her rattle. She draws squiggles of color on big sheets of paper and I join in her delight. I sing a song and she giggles and dances. She’s a natural born creator, a wonderful reminder that we are all born creative. I will continue to nurture that light in her eyes and I will be a good role model by continuing to express my own creativity.

Leah Piken Kolidas is a mixed-media artist living near Boston, MA with her husband, their daughter, and their four fuzzy cats. She sells her art at and blogs and runs creativity challenges at She loves silly socks, hot chocolate, her daughter’s laugh, and sleep (when she can get it.)

  • Mandy McMahan

    Beautiful article.

  • Karen Arp-Sandel

    So beautiful! Words and artwork. Good for you, Leah, keeping your inspiration alive while in the infancy stage of mothering.This reminds me of my initiation into mothering my own little sleepless wonder and keeping my studio table active at the same time! if you can that, you can do anything!

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  • Leah

    Thank you for having me, Susanna!

  • judean

    I love the reminder that having time to be creative for yourself is actually setting a good example for baby’s own self-expression (now and in the future). Go Mama!

  • Sophie

    Oh, I love this post and will be inspired by it as I step into becoming a mother myself. Thank you, Leah!

  • Carrie

    Love the moon paintings! Do you have the “Goodnight Moon ” book by Margaret Wise-Brown? It’s a children’s classic! Your daughter will love that you teach her to honour herself as you have honoured yourself and your creative callings. I know that I was quite pleased the other day (family day here in Canada,actually) while painting with my 10 year old daughter, she said to me “I’m so glad I have a mama who is a beautiful artist who loves to paint and sing and dance!” I was thrilled!

  • Kristen from Creative Stash

    great article Leah! I especially love this line “Because I know I’m a better, more whole person and mother when I give myself this time to make art.” Such truth. I feel that same way and have never apologized for making time for my art as a mother. I know I am my best self when I am able to express my creativity.

  • Ja Decelle

    Pooping is fun.

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