I struggle with balancing the creative lifestyle and being a parent. It’s a challenge that one simply can’t plan for. Or can you? Think about the challenges of parenting.
You go from diapers and 2 am wake up screams to kindergarten and soccer practice before you realize it. When are you supposed to create? When do you have the time to do thing you love to do?
The bad news is I don’t have the perfect answer. I can’t tell you when you’re supposed to pursue your creative passion. What I can tell you is you have the ability to organize, schedule and combine your creative self with being a parent. You are the parent creative.
The Freedom To Do
If you didn’t know, I’m a huge fan of doing. I believe, and you should to, being creative requires doing. Drawing, singing, writing, taking pictures, whatever is you need to do to create, you must do.
No one will do for you.
Let me back up for a moment, the creative lifestyle is one of purpose. There needs to be value, worth in what you’re doing. If it’s not worth your time or if it doesn’t add value to your life, question it. Think about the one commodity we all share, but is finite…time. The creative has a limited amount of time. The parent creative has even less.
We as creative parents have the freedom to choose what we spend our precious few free minutes doing. Right now, I’m writing this post. I’m choosing to do this because I believe it adds value. My son is reading a book next to me. Few, but worthwhile moments.
Stress When Creating
Stress from creating or creating stress? I’ll let you decide. For me, the stress I get from creating is from not creating. It’s when everything in life, including parenting, prevents me from making.
I’ve heard many people say you’re not truly passionate about the creating if you don’t commit. Well, I disagree. Life happens. Families are the most important “thing.” So as a parent practicing a creative craft, I, we, have to choose. There’s a trade-off. But that trade-off should be, needs to be small.
We make time for so many other things that add no value to our purpose driven life. Think about this for a moment. Sit back and think about what you do on a typical day.
Facebook scrolling? Instagram liking? How many useless YouTube videos did you consume in the past 24 hours? Yet, we struggle to make time for our creativity and our parenting. So when we don’t create, we don’t follow that passion that’s burning in our hearts. We get stressed.
Now stress isn’t always negative. At least as long as you don’t take a negative view of stress. So in fact, you and me can use our short-term stress to our creative advantage. Maybe some mindfulness too? There are ways to turn stress into something positive.
I will never advocate for taking time away from your children. That time is the most important and the most purposeful way to spend that finite commodity. However, I ask you to consider what is the rest of your time spent on? Then ask yourself can I fit my creativity in that time?
I’ve learned over time to step back and think about what I’m about to do. Now I consider myself to be an artist. An illustrator of fine mandalas and floral drawings. But I also love using my camera (how do you think I get most of my flower reference photos?) I also write this blog. Writing is, always has been a side hustle to my side hustle.
But it adds value.
Most importantly my son sees me doing these things. He knows I enjoy doing these things. In fact, he is sitting next to me reading what I’m writing. So there’s the collision of parenting and creativity. It can be done. I have to make the time. You have to make the time.
Stepping away from the moment is the key. Before you pick up your phone to see how others are living their lives, think about how you’re living yours. How are you fulfilling your creative passion? How are you practicing your craft?
Then think about how you, the parent creative are teaching your children. What model are you giving them to follow. Take that time to reflect on what your actions are about. Is what you are about to do worth your time?
Scheduling Your Time
I’ve written about this before, but I can’t emphasize enough the importance of making time for your craft. Instead of wasting a few minutes here and few minutes there, create. Now, when you’re a parent, those rare moments of nothing are more valuable than we can imagine. So set a schedule. It’s that easy. Get your planner, your calendar, whatever you use, and make the time.
Then involve your kids. One of my favorite activities is to draw with my son. I’ll draw my thing, he draws his. But we draw together. It’s a blast and a true memory-maker. It’s parenting well spent.
I also suggest batching your work. Take similar tasks and do them all at once. This works for me with drawing because I can work on a mandala piece but also sketch out my ideas on test paper. Another similar task is research. I look at mandala art! But I get this all done at the same time. Another batching situation is maintaining the social media. Schedule tweets and posts to Instagram during the same block of time.
After you’ve thought about the minutes (hours) spent on Facebook and YouTube, think about when you can make the time to create. The morning? The evening? Lunch at your day job? Whatever works for you.
But MAKE THE TIME!
You really have no excuse to not make the time. If this is your passion, what you truly want to do, you do it. No matter the challenge, no matter the effort required, you have to do this.
Craft takes time. Creativity takes time. It’s not instant. It’s time-consuming. You’re playing the long game. In the end, where do you want to be?
Parenting And Creativity Make A Great Combo
I’ve done it. Many have done it. Many do it. Mixing your parenting with your creativity is much easier than we realize. The key, as I said before is to plan. You have to plan.
The idea creatives are always spontaneous and don’t conform to, well, anything is hogwash. Creatives are in business. We’re entrepreneurs. In any business, if you don’t plan, you fail. Parenting, while full of spontaneous moments, requires planning for so many things. So why not plan for both? Incorporate your creative lifestyle into your parenting.
What’s more fun than a creative parent? Think about how much your kids love when you bust our some paints and brushes. Or the last time you turned a piece of paper into a funky-looking table sculpture.
Parenting and creativity make a great combo that leads to a more successful path in life. But here’s the thing, it’s a journey. You can’t rush raising your kids and similarly, you can’t rush your creativity.
The Parent Creative Gets After It
What’s it? It is everything. Life. Parenthood, creating. The path of the parent creative is a winding, mountainous jungle with super humid valleys and hurricane-force storms. But it’s a life. A life lived with purpose and value. What better lessons to teach your children? As my son reads this over my shoulder…still….I can’t help but think what will he learn from this.
What will I learn from this.
When your children want to create with you, take advantage. During the week, schedule your creative time. On the weekends, get making. You have to. There’s more time in 24 hours to do the things worth doing than you realize.
Most importantly, you have to decide what you will trade-off. Will you trade time with your children for your creativity or time on social media? Your kids won’t always want to create with you. That’s alright because you’ve scheduled your creative time so you don’t take away from them.
It’s an easy concept to grasp. However, it’s very hard to do. But you, me, we can do it. It’s a choice.
I asked you how much time you spend on useless things? Did you come up with a number? Write it down. Look at it. Internalize that number. Think about that number and how much time you took away from your craft. Think about the time you took away from your parenting. Now think about that feeling you have right now.
What’s your next move? Are you going to scroll through an endless feed? What can you do to make your craft and your parenting better? How are you going to get after both. I’m convinced if we practice the craft we truly love, we better ourselves. In turn, that self-improvement makes us better humans which in turn makes us better parents.
I believe this. I try to live this. What about you?
Now Go. Do. Create. –Vincent
P.S. Thank you for reading. If you enjoyed this or know someone who would, please share. Sign-up for my email list to stay in touch. If you’re in the proverbial market for some creative inspiration, you can check out some original artwork here.