Do Parents Have Time to be Creative?
The quick answer to this question is yes, but there is a BUT. Parents can find time to be creative, but maybe not in the ways they did before having children. AND maybe not at all during certain phases of parenting. When you have a baby, aren't sleeping, barely have time to shower or eat, you probably aren't going to be creating a whole lot of art. Don't even get me started on the ways toddlers can curb your enthusiasm for creative endeavors. When they nap you'll likely just want to sit down and catch your breath for a minute. This is perfectly okay. Stop putting pressure on yourself! You will have time in the future to paint your masterpiece, redecorate your living room, or enter your drawing in an art show. You will create again once you are able to carve out a little time and space for yourself.
My art business was humming right along and gaining momentum until my second child was born. She put the breaks on my artistic shenanigans. I didn't have time to make art, let alone market it, ship it, and keep up with social media. I was overwhelmed with parenthood. I put my Etsy shop on a permanent vacation. I completely forgot about my blog, and my social media presence died a slow, agonizing death. It was a difficult decision at the time, but one I am glad I made today. Of course, it wasn't actually a decision. It just sort of happened because I couldn't keep up. If I could go back in time I'd make the decision to stop torturing myself sooner because... To be honest, I spent a lot of time beating myself up over not being able to keep up with everything. I was frustrated and disappointed that I'd lost all of my momentum. Building a following on the internet is no easy task. I dreaded having to start over once again. I felt like a complete failure and a major disappointment.
At some point I realized I needed to embrace my new reality. I now had two amazing kids to spend time with and they were my first priority. As time went on I started to slowly carve out time for myself. I took advantage of small opportunities to be creative. I took more photos of colors and textures to store away as inspiration for future projects. I enrolled in online art classes and watched art tutorials on YouTube. I practiced doing small, quick paintings. I created a space where I could leave all of my materials out so they were ready when I had a few minutes to make something. I even learned to enjoy making art with my kids, spilled paint and all.
As my kids grew and became more independent I was able to do more. I soon realized that many of the opportunities I was afraid I had lost forever were still available to me. There were even more opportunities I hadn't even dreamed were possible just a few years prior. Technology changes so quickly these days and while that can often be challenging, it also opens doors and removes obstacles that were previously limiting our ability to fully blossom.
I wish I could go back in time and tell myself not to worry so much, but I can't. The best I can do is tell you that yes, parents can find time to be creative and even when they can't that's okay too. Don't give up and remember that even the smallest progress is still progress. Stop worrying and be kind to yourself. It's a marathon, not a sprint, so channel some turtle energy and remember that slow and steady gets the job done. Also, stop comparing yourself to others and stop using the word "should" when talking to yourself (just for good measure)!
Check out the video below. In it I'll talk a little bit about being a parent and an artist and give you some tips on how to reclaim some creative time and space for yourself.