Now this isn’t going to be one of those posts filled with cutesy photos and fun ideas to get your little darlings making weird things from paper and spreading glitter through your house. I figure there’s enough of those out there already.
This post is about how you might nurture your own creative life when you have kids to work around (in the interests of full disclosure, I’m starting this while the rest of my family is watching ‘Doctor Who’ in the hopes of finishing the post on the same night I started writing it… We’ll just ignore the dishes and the clean sheets waiting to go on the beds for a wee while longer.)
So, here’s a few random thoughts and ideas that have helped me over the past ten years since my twins were born. Please add your own in the comments – the more the better!
- It’s okay to say ‘No’, it’s okay to have your own time, it’s okay to tell your kids to butt out of that time once they’re old enough to ignore for a few minutes safely
- Boundary setting is good parenting – really 🙂
- Getting sleep helps a lot – aka afternoon naps are your friend
- Lower your expectations – aka be kind to yourself.
- You’re unlikely to be able to write ‘War and Peace’ between feeds, but you might be able to knit a few stitches or jot down a few sentences for a blog post. This is okay.
- Things will change as your kids grow up – aka school is an awesome invention
- Babies and pre-schoolers require a lot of time, energy and attention. Actually getting dressed might be all the creativity you can muster in the early years. That’s okay – they will grow up and start school, and then you can start re-claiming your brain (rumour has it that they may even leave home at some distant future point – personally, I’m just holding out for school camp in November.)
- When they grow up, you should get more regular sleeep, but you may also lose easy access to anything with a screen! Good luck with that…
- You’re allowed to hoard your resources – aka hide the good stuff
- Your kids don’t need expensive coloured pencils, paper and art supplies. They can manage with cheaper yarn. If you want them to really enjoy their creating as they get older, you may want to invest in good quality entry level supplies, but it is definitely okay to keep your special creative supplies aside for your special creative work (along with your special creative chocolate stash!) I have fond memories of those occasions when I was allowed to use my Mum and Dad’s coloured pencils and felts. It was extra-special to be allowed to use their special things.
- Even little things count (see also ‘Lower your expectations’)
- If all you can squeeze in is a few minutes looking at inspiring images on Pinterest or reading a blog post or journalling or remembering how to breathe without screaming, that’s okay. Little steps are still steps.
- Results may vary – aka do what works for you
- Everyone’s life and parenting experiences are going to be different. Heck, everyone’s kids are different! Pick what works for you, and remember that it may not work for others, so don’t waste time being dogmatic when you could be doing something more interesting 😉
Share your ideas and tips in the comments, please ❤