I realized that my post last week (HERE) was missing something.
I was enjoying a mani/pedi with a fellow mother last night. It was planned completely spur of the moment, which seemed to work well for us. My friend has double the children and has been doing this motherhood thing for twice as long. She stopped working a couple of years back even though she was excellent at her job. She had several nuggets of wisdom to impart to me. She said that she loved having the opportunity to stay at home with her kids, but that didn’t mean she loved every minute of it. It was beautifully put. I stay at home with my daughter and I love it. Even when I hate it. My last post needed balanced out by this one. Any challenge I face as a creative person that is a result of having a child/family is a blessing. Amen.
Thank you for always asking what’s coming next, what I’m designing, how it’s all going. I had a revelation yesterday! After reading THIS essay and THIS blog post (by my favorite, The Nester). And my revelation was both really exciting and also terrifying. Let me explain.
The essay I read explained that a creative person needs time to work. They’re dissecting huge things in their brain and it takes a lot of time. When interrupted, they can’t just pick up where they left off. And when their work day is chopped up with meetings and appointments, they’re left with chunks of unusable time, because twenty minutes or even two hours isn’t enough time to actually make progress creatively.
Wow. I feel liberated finally understanding why Mrs. Emily is lying, for the most part, dormant. And why I can’t seem to get any momentum going over here. There are a host of reasons but this, this is the root of it all. I have no usable time. My three-year-old daughter is becoming independent, so she plays by herself some and goes potty on her own. I’m beginning to see moments here and there throughout my day that are whitespace. But to me, as a creative, they are too short to be useful. And they are completely unpredictable. She wakes up at a different time each day, her nap is a different length each day, she decides when she wants to play by herself and when she needs my undivided attention.
I’ve been wondering why motherhood has been a three-year transition and why I’m still not used to it and still have to fight hard to like what I’m doing everyday. Well, motherhood is hard, that’s for sure. For a majillion reasons. But for me, it seems, the hardest part is the surrendering of my ability to be creative. I knew I felt like I hadn’t been myself in awhile. Since high school, and my realization that I was a creative person, my life has been the pursuit of that. I went to school for design, I moved to New York to design, And when thinking about having kiddos, I started Mrs. Emily as a way to continue designing.
So now, I’m contemplative. I’m tired, of trying to design and not having the time, and I’m tired of not trying to design and not feeling like myself.
The creativity is leaking out. My apartment has been a great canvas for spurts of pretty-thought. I painted it turquoise, added chalkboards to the kitchen, merchandised and re-merchandised every surface. Olive is also a great canvas. When she’s wearing cowboy boots and a great sundress, that’s not just me dressing up my daughter but me expressing myself as a creative. I’ve also picked up my guitar again recently. And it’s been, as are most things creative, both a source of joy and frustration.
It doesn’t seem to be enough though. My apartment, my daughter’s wardrobe are only so big. They only hold my interest for so long. Before I sink back into a funk, a sort of depression which I can now pinpoint as being clogged up. I’ve got no outlet and no easy way of getting an outlet. And I feel I’m at risk of really not enjoying motherhood if I don’t quickly find a way to be creative on a regular basis.
Is this making sense? What do I do, creatives out there? What do you do? How do you be creative within the confines of not having much time to create and not being able to use the time you do have because it comes in small snippets that only frustrate a mind that takes time to come up with a good thought.
Can y’all email me? firstname.lastname@example.org. I’d love your thoughts.
I made this skirt, to go with a shirt I bought last week. Note Olive in the foreground.
I replaced the yellow plastic cups I’ve used every day for five years with pretty Anthropology glasses. Now, every time I take a drink of water, it’s a little celebration-of-pretty.
I found this tablecloth and instantly lightened and brightened our apartment. I pull it off for meals and slap it back on after, adding instant-whimsy to our space.
Rainy days in NYC are heaven, from my perspective, from my roost on the 9th floor of my building. When the rain starts, silence falls. There are no crying children, barking dogs, yelling teens. No one is strolling and chatting, everyone is under their umbrellas, on a mission. I don’t realize how loud it is until a rainy day silences the city.
I finally nailed the merchandising of tchotchkies on the bedside table. Love every detail, and mostly the lion chapstick holder.
I borrowed a can of chalkboard paint and went to town on our kitchen walls. This lady-head is Olive-height. She can draw while I’m cooking.
Olive (2 1/2) regularly announces “it’s snowing!” And then proceeds to make pretend snowballs and throw them at me. I’ve been ambushed several times in the past few days by Jarrett (Daddy) and Olive, who come running into the room yelling “snowball fight!” and pummel me with pretend balls. I don’t know how it started, but it’s hilarious.