I haven’t managed to write post-baby yet so here goes! I’ve been looking for inspiration for this latest post and have turned to my own experience to try and get my blogging mojo back! I’ve been finding it very tough to focus on my other 2 creative outlets – leather making and social media consultancy – since having my second child and consequently this has left me feeling a bit frazzled and frustrated. Having thought about possible solutions, I decided I’d turn them into a few tips on this week’s blog…
So here goes; what I have learnt so far about maintaining my creativity, having lost motivation post-baby!
- Learn to adapt; once upon a time I had no children and thinking about myself and my partner was my ‘normal.’ After my son was born, everything normal was turned upside down as I learned to put his needs before my own and alter my routines, habits and lifestyle. I adapted to the situation and absorbed this ‘new normal.’ Fast forward to 12 weeks ago and here I am with 2 children, finding my feet yet again as my old routines proceeded to morph yet again into ‘another normal.’ We’re not quite there yet. I’m still finding 2 children very unsettling and am constantly riddled with ‘mum guilt’, (am i spending too much time with the baby and not enough with the toddler? am I selfish for wanting to work on my own business ideas? am I a terrible mother for not being satisfied with motherhood as a standalone, fundamental role for my family? etc etc) but I’ll save all that for another day. The important message here is about trying to find solutions around the issues rather than feeling powerless and overwhelmed.
“You must be shapeless, formless, like water. When you pour water in a cup, it becomes the cup. When you pour water in a bottle, it becomes the bottle. When you pour water in a teapot, it becomes the teapot. Water can drip and it can crash. Become like water my friend.” Bruce Lee
- keep a sketch book handy. It’s a funny thing creativity because when you really want some, the little bugger disappears leaving you high and dry in a desert of crap ideas. Then, when you’re mindlessly watching the tumbleweed blow past and unable to even contemplate being creative, up it pops again like that sporadic cactus in the sand –and you need to be ready for that magic moment. Recently I’ve had design ideas come to me whilst pushing the pram, changing a shitty nappy (splatter effects anyone? jokes) and watching Glastonbury highlights on iPlayer. I can’t use these ideas right away but they are recorded for future use. I have a sketchbook next to the sofa for when TV inspiration hits and I often use ‘Notes’ on my phone and maybe take a photo too if i’m out and about. I then file them under ‘design ideas/inspiration’ so i am building up a whole folder of ideas to explore and develop when the moment comes.
- Feed your imagination with things that inspire you. You need to get out for this one really, which some days does seem like the most unthinkable task with a baby but it IS possible. You. Can. Do. It. Mama!! Inspiration could come from a walk, a conversation you have with someone, a poster you see, an exhibition you visit (assuming your small person sleeps for long enough to whizz round), or simply exploring some new hashtags on Instagram to uncover new accounts, makers, colour schemes, patterns etc. The positive side to social media is that we have never been so connected, which opens the doors to interesting discussions and fantastic creations, (however this is still no substitute for interactions IRL).
- Eyes on the prize but with baby steps. Remember where you’re going but don’t set yourself up for a failure with unrealistic goals. It’s only going to lead to frustration. Instead, focus on the small things you can fit into your day. Can you get 1 design done once the kids are in bed? could you sew just a part of something whilst you’re watching tv? Can you listen to a podcast on your way back from the school/nursery run or tackling that third load of washing? tiny things do lead to great ones, which in my opinion is still better than doing sweet FA and then complaining that you’re not getting anywhere.
- Turn your lows into creative opportunities. A friend of mine has recently found herself in extremely difficult circumstances and trying to maintain her creativity had become a near impossible task. Rather than wallow and feel frustrated she has used this period to fuel her artwork by producing motivating designs and incorporating stimulating phrases. She keeps her mind open to ideas by constantly doodling when she’s feeling down and trying new techniques and tools. The result is not just a whole new portfolio of work but also self exploration, mental wellbeing, improved skills and the seeds of new ideas. Personally, I started journaling when I became a mother to help me work through some of the emotional rollercoaster and find that this has proved a great creative outlet, inspiring decisions, new ideas, blog posts and clarity in my work.
Phew, that’s my big comeback blogpost done. Did it help? I sincerely hope so and if you want to open the conversation further, have your say in the comments or drop me a message…