When you’re a mum and you’re dealing with children (especially little ones), it can be really easy to lose sight of your creative self. Whether that’s because you just don’t have time, or because you are no longer working in the field you used to, where you got your creative outlet – there are often tiny ways we can begin to bring those things back in, those little things which help us feel more like ourselves.
It’s so important to practice self- care and creativity, and yet with the overwhelming nature of parenting, starting a massive project when we barely have the time to pee alone is not going to make the difference.
So what small ways so small things can you do, to help remind you of your creative, playful self?
Here are three of mine.
1. Going for a walk
I really enjoy getting out of the house, having the space to take a quiet walk and leave my phone behind. Or at least, not listening to something, but going unplugged, in the fresh air, seeing the trees, smelling smells and just taking some time to move on my own. It’s hard finding space for yourself when you have young children, but this really makes me happy.
Even when I’m processing something deeper, and I come back even more angry or upset than when I left, it’s because I have actually allowed myself to connect to my heart, something which needed my attention, so rather than ignoring it, I am more likely to begin to find freedom, rather than remaining stuck. Whilst I don’t enjoy emotional pain (who does?), I do know enough to sit with it in order to come out the other side, and when I do, there at so many more ideas, and I am always less creatively stuck.
Again, it’s movement based. I am a very physical person, and when I don’t do enough creative movement, I become more depressed and start to lose sight of myself.
It’s something that I have noticed more and more over the years, and especially throughout the Covid pandemic lockdown, I’ve not been able to do much of any.
In fact since becoming pregnant with my most recent child, I gave up dancing and Pilates during that season, because having suffered with a previous miscarriage, I just didn’t want to do anything that would put my body in a position where I might lose this child.
However our was a bit of a blow, that as soon as I was beginning to be ready to start classes again, we went into lockdown and so I couldn’t. But I absolutely love to dance. There’s something about that kind of creative, physical movement, which offers both of challenge to my brain as well as my body, and it’s fun.
I’ve tried running. I can run for a bus, I can run and vault a fence at speed, to chase a child escaping the park without me, and I can run about in a game of netball of football (should I play that) which is very rare these days, but I don’t enjoy running.
I have missed contemporary dance classes, as they are one of the things that really feed and inspire me. I love the eloquence of using my body to express emotion and story, and finding non-verbal ways of connecting to my inner self, as well as with an audience.
I think finding the movement and the exercise that you really enjoy, is key to keeping at it. So whilst I still can’t do a live class yet, and I’m not really that motivated to do classes on my own, because I miss the people, but in the meantime, I can dance around the living room with my children. It is a tiny thing, but it definitely helps.
3. Painting my nails
I haven’t actually painted my nails in ages. There is a slightly practical element to this, in that small children, newborn babies and lots and lots and lots of nappies to change, means that painting my nails can take too long to dry, and honestly as soon as I’m sure they are, I invariably get that horrible crinkle, where you realise that you’re polish wasn’t totally dry, and I now have that smudgy look on my nails, which has put me off lately.
But I really like having painted nails. There’s something that’s so much fun, about having nails that are brightly coloured and vibrant, like there’s a little part of my creative playfulness popping with colour that I don’t have to think about.
They don’t usually last more than a couple of days before they chip, but I don’t care, I wear my colourful, chipped nails with joy.
What are some things that you love to do that remind you of your creativity, and make you feel like you?
They can be really small. And they may be things you still can’t do in the way you used to yet, but hopefully will very soon. But what are some small ways you can slide them into your week?
Meanwhile, I’m going to head out and treat myself to a bright, new nail colour. You go have fun too!