Once upon a time (a little over a year ago), a family friend asked me a question that repeats itself in my head every now and again:
“Are you being creative?”
This family friend is actually a friend of Ryan’s family. He’s known me for probably fourteen of the fifteen years I’ve been hanging out with Ryan’s family, and because they live a few states away, time together is pretty limited. To be honest, the question took me completely by surprise because of all those who know me well, nobody had ever asked me that before. Yet, that is undoubtedly what makes me tick: creativity. Crafting, writing, designing, cooking, and baking are my favorite outlets. And when life gets hectic, those are the things that take a backseat (well, except for cooking, obviously. I do feed my family. But there’s a difference between creative cooking, and cooking just to put something on the table). As it turns out, in the absence of creativity, I tend to get crabby.
My husband is usually the one to catch onto the mood first, and is super amazing at offering me time, or space, or an outing, or coffee, to clear my head enough to zero in on whatever creative recess of my brain is itching. He offers, very frequently, to take charge of our boys on the weekends to offer me the chance to get away and focus on my ideas. Somehow, however, I haven’t yet figured out how to accept his offers and relinquish control to do it. I’m pretty sure it’s not an uncommon thing for moms, but I feel guilty if I’m not doing it all: working, being home, keeping up with the messes three boys can make, feeding said boys, being present for bathtime, storytime, bedtime, and any other time I feel like I need to be present for. It’s unrealistic, but I’m notorious for holding my expectations high.
Over the past few months, I’ve had the opportunity to take on a couple of different interior design projects. The timing has been perfect, since the boys are getting a bit older and don’t require quite as much of my undivided time and attention these days. They’re at an age where they will all play together, or find their own separate activities, which gives me a good chance to focus on other things. And I’ve done it all from home, on my own time, without having to put the kids in daycare and be away from them all day (with the exception of a meeting here and there).
Guys, I feel like I’m on fire. I feel like letting out a little bit of creative energy has created brand new stores of creative energy that refuse to be kept in. I feel like I’m reaching into the long-forgotten recesses of my brain to exercise atrophied muscles. I’ve been calmer, yet more energized. I’ve been patient. I feel confident in a way I haven’t in a very long time. My house isn’t any more of a disaster than usual. My kids have been able to entertain themselves and one another in the room where I’m sitting to work. (OK, full disclosure: literally AS I typed that last sentence, half a pitcher of iced tea got spilled all over the refrigerator and the floor underneath. I did not lose my cool.)
My point here, friends, is that somewhere in the midst of the creative process that’s required to complete a color scheme, floor plan, and idea board, I’ve gotten more creative. How else do you explain starting a blog post on your phone while you’re waiting to pick your preschooler up from school?
Are YOU being creative?