Thursday, November 14, 2013

Guest Post: Staying Creative as a Working Mom

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It has been a crazy week! I went back to work and am now balancing my new-found love of blogging with working as a full-time, middle school art teacher, while trying to maintain my sanity at home with the hubster and my girls. Luckily, I have some really great blogging friends who have volunteered to do some guest spots while I figure out how to balance it all. So without further ado, please read on and get to know my friend Beth as she write about something extremely close to my heart, finding time to stay creative as a working mom! 

Staying Creative in the 
Midst of Working Mommyhood 

 I used to think of myself as fairly creative. Not in the artistic way, but in the crafty way. My scrapbooks were great. I had cute baskets and bins for organizing everything. I had great ideas. Then I had kids. For a while, I completely lost my creative flow. I felt like simply getting through a day filled with kids and work and cooking and cleaning took all of the energy I had in me. And I felt like an outlet I needed was slowly disappearing. The last couple years, I’ve begun to get my creative mojo back. While it is different than it was before, so is my life, so it just seems fitting. I do less scrapbooking, far less organizing, but a lot more writing and creating images to go with my words. My life is just as busy as it was before, probably even more so, but I have found a few strategies that help me stay creative in the middle of my mommy life.
  • I take advantage of small moments. I used to feel like I had to wait until I had a block of an hour or two to work on my writing or my blog. And then that chunk of time never happened. Now I look for the small moments where I can fit little tasks in. While I’m waiting in the pick-up line, I might create an image using a photography app on my phone. I also use the notes app on my phone to type in ideas for posts before I lose them. And I always have a notebook and pencil with me to work on outlining a post if I find a few unexpected minutes here or there.
  • I mix it up. I often move to somewhere different in my house to write, just to mix things up. I might sit at the island in the kitchen, or move to the rocking chair in the living room instead of the couch. I handwrite an outline for most of my posts because moving away from the computer helps me to switch gears and focus on writing, rather than the million other things in my browser tabs.
  • I use the challenges as inspiration. I’ve gotten good at writing about routines because I had to create some around my house before I lost my mind. The morning and afterschool time were driving me insane. Instead of wallowing in it, I used it as a challenge to my creativity. Likewise, I created my own planner because I needed to keep my personal life, family life, work life, and blogging life organized. I couldn’t find something that worked for everything, so I took it as a challenge and I created my own.
  • I stopped expecting all the pieces to be even. Some nights I spend most of my time in front of a screen or with a notebook and pencil in my hands. Other nights, I don’t touch either because I’m at a football practice or a school family night. Some days I miss school events and blogging opportunities because I have something scheduled at work. Rarely are the work-family-creative pie pieces equal. But realizing that they rarely will be, has helped me let go of the urge to try to make them equal and has allowed me to be more creative.
These are strategies that have helped me find my creative streak in the middle of mothering and working. I don’t think I have it all figured out. I still have days or a week where I feel down because I didn’t get to writing the piece I wanted to, or missed a chance to play a game with my kids because I was in front of the computer. But I’ve realized I have kids who are happy and love to spend time with me, I’m proud of the writing and blogging I do, and maybe best of all, my kids are proud of their mom’s creativity. So even if I’m not playing that game with them, they’re still learning a lot.  

Thanks so much, Beth! Make sure to swing by her blog at Structure in an Unstructured Life or say hello to her on Twitter and Pinterest and get to know this amazing mama with lots of great tips on finding balance in motherhood.

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