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Posts tagged ‘passion’

How to Start Creating Again After Kids

Emily_Bennett

Emily Bennett

By Emily Bennett

It was about two weeks after my son was born when I said to my husband, or maybe I wailed, “I am going to have to do something because this is SO HARD!”

Two weeks into motherhood and I was a poop-covered, milk-soaked, tear-stained, sleep-deprived mess. And I was losing it.

Before Babies

I always knew I wanted to be a mom someday. I always loved kids. They are pretty much the best humans, as far as I can tell.

I was always an artist as well. At the age of 5, I made the world’s smallest quilt — 3” by 3” in size. As a tween, I painted an ocean mural on my bedroom walls, including a cartoon octopus using each arm for a different beauty tool: comb, brush, lipstick, hair dryer. Just because. You know? In college, I studied art and made these drippy paintings of clothing on lines and hangers. Creativity always came easily.

But then I graduated from college. No more deadlines, no more critique groups, no more assignments to keep me working. That childhood spontaneity to just create was somehow gone. Huddled alone in my freezing garage studio rigged up with clamp lights and space heaters, I couldn’t help but wonder what on Earth I was doing.

Also, life demanded practicality. I needed health insurance. I needed a savings account. I needed to have a “real” job. So, I got busy being practical; I became a teacher. That channeled my love of young children, so it was good. And I had a steady paycheck, and I met my husband and got married and bought a house and had stability and all the things.

And I stopped making art. I gave up my studio. I might have even have told people that I was done with all of that.

Time Plus Suffering

Then I gave birth. I quit my job to be with my son, and faster than you can say, “post-partum depression,” I was in the middle of the darkest time in my life. My son didn’t sleep, or, if he slept, I couldn’t sleep. He had reflux. He wouldn’t nurse. He wasn’t gaining weight. We didn’t know what was wrong. My son and I spent days just bouncing on the yoga ball waiting for my husband to come home. It was mind-numbingly, bone-crushingly hard.

P1020607Don’t get me wrong, I wanted to be with my son. I feel immensely privileged to get to spend time with my children. What emerged in that period was not just an over-abundance of time, but also the deep personal necessity to DO SOMETHING.

An Idea

As the darkness lifted, I started to look around. I was bugged by how baby clothing is so stuck on gender stereotypes. I didn’t want to put my son in the “Mr. Tough Guy” onesie. Sitting around at a moms’ group with my friends, I said, “I want to put a dump truck on a pink onesie. What do you think?” And they said, “YOU SHOULD DO IT!”

That rallying cry fueled my desire to create. I began to draw again — teaching myself how to use drawing software, learning how to screen print from YouTube tutorials. I started to put my hands on fabric and ink and make something new. And it was awesome. It was a deep and rushing joy that I had forgotten existed.

More Than Just Time

Now that I have two children and a growing business, there’s hardly a moment to spare. I look back on my practical, pre-kid life and think, “I had so much time! Why didn’t I spend it creating!!??”

Before children, I had vague ideas of art I wanted to make but nothing I truly felt passionate about. With the dump truck project, I had an idea that brought together my love of children, textiles, and graphic design.

There was one more thing missing, though.

I needed more than just time to explore a project. I needed an avenue for sharing my work with others.

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Within my group of new mom friends was a creator who helped me find my way. She made artisan bath products, and she knew all the things: how to sell at the farmer’s market, open an Etsy shop, and aesthetically arrange her wares in lovely piles on a folding table. She introduced me to a new world: the world of selling your stuff.

In all my time in critique groups and art classes, I was never taught how to bring my artwork to others outside of a school context. In my friend’s example, I saw how it was possible. She taught me the nuts and bolts of being in business (business license, sales tax, etc.) and I’m not sure my nascent creative practice would have taken hold without her help.

Suddenly, I had a critique group again (customers) and I had deadlines (holiday bazaar), and those two motivated me to Go and Do in a way I had not gone and done since college.

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I didn’t set out to create again, it kind of just happened when time met passion plus an outlet for sharing my work with others. This experience has brought me back to a part of myself and an understanding of how to have a creative practice that I hope to never lose again.

Advice to You, Artist Mama Who Wants to Get Back to Making

1)     Make time.

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How do we find time as moms? For me it happened because I chose something I could work on while my son was with me. What can you do while your kids are with you? What other dedicated time can you create? If you have the means, give yourself permission to hire a babysitter regularly. Schedule with your partner 30 minutes every evening. Can you cut back at work? Start looking for the little moments. I almost always work sitting perched on the toilet while my kids are in the bathtub. (At right: Me sitting on top of the couch to work with my son in the room — without him being able to bang on the computer.)

2)     Decide what you’re passionate about.

If you want to get back to creating, then you probably have your passion in mind. What does that look like? What do you want to say to the world? Put it down on paper! Tell someone! Something is there that you want to bring forth. You have a need, and it is such a precious thing! Cradle it in your hands as it begins to grow.

3)     Find a way to share your work with others.

If you don’t have an awesome friend like mine, look up local art festivals in your area. Sign up! Don’t worry, because you will get in and you will sell things. Go visit local maker fairs to get inspired. Create your own free website, and then tell everyone that you did it! Share the link on your personal Facebook page. Check out local entrepreneurial resources. Sign up for a class on business basics. But most importantly, sign up! Go and do it. Once you have done one thing, sign up for another. Incorporate the feedback you get into your work for the next event. Make sure that sharing, scary as it is, becomes part of your regular regimen, so that your awesome creativity is getting out to the world and you have a reason to keep creating.

