Sunday, February 14, 2016

MOPS: Creativity and Motherhood

This last Friday, I shared with our MOPS group my ideas on creativity and motherhood. I thought I'd post it here as well because it might help you too!

I have distinct childhood memories of my mother pulling out all sorts of crafts for us kids to do together. We made Christmas ornaments out of beads, we made all of our birthday cards, and she taught me to sew when I was 10. But I also remember her pulling out craft projects that were just for her. She painted, made decorations for every holiday, and she sewed gifts. At one point she started selling her creations at craft shows. Looking back, I have no idea if she had us working on crafts to keep us out of her way or if she needed to have an outlet for herself and she we just never left her alone so she found ways to do it with us. I also can't believe she did all of it without the help of the internet and Pinterest (a sign of a truly creative lady).

I do think of myself as a creative person, but I can barely draw a stick person. I was never very confident in art class; paint and pencils kind of scared me. But photography, scrapbooking and writing are areas where I do enjoy creating. I love being behind the camera or surrounding myself with colored paper, scissors and glue!

I never gave it much thought to how important it is to be creative, or have the chance to create until I had William and no longer had the energy to do anything of the sort. I had done all sorts of “crafty” things before that and even started a blog to keep track of my projects. I scrapbooked and made cards, I started sewing and quilting in 2011, and I started my photography business in 2012. I had plenty of opportunities to create. 

I think one of the first things to “go” when I had my son were my creative hobbies. I no longer had time to make cards or sew. I didn't have the energy to do a photo shoot. I can tell just by looking at my blog how much time I lacked. I averaged 110 posts a year before William was born, but the year he was born I blogged half as much, and mostly about him – not even about my projects. I had nothing to write about because I wasn't creating anything.

After a while, that becomes an issue. If you don't have an outlet to be creative – or be who you used to be in whatever terminology you use, it starts to eat away at your identity. If nothing else, you feel like your time is not your own – you are always sacrificing for someone else and you may feel bitterness edging in.

During one of our anniversary dates, my husband and realized that this was becoming a problem for both of us. Neither one of us had time or energy to invest in ourselves and bitterness was starting to creep into our relationship. This became one of the major goals my husband and I have been working on this past year as we are both creative people and need to have space to create or we go a little crazy.

Each month, we try to give each other a “creative afternoon” or whole day if we could. It didn't happen all of the time, but when it worked, it was great. It has been so encouraging to both of us to look at what we've been able to accomplish this year because we worked together in finding the time. My photography business grew, I had time to make two quilts, and I finished my son's Christmas stocking.

None of these projects are actually crucial to my life, but they give me a sense of living and a sense of who I am. Which is something I can easily forget when in the trenches of motherhood.

And now I have a two year old who loves to create. He loves painting and drawing and requests that I draw with him (or for him). I'm not any good at it, but we can create together and hopefully he'll learn to draw better than I can teach him. He's learning about colors and shapes, textures, and the differences between crayon, marker and paints. Last week, he used glue!

Creativity can come in so many different ways so its hard to say that someone isn't a creative person. Maybe you aren't crafty, but you love to create meals. Perhaps you also can't draw a stick person, but you have a great eye for decorating and using color. Or maybe you're an artist and use a brush or a computer to create beautiful things. Perhaps you use words to create stories or an instrument to create music. Maybe your creativity is seen in your garden or the way you organize your home. I think creativity can happen anywhere and the tools are endless.

So, as we contemplate how we are each creative in our own ways, let's discuss how we can make space and time for them.

1) What are your favorite hobbies or creative outlets?
2) How have you made time for them?

3) Brainstorm ways to make time or find hobbies that could work with small kids

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