by Susan Maccarelli
This is not a post bashing moms who embrace Pinterest. In fact, I love those moms. I have a feeling that if Pinterest had been available in the 1980’s my own mom would have been all over it. I, on the other hand, start hyperventilating at the thought of trying to recreate the amazing things I see online with no hope of ever achieving the awesomeness in the photo I am working from. This does not mean that I don’t enjoy getting creative from time to time though.
When I first had kids, I was pretty sure I was destined to be a diaper changing, sleep-deprived robot for the foreseeable future, and any creative endeavors were put on hold. Now that my kids are three and four, I’ve found that there are lots of ways I can be creative in my every day mom activities.
I am extremely type A, so nothing makes me happier than having a good organizing task. Whether I’m mapping out an itinerary for vacation, reorganizing the kid’s playroom, or setting up a new pantry organization system (nerd alert!), organizing is definitely a creative outlet for me.
2. Meal Planning
While I sometimes dread sitting down to plan out the weekly meals, I enjoy it more when I try to come up with some ideas outside of my boring tried and true go-to’s. I don’t go crazy, but finding 1 or 2 new recipes to try with whatever meat I happen to have in my freezer each week makes the process more enjoyable, and also gives me something to look forward to eating!
Cooking can be another creative outlet. While sometimes I want to heat up some hot dogs and call it a day, other times, it can be fun to experiment with a recipe I’ve tried before by using different seasonings, leaving out an ingredient, or incorporating new ingredients I have on hand. If I find something that works well, I write it into the recipe for next time, because I find that otherwise I’ll never be able to recreate it.
While this is not part of every mom’s routine, writing is a fun creative outlet for me. If you are not a blogger, try writing letters, poetry, or even stories to read to your kids. You never know if you are harboring the next Dr. Seuss in there!
I am NOT a home décor expert by any means, but I am usually the one adding any decorative touches to the house, so I may as well try to make it fun. I get inspiration from photos and try to mix ideas that go well together. Sites like Houzz.com will let you make an idea book from photos on their site as well as other photos you’d like to import, and I like to think that I am unleashing a little Nate Berkus on my house from time to time when I find something that I was inspired to buy from my online décor studies.
If you can find time to do grown up art, more power to you, but I find that I get a little creative rush even doing kids art. My daughter is 4 and art-obsessed, so we are always doing coloring books, mosaics, painting etc.. I help her of course, but I also get my own creation going. Once in a while she’ll say ‘yours is better than mine’. I’m not a ‘let your kids win kind of mom, so my answer is “It better be, I’m 39”. We go to a local gingerbread workshop every year at Christmas, and I may be the only mom who gets her own gingerbread house to work on, but I have design standards that must be met, and I don’t share well with others.
7. Dressing My Kids
I’m also not a fashionista by any means, but I do like to get creative with dressing my kids and putting cute outfits together. I find it much more fun to dress a tiny butt that is incapable of looking big, than to style myself.
8. Dance Parties
Another way to get creative is to play deejay. My kids are three and four and love to dance, so I’ll spin my tunes on Spotify and they are too little to make many requests outside of what I choose and “mambo Italiano”. When they ask for something like the Chicka Chicka Boom Boom song during the dance party, I find that saying ‘That’s not available’ usually stops that train in its tracks pretty quickly.
I can’t talk to you about lenses and f-stops, but I can come up with some pretty awesome point and shoot photos now and then. I have tried lots of settings and angles and photo compositions to get some great (and some not so great) photos of my kids. This is often a way to make a trip outside to play or a run to the playground a bit more fun for me. I also like to find creative compositions to photograph for my blog post images.
While mom doesn’t always have time to take an art class or write her autobiography, these are a few ways I try to keep my creative juices flowing just a little so they are not all dried up when my kids are a bit older and I have more time to indulge my creative side with bigger projects.
Susan Maccarelli writes humor on her blog, Pecked To Death By Chickens, though occasionally she’ll reveal her soft underbelly (both in her writing, and by accident when bending over to pick up a stray french fry her kids tracked in). Susan also helps other bloggers get featured on the websites they aspire to, via her blog resource site BeyondYourBlog.com. Features on sites like BlogHer, Mamapedia, Mamalode, Bonbon Break, and HuffPost help feed her attention attention seeking behavior (ASB).