If you’re like me, you hit the ground running every day before the sun cracks the horizon and crash into bed, exhausted, every night. Life is crazy for moms, whether they are parenting one kid or a dozen. For those of us creative mamas, trying to fit all our ideas in between jobs both in and out of the home can be hard. Like running a marathon hard. Or hard like trying to get stains out of our husband’s best pants from the time we accidentally put them in the dryer with some crayons hidden in a kid’s hoodie pocket. At least the resulting colors were creative. Here are seven reasons why creative mamas stop creating and what to do to avoid the trap.
Exhaustion Is a Huge Reason Why Creative Mamas Stop Creating
This is a biggie for me. I try to wake up early to write before I have to start the day, and I just hit snooze. I come home from work with the intention of writing. After dinner, homework, baths, and bedtime rituals, I wind up snoring on the couch in a desperation nap. Creativity FAIL–sleepiness is a sure reason why creative mamas stop creating.
I try to avoid the exhaustion trap by asking for help. My husband does homework while I do baths. I clean, my husband cooks. Occasionally, I ask my parents to pick up my kids from school so I can catch up on chores to free up time later. This weekend, I locked myself in the house and told everyone to leave me alone. It seems harsh, but I’m learning to bare my teeth and defend my creativity time so that I can have a guilt-free nap.
Meh: The Boredom Trap
Late last fall, I lost my focus. I couldn’t write, and I ended up leaving my blog unattended for some months. I felt so disappointed in myself and ended up in a creative funk. A down moment like this is a sure-fire reason why creative mamas stop creating.
Instead of fighting the writing blues and blocks, I dove into them. During an unexpected snow-cation in January, I spent time listening to some uplifting podcasts and took some forced time to regroup. It occurred to me that I hadn’t lost my juju—just my focus. I didn’t know where to point my blog, and I was struggling to find my audience. Ideas kept coming, but I didn’t know how where to put them. After some research and positive podcasts, I went back to the computer and created a plan for my blogging business. I set monthly goals, and created two more niched blogs for me to share my content. With realistic goals set, my excitement has returned, and I’m three months ahead of the game!
No matter how much we try to defend our time, appointments, meetings, and broken appliances sneak up to steal our few precious creative moments.
Beat those sneaky time thieves by taking your materials with you everywhere. With planners, pens, paper, small laptops, tablets, and some cool Smartphone apps, you can create in your car while waiting in the pick-up line at practices. My daughter had two cavities filled this week. I wrote blogs on my tablet while my son read to me in the waiting room. I realize that hauling my funky flowered backpack everywhere makes me look a little like a pack mule. So what? I’m writing. My soul is happy. Get over it. Appointments don’t have to be a reason why creative mamas stop creating.
Virginia Woolf got it right when she said that women need rooms of their own. With pictures of gorgeous craft rooms and she-sheds crowding Pinterest these days, my spot at the kitchen counter looks a little depressing. Pens, paper, and the remnants of last night’s cake line the front of my island. The cleaning supplies I’m using to scrub in between blog posts surround my computer. I tried to light a candle for ambiance, but I decided that the risk of torching the can of Lysol beside it wasn’t worth the peace of a flickering flame.
My spot is loud. The dryer is humming in the laundry room behind me with my husband’s overall clips banging into the sides. Yes, he still wears overalls, and he looks adorable. But I digress. My husband is power washing vehicles near the back door. It sounds like a combination of a lawn-mower race and a downpour outside.
The dog is scratching at the door, and The Loud House ironically blares from the next room. My daughter is reading to me, and my son is shooting sling shot pellets at the side of the house. My husband is asking me to bring him a cup of coffee because he’s smart enough not to track in muddy boots on my clean floor. The phone is ringing.
There are two ways to deal with distractions: noise-canceling headphones or just suck it up and ignore the chaos. I do both. I’m an elementary teacher, so I can tolerate extreme chaos as long as the building doesn’t seem to be coming down. I only use my headphones if another adult is around to keep my kids alive.
How often do we Mamas fear putting ourselves out there? Don’t we sometimes minimize our own creations for not being good enough? Isn’t it true that we secretly wonder if our talent is important enough to warrant the time it takes to properly focus on making something?
God made us creative. He wouldn’t have given us these gifts if He didn’t want us to develop them. If you’re convinced that something you’ve made is missing the mark, keep working on it. Then share it! Listen for feedback, not trolling. Feedback helps you grow, trolling criticisms hold you back. Ignore anything that doesn’t allow you to improve your art.
It’s scary to allow your creations to see the light of day. Share them anyway. Self doubt is a huge reason why creative mamas stop creating, and it may be the most tragic.
Lack of Focus
This one is my biggest downfall. When I finish with all the chores I need to do in the evenings after work, all I want to do is curl up in a ball and scroll through social media.
I avoid the Facebook rabbit hole by having an extremely specific plan for what I want to accomplish. I only put the number of things on my list that I can reasonably do. This type of list-making has made me get VERY real about exactly what I can accomplish in a given amount of time. Sometimes I get more done than I planned to. Other nights I don’t quite finish. Either way, I promise myself Pinterest veg time when I’m done with a reasonable amount of what’s on my list.
Health crises and family problems can make off with our creativity quicker than insurance denying a claim. My fall creativity crash occurred in conjunction with a series of health issues my husband has faced. Most have been safely resolved, and he will have some surgery in the coming weeks. We are going to be okay, but both our nerves have frayed completely.
A crisis makes it so hard to stay creative because fear and worry creep in replacing art time with time spent on WebMD or other site. During our nervous time, I consciously decided to do everything in my power to stop worrying. I couldn’t predict or change an outcome. Test results were completely out of my control. The only thing I could control were the doctors we chose, so I picked the best I could find.
Then I chose to trust them. When I felt nervous, I did yoga or meditated. I let go, essentially. I can’t tell you that sitting in doctor’s offices wasn’t scary or that waiting for test results didn’t make me completely nauseous. What I can say with absolute certainty is that I didn’t waste too many minutes of our daily life freaking out about the future.
Initially, choosing not to worry proved incredibly difficult. As the days wore on, surrendering to whatever would come created this huge feeling of peace within me. Ideas continued to flow, and I created these two new blogs. I realized that if I can create under adverse circumstances, then I can create any time.
So there you have it! You know some of those common reasons why creative mamas stop creating so they can’t sneak up on you. When these icky times do inevitably come, you’ll know some ways to escape them with your creativity intact. So if you’ll excuse me, I have a date with Instagram!