I started making peg doll sets about 5 years ago in one of my random crafting crazes where at 2 am, I thought, “I CAN DO THAT.” (Pinterest should just shut down from sundown to sunrise. Like the city parks.) I had a good routine going until 3 years ago when our little king was added to the family, and my creative dreams and routines came to a screeching halt.
Working full-time and balancing the needs of 3 wildly different children left me little time to focus on myself. It seemed superfluous to take time for myself as my list of “Mom Tasks” grew longer and unchecked. But I missed it. I craved it. I was going to have to claim some time of my own, and treat it like the gold it is.
4 things I did to kick-start my creative outlets:
I told my kids about my dreams. We talked about “daring greatly” together and what that looks and feels like. My children heard the positive self-talk I used when things started to intimidate me. In turn, their encouraging vocabulary changed to encourage me right back. “I want to grow up to do lots of art things like you, Mama!” The best part was that they had nothing to gain from saying positive words to me. They wanted to build me up, and I knew I had them on my team.
I set Creative Dates with myself. My husband and I decided on chunks of time that I had to myself at the beginning of the week, and we stuck to it. I looked forward to that time that was specifically for my crafting.
I had a motivational end-goal in mind. A friend asked me to collaborate with her for Holiday Galleria. The night before the show, the whole family bonded together in an assembly line of tiny pegdoll goodness to help me finish. Through it all, my kids saw me following my dreams, busting through the walls I built for myself, and doing things that bring me joy.
Last (and maybe most important), I worked to find an inspiring tribe. We have such a goldmine of creative mothers in Wichita. A few local gems shared their inspirational tips for creating without “mom guilt.”
Your kids really benefit from having a happy inspired mom. If you are an innately creative person, using your imagination to make some kind of art is self care for your brain. Get a sitter and do something for your emotional health! You and your kids will have a happier life if you do. – Heather Cartwright, Wichita Fashion Show and Harmonious Posh
Creating spaces that you can be creative in. It’s nice to have an area you can get messy. And bring the kids along for the ride. My kids love to make jewelry with me. Giving ourselves the freedom to be creative and makers inspires our kids – so it’s not self serving – although it’s a huge bucket filler – it teaches them to pursue their own inspiration! – Mindy Fresh, Bee Fresh
I think the biggest suggestion I have is to not wait until you have uninterrupted time, but if possible work in smaller chunks of time whenever you can. 15 minutes here and there really adds up! – Amanda Harcus, Occasional Treats
I set up my studio in the middle of my house, because through experience I know that my kids will want to talk to me and interact with me. Kids are curious, and they like hanging out with their moms, right? I have developed the skill of being there for my kids while I file copper, hammer on tin, or paint a painting. Instead of dreading kiddo interruptions, I welcome them. – Vickery Ottaway, Vickery Ottaway Design
Set boundaries for yourself and make lists. You will feel more accomplished, and it will keep you focused. I sometimes share my lists with the kids to let them know what’s going on. Be ready to grow and change. Not everything will work flawlessly the first time, don’t give up, just reevaluate. – Jessie Sterling, Paint the Towne
Being creative is reflective of the Creator God, and that making things with my hands is part of a healthy life. Now, as a mom, there’s been a huge ebb and flow to how that looks. In some seasons I’ve been able to create more than I could in others. Finding others who like to create has really energized my creativity. It doesn’t have to be people who make the same things you make either, just people who create and make and value the process. – Ambre Stirtz, Add to the Beauty
Be intentional. Time and childhood are both gifts that I want to make the most of, so that means I have to choose wisely what I say yes to. My personal motto is: you can do anything, but you can’t do everything. – Nicole Strain, Artist and Inspirer of Hope