Hello. How’s your week been? I’ve been a little hamster on a race wheel since getting back from our tour. Run, hamster, run! Most days, I’ve written 6,000 + words for work. One day, I handed my work in at 5pm then made Tinkerbell costumers and a cake for my daughter’s happy cakey day. I made my children call me Super Mum, and vetoed all complaints immediately.
Let’s talk about this busy, busy thing, shall we? Hands up if you are busy. Yes… I see lots of raised hands. Here we are, all scampering around to make party costumes, and cakes, and fulfil our work commitments, and make sure our children are completely happy and satisfied at all times… That last one is an impossible goal. Let’s just aim for – alive and mostly well.
I’ve always thrived on busy, I have to admit. I used to love my busy, sometimes stressful job at the art gallery for that reason. Someone likened working as an art gallery attendant to a duck on water. And we were, busy peddling away to run the place, while appearing calm and glidey to anyone who was watching.
I like tight deadlines, because they get me cracking. I like organising the million of things to do in my head, like an invisible calendar. I like the satisfaction when it all comes together. And as you saw from my book tour post – I am a crazy lady. I feel like I can take on a million things, and stretch like a rubber band to take on just a little bit more.
We’ve had periods in our busy life, which have been more busy than others. Like that time when my husband worked 6-7 days a week. I was writing entire educational books in five weeks. We had a newborn and a preschooler. AND we tried to renovate. Actually, we did renovate. My husband pulled up all the carpets, tiled, and painted the whole interior. Yes, it was a crazy time. And looking back, we can’t believe we pulled it off.
Generally, we’ve both worked a fair bit since becoming parents. We throw the parenting baton between us. I send off my documents, just as he’s heading out the door to a care shift.
Somehow, we’ve found a way to do a lot, and not feel too hectic while we do it.
But, there are consequences. And sometimes the rubber band can stretch too tightly. It breaks. Or pops off your finger, and pokes someone in the eye. Gosh that hurts.
Like that time, last year, when we thought that on top of all the other things we do, we could start a brand new music project extraordinaire called The Quincys, where we’d release a new song every month, plus an illustrated (sometimes animated) story, an animated video clip, an activity and a learning resource EVERY MONTH! I figured I would just reduce time spent on my blog, and reallocate it.
Of course, we were way too optimistic. And a few months in, I started to feel the pressure. My kids started to complain about the Quincys, because it was taking time away from them. And we realised we needed to pull back. We decided to just release the song, and the video each month. And now, we’ve put the project on ice until my book events have quietened down again, and we can dedicate serious time to producing an album.
Doing creative activities is so fun. And so fulfilling. And when you make it something which the kids can be involved in, it’s extra fun. But sometimes it’s too much, and the result is a deficit of creativity.
At the end of that particular crazy period, I found I couldn’t do anything. I sat down to write, and nothing came. I tried drawing, but just got frustrated. Even I had reached my limit.
I took time out. It was summer, and family were here. So I chilled out beside lakes. I READ NOVELS! Lots of them. I thought about Facebook occasionally, but didn’t bother checking it. I sucked up time with my small ones like it was oxygen.
So where are we at now? The repercussions of this recent busy time aren’t so intense. I feel a little less creative. And a little less motivated. But I am just going to bed a bit earlier, keeping on top of my exercise, and eating well. I am trying not to be too hectic – though that rush to get kids and husband out the door on time for preschool gets me every week. I know my creative mojo will bounce back soon.
In general, I am a big believer in finding your balance between busy, parenting life and creativity. I think the right amount of creativity can help us parent better, and be more fulfilled as a person.
Recently, I did a podcast for a local community radio show, Parenting, Birth and Beyond, which is a national community radio series about parenting. I talked about fostering creativity in motherhood. You can listen here.
How do you balance creativity in parenthood? Do you have any hot tips?