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Cultivating Creativity as a New Mom

I’m a new mom and a creative– guess which identity marker took a back seat in the early days of my daughter’s life?

In the throes of new motherhood when it seems like caring for a baby is all that gets done, it can be hard to imagine time allocated for anything else.

Time for hobbies? you may balk, I’ll be lucky if I’m confronted with the sweet choice of sleeping or eating in the whole 20 minutes I have today.

My new mom hobbies morphed into:

Observing my baby’s bowel movements, amount and texture
Tracking baby’s milk intake
Inexplicably trying to compute milk math when making bottles of formula + pumped milk
Laundering items in an endless loop
Sleeping on a nursing pillow the moment my daughter fell asleep

I’m in a season of life that is not conducive to sustaining extensive hobbies– to the dedication of great amounts of time and energy for a particular passion project, other than household and survival needs. But I have, miraculously, found ways to weave creativity into these busy, bustling, blessed days.

Savor unexpected opportunities to create

One of my creative passions is baking, and though I haven’t had much margin for testing new buttercream recipes or trialing a new bake (next on my list is macarons, by the way!), I’ve found my creative wheels whirring, or at least giving a committed squeak in ways I hadn’t thought of before.

The minute we got the greenlight to feed baby solid foods, I set out to create a homemade puree full of love. It was a simple mixture of just two ingredients (roasted sweet potato and chicken bone broth blended together) but the act of creating something that I knew would be healthy and tasty for my baby gave me immense satisfaction. This simple creation harkened back to the days when the kitchen was my canvas, my laboratory, my studio of delicious innovation.

So you see how small, surprise chances for creativity can sneak in between the stacks of laundry and a sink full of crusty dishes.

Opportunities can arise simply and unannounced– like dressing up baby in a snazzier-than-usual outfit.

It could mean reading different books to baby or formulating exciting new characters for your funny faces and peek-a-boo expressions.

Just because the before-kids version of yourself never thought these would be creative endeavors, doesn’t mean the New Mom You can’t relish in the unassuming chance for invention.

Plan spare time with intentionality

Spare time, if you have any in these days, can seem like a fleeting treasure.

Before we had a more established sleep routine with my daughter, spare time became catch-up-on-sleep time. As she got older, and we gained more slumber, I began to dream about the possibilities.

One day, I set out to bake. It took the planning and coordination of a covert military mission to achieve this, but we snuck in this wonderful chance for creativity. I made a dark chocolate layer cake with a light Swiss meringue buttercream and topped with crushed chocolate sandwich cookies. This victory (and cake) was truly sweet.

Remember that new motherhood is a season

Some days, I have a sliver of a chance to do something not directly related to parenting. And on the days I don’t, that’s okay, too.

On tiring days, I try to remember, before we had our baby, how much I yearned to have a child.

I try to remember that even though I can’t foresee the exact bounds of the season, though I can’t measure the amount in this particular life vessel, nor can I calculate with any degree of accuracy the perimeter of this place, it will not be like this forever.

I can be grateful for this period of motherhood. I can be grateful for the sporadic, creative bursts that pour into my soul. I can choose to embrace (or at least tolerate) it all.

Charmaine is a mom to an almost-one-year-old, writer, and former elementary school teacher. She writes at about her process of leaving teaching and finding other means of work while caring for her home and family.

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