I’m a mom with two young kids (1.5y and 3.5y) living in a small apartment in downtown Geneva, Switzerland. Ever since I reclaimed my love for writing about two years ago and painting a few months ago, they have been the main outlets of my creative energy. My consistent creative practices have brought me great peace and purpose. I feel refreshed, recharged and empowered through my work.
However, as you can possibly relate, the consistency of doing creative work doesn’t happen by chance, especially if you have little ones at home. While early motherhood is challenging and exhausting most days, you can still find time to feed your creative soul and do good work.
Before you second guess if your soul is creative, let me remind you that we are all creative beings because we were made in the image of the Creator God.
Seth Godin wrote this in his book The Practice: “You’re an artist as soon as you announce you are. As a leader, a coach, a contributor, a designer, a musician, an impresario… it’s art if you let it be. If you care enough.”
Therefore, my friend, no matter what your creative outlets are, whether it’s cooking, home decoration, knitting, drawing, or writing, if you care it enough, it’s your art.
If you need some help identifying your unique creative expressions, you can download this free booklet I put together for you to do just that.
And if you are struggling to find the time to do your work as a mom, keep reading! I have some fantastic tips for you.
1.Talk to your family members
Whatever you feel burning to do, make sure to communicate it with your spouse and children. It’s your job to explain what you want to do and why it is essential to you. You want to get them on board to love and support you on it.
I have invested money in courses and memberships for my work and growth, and my job is not profitable at the moment. Still, because I have communicated my WHY with my husband, he is very supportive, for he knew what I do is aligned with who I am. Because his working time is flexible for the moment, we would take turns to be with the kids, which works well for us.
Your family situation may differ from mine, but good, thorough communication is always worth the time and effort. As you and your family come to the same page, I believe you will develop a creative solution for your needs and desires.
2. Set attainable goals
Goal-setting may sound daunting for some, but it doesn’t have to be. Consider it a tool that gives us direction in our creative work.
You don’t have to set big, ambitious goals like those full-on business people. Maybe you will get there one day. But today, you can decide on some small attainable goals suitable for your season of motherhood.
My current work goals include writing a blog post and painting 3-4 paintings every week. These goals provide me with a framework for my work and growth. They are gentle and attainable yet ensures a path of improvement and a solid foundation of my becoming.
3. Make a weekly plan and monthly review
What gets scheduled gets done. I have found that weekly planning is hugely beneficial to have a purposeful and fulfilling week.
On the weekend, I would map out the schedules for the next week. I block my work time and plan them. If you’d like to know how to plan your work time, leave me a message, and I will send you something helpful your way.
Currently, I work in the mornings from 9 to 12. After a simple lunch, I will keep working during the kids’ nap until 3 pm. That sums up 4.5 to 5 hours of work a day. Then, I wrap up my work for the day and shift to focus on the kids and housework.
If I feel super inspired and my kids are having great fun playing by themselves, I will snap some work here and there, but I consider them bonuses. My scheduled work time is what I count on. And I’d call it a productive day if my work time was well spent.
By the end of each month, I would have a monthly review of my work and life. I would process through some simple questions: Where have I made progress? What didn’t work? What gave me energy, and what drained me? What are the things that I am thankful for?
Answering these questions help me to refresh my goals for the next month.
4. Have a morning routine and evening routine
I have a loose morning routine: I get up, do a short workout, grab my breakfast and coffee, read my bible and pray. Some mornings I will journal for a few minutes. My husband would eat breakfast with the kids and send our son to preschool every morning, for which I’m very thankful.
My Bible reading and prayer time is essential to me because it connects me with my BIG WHY. You see, I desire to become a great writer and painter, but my deeper desire is to be an excellent steward of the gifts God gave me, to develop and use them well for the benefit of others and His glory. And my time with God keeps me on the path I want to go.
Having a morning routine helps boost my energy, clear my mind and start the day on a positive note. You may not believe in God, but I would suggest you find a way to connect with your Source and your BIG WHY because that is the powerhouse of your creativity.
My evening routine is straightforward: reading and getting ready for bed. I try not to do any work in the evenings. I always keep a stack of books to read, and evenings are my primary reading time.
Reading is a form of learning and recharging and also happens to be something I very much enjoy. Depending on the days (e.g., Thursday evening is prayer with husband, Friday is movie night), I would read from 10 minutes to an hour.
5. Be flexible with your workspace
It would be nice to have a home office, isn’t it? However, it’s not possible for every mom.
I don’t have a home office. As I said, we live in a small apartment. I keep some of my books and a box of art supplies on the chest of drawers, and my multi-functional dresser is my working desk. That is enough for me in this season, and I’m thankful.
You don’t have to have a fancy workspace to do your work. If you have a vision and are passionate about your work, which I believe you are, you can work just about anywhere.
I’ve worked in the living room when the kids were playing around me. I’ve also worked in our antechamber where there is another desk. In fact, I’m typing down these words now with my 1.5 years old daughter on my lap in the antechamber.
My friend, if you do have a home office, more power to you. But if you have to work at the dining table or even in the bathroom, don’t let it hinder you from doing the work you were born to do.
6. Be ok when your day isn’t working according to your plan
Life is messy, especially with young kids. Some days, they get grumpy or sick and would need more of your attention than other days. The plans and routines don’t always work. And that is ok.
You might think, what’s the point of having a schedule if it doesn’t always work? I used to think that way too. However, I’ve learned that my weekly plan and routines are where I can always go back to after getting off the wagon for a few days for reasons like travels, holidays or sick days.
Give yourself a lot of grace on those hard days. It’s ok to put your creative work on hold and prioritised your sleep if you stayed up during the night to care for your sick baby. You can get back to your game when you feel more yourself.
Embrace your season, my friend, and do what you can to the best of your ability for your creative work—the work you feel most aligned with who you are, and be gentle with yourself. Growth is quiet and slow. However, trust the process because, day after day, you will surely make beautiful progress.
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Until next week! 🙂