 


About Emily Bennett

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Emily Bennett is the owner and creator of Baby Blastoff!, a line of baby clothing that honors the spirit and possibility in every child. She grew up in Portland, Oregon, and went to Whitman College, where she studied studio art. After graduating, she moved to New Mexico where she earned a master’s in education at the University of New Mexico. Emily came back to creating and started her business after her son was born in 2011. She lives in Albuquerque with her husband and two kids.

Connect with Emily! Find Emily’s awesome baby clothes at babyblastoff.com. Follow her on Instagram at @babyblastoff and on Facebook at facebook.com/babyblastoff.

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The Monday Post: 9.11.17

Fabienne Frederickson quote

Happy Monday, friends! What in the creative realm would you like to accomplish this week? Comment below with the what, when, and how! And if you commented on last week’s Monday Post, let us know how things went: the hiccups as well as the successes.

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Meme of the Week

housework

As found here. Happy Friday.

Meme of the Week

28f3bfd4c9342a13b79f62104ea624d1

As found here. Happy Friday.

Meme of the Week

meme

Happy Friday.

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Find Your Voice, Change the World (Giveaway!)

We’re celebrating the launch of Moods of Motherhood by giving away three copies! Enjoy this beautiful guest post from author Lucy Pearce – and leave a comment below in order to enter our giveaway contest. Three winners will be selected at 10:00 pm eastern time Saturday, December 6, 2014. Good luck!


As a new mother I was told how I felt.
Or rather, how I should feel.

Lucy PearceI wasn’t expected to be creative. Instead I was told what to do, in often entirely contradictory missives, from elders and professionals, and to do it well for the fear of what if. The motherland was a strange new territory. I felt myself lost and at sea. Uneasy in my own skin. I didn’t belong here.

I knew what a mother was supposed to be like, and spent many years trying to fit myself into this mold. But it was always an uncomfortable squeeze. Too many hard edges for my squishy body and big feelings. There wasn’t enough space for the “me” that I was in the mold that was motherhood. There were too many should and oughts constricting me. I was always too opinionated, too messy, too self-centered, too introverted, too overwhelmed…too contradictory. I was too much…or not enough.

As I could see it two ways lay ahead – keep it in – which is what mothers are supposed to do – martyr themselves to motherhood.

Or let it out.

Moods of MotherhoodLet it consume me…or let my roller-coaster of deep contradictory feelings find form and expression to ignite a fire that might light the way for others in the same position.

And so emerged my creative renaissance: painting, writing, blogging, crafting, editing, and every other form of self-expression I could find. It was entirely fueled by the intensity of motherhood – the tumult of love, joy, despair, grief, exhaustion, feelings of failure and glory, depression, and elation that filled my days and that I could find no other way of voicing.

For generations women have been shut down, and shut up. All that was required was the illusion of the perfect wife, the all-loving mother, the angel of the house. Not her inner reality. Simply a pleasant veneer which glossed over the contradictions, appetites, desires, heart breaks, yearnings, exhaustion and confusion of a woman’s inner life.

But things are shifting and changing. The veil of silence is lifting. As women’s voices, lives, emotions, creativity are being seen en masse for perhaps the first time in humanity, expressing the inner worlds which for so long have been hidden.

Moods of MotherhoodAnd from these broken places, these hidden places, from the darkness a new light shines – one of truth, of a more vibrant reality. These models of self-expression act as beacons for other women who had not fully seen or felt or dared voice their own inner worlds, suddenly find themselves seen and heard, often for the first time. And they in turn begin growing into their own skins a little more, filling their own forms, finding self-expression.

It is the end of an ice age, where women have been frozen, stunted, silenced, are beginning to thaw – their innate creativity blooming in the new warmth. Where will it lead us? What impact will it have on the next generation who are growing up in this new era? Only time will tell. But silence and shame are being cast aside. And surely we will all benefit.

Lucy H. Pearce
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Lucy’s most recent book, Moods of Motherhood: The Inner Journey of Mothering charts the inner journey of motherhood, giving voice to the often nebulous, unspoken tumble of emotions that motherhood evokes: tenderness, frustration, joy, grief, anger, depression and love. She explores the taboo subjects of maternal ambiguity, competitiveness, and the quest for perfection, offering support, acceptance, and hope to mothers everywhere. This is a book full of Lucy’s trademark searing honesty and raw emotions, which have brought such a global following of mothers to her work. Click here and Lucy will send you a FREE SAMPLE right away!

Lucy is the author of four life-changing non-fiction books for women including the #1 Amazon bestsellers: The Rainbow Way: Cultivating Creativity in the Midst of Motherhood and Moon Time: A Guide to Celebrating Your Menstrual Cycle.

Former co-editor of JUNO magazine, she is the founder of Womancraft Publishing, which publishes transformational books by women, for women. She is passionate about sharing empowering women’s resources on The Happy Womb.com. She blogs on creativity, mindfulness, motherhood, and world changing over on Dreaming Aloud.net.

Meme of the Week

Picasso meme

As found here. Happy Friday!

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