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Wednesday, August 31, 2016

Kids and Creativity: being a mom doesn't need to end your creative life.

A few times I've gotten "compliments" that tell me how amazing it is that I can still maintain a creative life while still being a mom. There seems to be a weird perception out there that kids totally take away any sense of "identity" and use up all your creative energy and therefore having kids is like signing away your right to "create" or be a person or ... something?

It's ironic because being a mom takes a TON of creativity. They are hardly opposing forces.
Having kids is like being dropped into an ongoing narrative that constantly changes. One minute they're normal kids. The next they are wizards or ninjas or princesses or cats. If you stop see your job as trying to police this and control it, it can be exhausting, but if you accept it for what it is, it's downright invigorating.


Children aren't little leaches sucking life out of the world. They are people who need to interact creatively as much as--no MORE SO than--adults. Kids need creativity. Kids go hand and hand with creativity. Kids should FUEL creativity.

The only time it gets hard is when kids cause exhaustion, but anyone who has ever worked a full time job can tell you exhaustion can come from multiple sources, not just kids.

I probably would be a ton less creative working at a computer answering customer service calls than I am dealing with people who are constantly living in a world of discovery and imagination (AKA my kids.).

Now, there are points in life when you'll want to maybe pause other pursuits to focus on "what's important" in the moment. This isn't just kids, though. For instance, if you just got married or fell in love, that can become all consuming for a while. It can make it hard to focus on any sort of creative outlet ... or anything for that matter that doesn't center around your beloved. And it's an amazing state of being that you should enjoy and appreciate, because it doesn't last forever, and after a bit you'll find a sense of balance and be able to still love the person while also occasionally focusing on things other than them.
Some periods with (especially young) children are like this. Yes, you may only want to think about your baby. Yes, your baby may seem like they are your world. There's nothing wrong with this, but it won't last forever. Give yourself permission to enjoy it.

Or hard times. Times of illness and financial worry, for example. Sometimes survival is the immediate concern, and it is perfectly okay to just focus on "getting through."
And some days with (again, especially young) children will be like this. Somedays it is okay just to survive. Give yourself permission to let go of lofty goals and remember, this also won't last forever.

And the severity and length of these periods is different for every relationship.

I went relatively quickly from being totally wrapped up in love and newlywed bliss to being a new mom ... I think it was about six years of focus that I gave to that, from the start of my whirlwind courtship with Matt to when Claire and Coryn were around 6-months-old and four-years-old. I don't regret those years, honestly. I lived my life. I enjoyed those years. Then one day I woke up from them like a (mostly) pleasant dream and thought, "Hey, I'd like to start writing again."

I honestly think I was a better writer after the pause. I understood a lot more about life (and love especially). I had perspective. I had less fear of failure because whatever else went on in my life, my family was there for me.

So kids don't mean the end of creativity. If you play your cards right, kids are awesome inspiration. 

6 comments:

  1. Glad to hear you say this! I've seen other blogs that talk about how important it is to pursue your passions in front of your kids, so they can see that being creative is okay. I like that.

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    1. Coryn likes to tell people I'm a writer. I think she should be my publicist. Though I think she wants to be a youtube celebrity. Goals, right?

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  2. Love this so much, Heidi! It is so important to be creative with your kids and without them. And your posts about your kids almost always crack me up. :)

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    1. I've been told my kids are gunning for their own reality TV show.

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  3. I love hearing about Coryn and Claire! I hope they are both doing well, they are so lucky to have such a fun creative mommy! :)

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    1. thanks! Yeah, they're planning on taking over the world soon, so if world domination is well, they're doing well.

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