When I was in design school, I had a 20 minute walk from my apartment on the Lower East Side to class. In that time, I would walk the streets, soaking in the sights with thoughts swirling around in my head. Those walks, coupled with the challenges of design school, made that time in my life the most inspired and creative to date. Ideas came fast and furious and expressing them was easy. Now…well let’s just say, it took me over a half and hour to come up with that first sentence. Photo on top: Me, traveling…pre-kid
These days, I am a mom, and those luxurious, contemplative walks to class have been replaced with chasing my son down the street en-route to the playground. My thoughts are on keeping him from darting out into oncoming traffic, and not the sights and sounds around us (unless it’s a horn or an oncoming vehicle!) While my creativity serves me in different ways (i.e. coming up with ways to hide vegetables in cheese and carbs), those wonderful moments of old when the spark of creative genius strikes have been few and far between.
One day, in a fleeting moment of downtime, I came across this quote by Steve Jobs. “Creativity is just connecting things. When you ask creative people how they did something, they feel a little guilty because they didn’t really do it, they just saw something. It seemed obvious to them after a while.”
And suddenly, it was obvious to me. I realized that the key ingredient missing to fuel my creativity was the time to make those connections. But since everyone already knows that lack of time is the #1 reason moms not doing everything they want to do, I realized that it something more than just having the time. It was time alone with a clear head.
These days, I almost never have time to myself to just let my mind wander, and when I do, it’s making lists of to-do’s, fretting about work, or worrying over another child-related issue. And when there’s work, kids, and a partner in the picture, the time to just think and dream up ideas, just for myself, are very rare. And when there are a few moments, it’s so much easier to do something mindless like scroll through photos of old friends on Facebook.
While there are a thousand and one articles on why keeping up with exercise is important for the time-deficient mom, it’s not as often that we see a article on the importance of feeding her creative inspiration. But it’s just as important–creativity has been found to reduces stress, allows us to express ourselves, builds self awareness and confidence, and sharpens our problem solving skills. All necessary for the busy mom.
Since starting Mommikin, I have made an effort to take better advantage of the rare moments alone, like turning off Candy Crush while on the subway and the music while exercising, to let my mind wander with the hopes for those elusive connections to form. It’s been coming back, albeit slowly. Although It’s so much easier to just sit back and enjoy others’ work (though there is a time and a place for vegging out to Mad Men!) when we create our own, the results are so much more rewarding!