[Image credit: www.RightOnTheWalls.com]
Several weeks back, I wrote a blog post about reinvigorating creativity. I was finding that, as a new mom, I was having a hard time finding time to be creative. My usual creativity-stimulating activities like running, watching TED talks, and making art were being replaced with tummy time, breastfeeding, and laundry (oh, the laundry!). When I went running, my thoughts drifted to the many tasks that needed done. Rather than dreaming up my latest and greatest venture or thinking through my personal life—both necessary to my professional and emotional wellbeing—I was stressing about my to-do list. I also felt guilty spending time just focusing on me and my career. Essentially, I was in a new-mommy rut, and I wasn’t sure how to claw my way out of it.
The problem I was facing was that my creative time wasn’t “productive,” per say. And yet, creativity encourages and makes way for productivity. It’s just as important as billable hours during my workday…maybe even more important. I knew I needed to find a way to be creative again.
As the weeks passed, I had a realization: My life had changed drastically. Maybe it was time to stop focusing on what I had lost—mainly my free time—and start looking for a way to adapt to my new, wonderful life.
I didn’t need to reinvigorate creativity, I needed to rethink creativity.
Here’s the thing: I’m a working mom. That means that my time with my baby is extremely limited…and extremely precious. Every chance I can, I hold her close, smell her sweet baby scent, and shower her adorably pudgy cheeks with mommy kisses. I feel a twinge of sadness as I do this, knowing I don’t get to spend my entire day with her. I love that little bug so much it’s almost ridiculous. It’s hard only getting to spend a few devoted hours with her a day.
Still, I’m pretty lucky. I get to work from home doing something I L-O-V-E. I write and edit books and other published material for a living. How awesome is that? So, closing my home office door, and shutting my family out as I work, is a little easier than if I were doing something I didn’t enjoy.
What I began to notice is that I was looking forward to my work breaks because I got to snuggle my baby. Her goofy smiles and silly giggles provided a much-needed respite from the world of words I live in. Each break I took, whether it was to feed her or just spend a few minutes together, left me feeling refreshed in a way I hadn’t experienced before. I was in love, and spending time with my new love was almost as refreshing as a session of yoga and a shot of caffeine.
I found a new way to be creative: loving my daughter.
I’m not saying I don’t still need my quiet, creative time. I went on a long run last weekend, and it was fantastic. I spent two glorious hours focusing on myself, thinking through the many things constantly swirling around in my head. Running and other creative pursuits are a necessary part of my life.
But now I have another way to access creativity. And she’s much more fun than running.