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Are you a creative mom? Every creative endeavor I’ve pursued began as a passing thought that I happened to take seriously for half a second.
That’s all it takes. A half-second pause to ponder the possibilities allows just enough time for the tiny seed of an idea to sprout. Taking a quick moment to capture that idea in some physical way transforms that passing thought into a tangible building-block of creative work, turning the fleeting nature of an idea into something of consequence.
Of course, all of this grows exponentially more difficult when your hands are plunged into soapy dish-water as rascally toddlers unravel your kitchen drawers and cupboards.
Notice I said, “more difficult” but not “impossible”.
Find time for your passion as a creative mom
Dear creative mom, you are not disqualified from having brilliant ideas.
You are capable of finding creative solutions for how to give those ideas more than a passing thought—even if you’re in the demanding years of raising little ones. As a creative mama of six kids, I know well the many challenges that stand between me and my creativity. They are often things out of my control: family needs, chronic exhaustion, and the overwhelm of noise and activity that comes with family life.
However, additional thoughts are in my control, like purposefully interrupting my self-doubt, clarifying my artistic perspective, and employing organization to make space for my creative life.
Here are four accessible, actionable concepts that have become catalysts in my creative process even in these busy mothering years.
1.) Simplicity for the creative mom
For the past 10 years, I’ve pursued understanding and implementing simplicity in various parts of my life.
Creating home systems, minimizing the clutter around my house, reducing the commitments that land on my calendar, and cutting ties with toxic people in my life have all contributed to my ability to spend a few hours a week plunged into fulfilling creative work.
Take a look at what you could simplify to reduce the emotional and mental loads you carry so that you have the mental space to engage your best ideas.
2.) Encouragement for the creative mom
Surrounding myself with encouraging people has helped me to incubate the best of my passing thoughts. It can be vulnerable to share ideas with others, especially when they’re underdeveloped. However, involving trusted friends in a project’s early stages has also breathed life into something I might otherwise abandon when I feel discouraged as a creative mom.
Consequently I have made a habit of communicating my progress with close friends on a given project. I request prayer, sometimes openly asking for encouragement if I know it’s what I need.
Think about a few trustworthy friends who might be willing to cheer you through your challenges. Ask them to check in on a weekly or monthly basis with a dose of encouragement!
3.) Vision/Plan for the creative mom
Taking small steps forward requires looking at where you hope to be with your project(s) in a month, in six months, or a year. Then, working backwards, it is possible to tease out the very-small, incremental steps to get from idea stage to finished work.
As a creative mom of young kids, knowing I have limited time to engage my vision, I’ve learned to make better use of my minuscule pockets of time. Don’t despise the small steps forward. If you’ve taken them purposefully, each one helps you get closer to your goal!
Put your ideas on paper, sketch out actionable steps to take in the next week and month. Then set a calendar reminder to revisit your plan every month to refresh your vision, making adjustments in order to turn your idea into a reality!
4.) Open Hands from the creative mom
I often see creative mom friends struggle with a sense of shame that they are not yet successful, even if they’ve put years of time into pursuing a particular goal.
It’s all too easy to compare our own challenges and frustrations to the highlights we see in other’s lives on social media. However, if I’ve learned one thing about cultivating a creative life as a mom, it’s that the (arbitrary) timeline I apply to my vision is the biggest contributor to my discouragement.
It is true, some people experience what looks like “overnight” success, but we do not see everything that preceded that success, and creative projects cannot always be completed on a particular timeline.
One last thought for the creative mom
Spend a moment literally opening your hands toward the ceiling, taking a deep breath, and saying a prayer. Remind yourself that the process (and the time it takes) is as important as the product at the end.
Remaining open-handed about your creative work will make it possible to divert the energy you’re likely to spend on angst and frustration toward the very project that makes your heart skip a beat.
If you have some passing thoughts that you’ve let live up in your mind for too long, maybe today is the day you pause what you’re doing, wipe your soapy hands off, and punch a few ideas into the notes app on your phone, or jot down your thoughts into a nearby notebook. Even if you’re unable to bring the full vision together in the next month, that doesn’t mean that you’re not gathering seeds that will sprout up and come together at just the right time.
Emily Sue Allen is the founder of the Kindred Mom blog and host of the Kindred Mom podcast. Soul care for moms and helping women find joy in the midst of their motherhood journey are among her greatest passions.
She is a contemplative, creative soul who celebrates the beauty of a humble, handmade life and deeply values the power of encouragement. She lives with her husband and six kids in the Pacific Northwest, and personally blogs at emilysueallen.com. Find Kindred Mom on Instagram and Facebook, and follow Emily personally on Instagram.
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