One of the things I struggle with most as a mother, radical educator, and artist, is taking the time I need to work on my projects without guilt. I struggle between choosing time to create ( which involves many hours alone) and spending that time being available to my children. I also feel the pressure to make every minute count. Whether I’m lying in bed at 4:30 AM trying to steal some moments of work before the children wake or practicing meditation before I get my day started- every minute seems to matter. Of course I am also the same person who spends endless hours watching 16 episodes of Idris Elba in “Turn Up Charlie”.
Most of us have made some conscious decisions to capture more time in our days. Netflix has been put on chill and scrolling through endless insta stories and twitter feeds no longer satisfies. We are keenly aware that social media saturates our minds and energy with information that overwhelms our senses and often contributes to overthinking and anxiety. Definitely not practices that stir creativity and equilibrium. So what are some essential time practices for creative moms?
Here’s my top three:
- Enjoy idle time. I know I just went on about giving up endless hours of Netflix all nighters and social media crawls – but this is different. Apparently successful creatives need a significant amount of idle time. Time to allow the brain to take a break from complex tasks so it can quietly go about solving forgotten mysteries and the sort. Idle time improves our creativity and problem solving skills. Some examples of Idle time include walks, yoga, running, doodling, and anything else that isn’t goal oriented. Need more convincing? Read about it in Rest by Alex Soojung-Kim Pang.
- Carve out your own time. Make a clear distinction between your time and your children’s time. Your time can’t be sandwiched between pushes on the swing while you catch up on your reading or heart to heart chats with your bestie. Wherever you are be there completely. I have learned to clearly define when an activity is for the children and not for me. If I am bringing my children to an outing with my friends – most of my time will be spent engaging the children. By the end of the outing I end up feeling resentful about not getting enough me time. During me time I am the main beneficiary and not my children. Make sure when you take time for yourself it is truly your time. Otherwise it will never feel like enough.
- Rise Early to Create. Here we are looking more at timing. I’m sure we have some die hard night owls amongst us but studies show that some creatives do some of their best work in the morning hours. Rising early to get more out of your day will not only boost your productivity but will also help you make the most use of the most productive hours in a day (10:00 AM to 2:00 PM). Leave the late night for those winding down activities that are good for the brain but don’t overload your mind.
Finding time as a mother and a creative requires some simple adjustments that have significant impact. These practices will leave you free of guilt, relaxed and productive.
By Myrtle (Afro_quill) Sodhi
You can follow our very own Mother Artist at Afro-quill. This wonder woman is a spoken word artist, visual artist, writer & educator.