Tuesday, November 16, 2010

observations on being a creative mama

I know that somewhere along the way I've talked about my struggle to find time to create now that I am a mama.  When Em was first born, my struggle was lack of sleep, going through a very tough 6-month adoption process and adjusting to everything new that comes with being a new parent.  There were a few days of creativity, and I remember putting Em down on the floor next to my desk so that she could play while I worked on whatever it was I was working on.  My process back then was that I'd have a general idea of what I wanted to work on and then take 3, 4 or 8 hours to play with the idea, work on it and finish it.  I remember getting REALLY frustrated with the fact that I couldn't find that time when she was so little.  My thinking was very black and white/all or nothing.  I was stubborn.  I wanted my old routines.  Since I couldn't have 6 hours at a time, then I did nothing.  And I did nothing for another year and a half.  I showed myself, didn't I?

So here I am in 2010.  I decided earlier in the year to find a way back to creativity.  I got really tired of sitting on the sidelines and watching other mamas create and do, and I knew that I wanted that back for myself.  But it totally freaked me out.  What if I couldn't?  What if I forgot?  What if I got frustrated by not having enough time?  What if, what if, what if?  

I got stuck in a 'what if' coma for a bit, but I pushed through.  I started this blog.  I moved my creative space to a room that was more accessible to me.  I organized it so that I can find things.  And I slowly started to spend time in there.  Sometimes I did nothing more than sit in my chair with a cup of coffee and think about colors or ideas.  Sometimes a little sketch came out.  Sometimes more.  I also started to look outside and find other mamas and creative spirits. I watched and I listened and I've been continuously inspired by so many people - mostly across the web, and mostly people I've never met, but the inspiration has been a gift. And all of this has led up to things I never expected.

1.  My interests are changing.  
Earlier in the year, I would have been happy just to get back to scrapbooking.  I have always, always had a thing for paper and textures, and scrapbooking allows me to play in a way that painting never has.  I have been scrapbooking, and the process seems easier/quicker to me than it has before.  I haven't spent hours laboring over a page.  I play with an idea, I do the page and get it done.  If I can't quite work it out, then I put that particular page aside and move on to another.  No big deal.  I used to be all about order and doing things chronologically.  That has changed and it's totally freeing.  I have found that through the process, I'm actually more happy with the final result, because I'm not trying to force something that isn't ready to be done yet.  

But scrapbooks are just a very small part of what I am doing these days.  My interests are still fundamentally the same - I like paper.  I like paint.  I like texture.  I like colors.  But I'm doing things will all of these elements that I've never quite done before.  It's thrilling.  It's fun.  I'm just going with it.  I've been working on some pieces that combine everything I love and it's so fun.

2.  It turns out that you can be creative and get things done in short blocks of time.  
Who knew?!  It also turns out that I don't mind this process.  At least one morning each weekend, I do try to have 2-3 hours in the paint room.  Em is usually with me, so I don't get all of that time for just me, but that's ok.  I've started to use that time to set up new projects and then throughout the week, I'm adding to things where I can.  So it's 10 minutes here - 30 minutes there.  Yesterday, it was just a coat of gesso - 2 minutes in and out, but those 2 minutes give me a mini rush and boost to my day.  I felt like I did something.  Tonight might just be cutting a couple of pieces out and then tomorrow might be the beginning of the assembly process, but I love it.  I'm really not quite sure why I thought it was impossible before.

3.  I accept the fact that I will be interrupted.  
4 years ago, the general rule in our house was that Sunday mornings were my time for mellow music, coffee and time in the paint room.  People learned that it was not wise to disturb me.  I got really cranky.  Now I have come to accept the fact that interruptions will happen.  On the weekend, I will need to pay attention to Em.  Sometimes I will need to get her paper/paint/glue.  Sometimes I will need to tie her shoe or help her in the bathroom or get red or brown raisins for snack.  During the week, I get interrupted by unknowns.  This week, it's been the process of buying a new car, but next week it could be a phone call or a burnt dinner or who knows what, but I'm ok with that.  It's all apart of the new process.

4.  Stating your intent is a good thing.
I think this is sort of implied throughout this entire post, but I think stating my intent and desires have really helped me to realize that this is possible.  You know that saying (or maybe it's a fact) that people who write their goals down are more likely to accomplish them?  I'm finding a lot of truth in that through this journey.

8x10 print from thewheatfield etsy shop

5.  Admitting vulnerability and letting go is a bit like riding a roller coaster - terrifying at first, but the high afterwards makes you want to do it again and again.
I like the idea of getting things right.  I like the idea of not admitting when I am wrong or stuck or scared.  I've liked the idea of things being perfect.  But I'm learning that those things really take a lot of energy and the create a funnel-like environment where you just get stuck and you spin around and around and don't really get to where you want to be.  I've found sanctuary in a couple of communities where I can put my random fears or thoughts out there.  Acknowledging those vulnerable parts with people has allowed me to work through them and not get stuck like I have in the past.  Putting those vulnerable parts here, even if I'm the only person that sees it allows me to let it go.  

I loved, loved, loved the challenge of stating what "perfect is" for me.  It's freakin' exhausting.  Good enough is fun.  Good enough is freeing.  Good enough lets you fly and gives you wings.  I like the feeling of your feet being off of the ground and I like that I've been able to have that feeling a lot lately.

I love this journey. <3

1 comment:

  1. Hi! I've just been sent your name as part of the ornament swap, and wanted to say hi! I love your thoughts on being a creative mother... I'm facing the same struggles now that I've got a little four month-old! I completely agree -- short blocks of time. little projects that add up, are the way to go!


Related Posts Plugin for WordPress, Blogger...