Having a baby is obviously a huge life adjustment, and I’ve seen how it’s definitely taken it’s time to feel like our new ‘normal’. We’re 9 weeks in to this thing now, and I feel like I’m only just *maybe*, sort of finding my feet. Of course he’ll have a growth spurt, his routine and needs will change, and I’ll find myself feeling lost again soon, I’m sure.
The biggest change for me personally, and probably the part I’ve found hardest; is having no time to be creative. In those first few weeks it was literally impossible, and even now it’s a struggle. It IS doable though, and I’m currently mastering the art of making the most of any spare minute I have.
So I thought today I’d share some little tips for keeping your creative side happy, after having a baby.
1. Plan ahead
You’ll find that you become a bit of an organisational wizard after having a baby anyway; with having to plan feeds, naps, knowing when they’re likely to kick off… and whether risking popping to the shops for some chocolate is worth it when it takes about 3 years to leave the house. But planning ahead is key to getting some creative juices flowing too. Having a baby means using every minute you have spare very wisely, so I’ve found planning ahead helps me so much. For example, I knew I wanted to spend today writing; so last night I made sure my laptop, notebook, snacks, and anything else I might need were on my desk ready for today. I also made sure to keep things for the baby close by; his moses basket if he’s sleeping, so he can be right next to me as I work. His bouncer if he’s awake and alert, but I need my hands free. Plenty of muslin cloths, a dummy, etc. So today once he had been fed, changed, and we’d had a good natter and play; I sat down here and was able to grab a moment to write (he’s asleep in the moses basket next to me). Planning ahead makes creative things possible, even if it’s much harder than before!
2. Work in small bursts
Long gone are the days where I could spend a good few hours painting away at night, or mindlessly journalling as the mood takes me (unless someone is very kindly minding the baby for me of course!). I desperately miss this, but I’ve become a bit of an expert at working in small bursts. Any ideas I have for a project; I’ll write it down and break it up into steps so that I can work on it bit by bit as I get a chance. If I have a painting I want to complete, I’ll do small chunks at a time, and have everything planned for the next chunk of time I’m available.
3. Prioritise creativity
I’ve learned it basically comes down to this; if you want to be creative still, you have to make it a priority. It’s so easy and tempting to just use that hour your baby is napping, to watch something on Netflix, or even sleep yourself (I wouldn’t blame you at all!!). That’s why I didn’t do ANYTHING creative for the first 5 weeks, it just weren’t realistic for me at that time. River’s feeds were too close together in time, he was up so often in the night, and I was exhausted looking after himself on barely any sleep while Gary was in work. So there was no way I could (or would) have used those afternoons painting. I had to look after myself. However, now that we have more of a routine going, and I feel a little less like a walking zombie; I’ve learned to prioritise my creativity again. I now know if I want to complete a painting, I have to use that golden hour or two to work on it, rather than lie on the couch bingeing Netflix. I give up naps, extra hours in bed, getting chores around the house done (I’m okay with the dishes piling up a bit if I can be creative) and time I could spend reading in my pyjamas. I mean, to be clear here, I’m not a robot – I do all of these things still, all the time! I’m just saying I also know my limit now, and I make sure I’m spending at least 3 or 4 hours each week working on projects too.
4. Keep a journal
This one is super simple – write everything down!! Your new mum brain is likely frazzled, exhausted, and mostly taken up with baby development info, or trying to remember if you’ve put 4 scoops of formula in his milk or 5 (yes I’ve got myself confused half way through this many a time from exhaustion, and had to re-start!). I’ve had conversations with Gary that I’ve immediately forgotten about, and I’ve changed and fed River on autopilot at 3am, not even remembering doing it when I wake again at 5am. It’s hard, your poor brain is doing it’s best. Now you expect it to remember that cool idea you had for a piece of Artwork or a project you’d like to start up? Haha, NO. Write absolutely everything down.
5. Accept change
Bit of a vague one, but the best tip I can give. You have to accept things are different now, and there’s only so much you can do. You don’t have to lose your creative side at all, you just have to know the way you work will probably change drastically! It’s okay to take 5 times longer to complete something, it’s okay to ask for help (do it!!! Absolutely do it!!), it’s okay to doubt yourself as you find your feet, and it’s totally okay to miss the old you who could have endless hours to herself. You’ll be fine, and you’ll find your new normal before you know it.
I hope this helps any other creative mammas out there! Let me know if you have any organisational/creative tips too! 🙂
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