The secret to making time for your creative outlets

I am a firm believer that all of us are creative.

We all express our creativity in different ways, whether it be through cooking, gardening, writing, decorating, planning an event — whatever gets your gears going and makes you think.

As a stay-at-home mom, I have found expressing my creativity essential to maintaining my sanity.

I love Eve so much and I genuinely enjoy spending time with her, but let’s face it, entertaining a small child can be somewhat mind-numbing. I can’t tell you how many times I repeat the same words, sing the same songs, read the same words out loud each day.

In fact, while I made the conscious decision to be a stay-at-home mom before I even became pregnant, I knew that for myself I needed more.

What gets me through could otherwise be a long, mentally exhausting day (besides meeting up with other moms and tots) is setting aside times during the day where I can channel my creativity. For me, that means making jewelry and blogging, and occasionally some photo-taking and the periodic craft. For you, I’m sure it means something entirely different.

What matters most is that it is something you truly enjoy and that allows you to use your mind in ways that excite you.

While I happen to be a creative entrepreneur, you don’t need to be a business owner, or even artistic, to infuse creativity into your daily life. It means a slight shift in your thinking or how you spend your days, but I promise you that it is well worth it!

How to make time for your creative outlets (even when you have kids)

1. Assume small chunks of time

As parents, we’re constantly being interrupted by our children. “Mom, I can’t find my socks!” “Mom, Tommy is sticking his tongue out at me.” “Mom, I’m bored!” It’s hard to get even a few minutes to think, let along find time to do something we enjoy.

What has helped me is to accept the fact that I don’t have the time that I used to and it will likely be interrupted. While it can be frustrating to achieve that state of flow only to have to suddenly stop what you’re doing, I have also learned to work within these time constraints. If anything, perhaps because my time is so short and focused (well, most days), I find myself bursting with creative ideas in a way that I didn’t before becoming a mom.

Photo by Leticia Chamorro

Read more: 8 tips to manage your time better

2. Seek out those times when you can

The thing about being a parent is your time is often super unpredictable. If you suddenly find your child super engrossed with an activity or she’s sleeping much longer than usual, capitalize on that time and do something creative. It doesn’t have to be anything huge, just something that you enjoy that can be done in a short period of time. Jot down an outline for a story, sketch a picture with her crayons, gather ingredients for a new recipe you want to test.

3. Try out something new

I am terrible at drawing, but I recently wanted to try hand-lettering, so I signed up for a course on Skillshare. While ultimately I decided that it wasn’t for me, it was really fun to stretch my creative muscles in a new way. You might not have the same amount of time to do the creative activities you did before, but that doesn’t mean you can’t find enjoyment out of new ones. And hey, you might even discover a hidden talent!

Read more: How 9 real-life moms make time in their days for creativity

4. Bring your creative energy into otherwise mundane activities

Whether it’s folding laundry or doing dishes, we all have tasks that we find incredibly boring that nonetheless still need to get done each day to ensure that our families have something to eat and our homes aren’t in a state of complete chaos. (Hey, if you want to meal plan for me, let me know!) Listen to a podcast that will inspire you, make up a story in your head (or better yet, record it on your phone!), play some music and dance — do whatever will make the task more enjoyable and get out that creative energy.

Wouldn't you be this happy folding laundry if you were composing the next Hamilton?
Wouldn’t you be this happy folding laundry if you were composing the next Hamilton?

5. Involve your children when you can

What better way to bond with your kids than to involve them in something that makes you really happy? I hope one day to teach Eve how to make jewelry (she already knows the world “necklace” and loves looking at and wearing my jewelry). While she’s still too young, periodically I will do some work while she’s doing her own thing next to me and I talk to her about what I’m doing. Though I’m terrible at drawing, I’ll doodle on a piece of paper while she draws.

6. Stop checking Facebook

Do you ever tell yourself you are going to look at Facebook for five minutes, and before you know it an hour has passed by? Yeah, we’ve all been there. I guarantee that if you put your phone down in the evening after your kids go to bed and instead pulled out your watercolors that have been collecting dust on the shelf that you could actually spend a solid period of time painting.

7. Forgo things that don’t actually need to get done

I’ll be the first to tell you that I’m a messy person. I suppose if I spent all of Eve’s naptime cleaning we would have an unbelievably neat house. But you know what? I don’t care! I’d rather my house be messy than to spend hours each day tidying up, only to have my floor littered with toys and random objects the next day. Most days I do just over the bare minimum of what is required to keep my house from looking like a tornado hit it. Usually it takes a few days for laundry to get put away. But as long as my house is clean and we generally know where thing are, that’s ok for me.

You have to do what works for you and your family and won’t stress you out, but if you can let go of some things you have convinced yourself you need to get done each day, you’d be amazed at how much more time you have.

How do you make time for creativity in your daily life?

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