If you've been following me on social media you probably know we have a new addition to our little family. Baby #2 was born four weeks ago and we couldn't be happier. But of course, now that I have two munchkins to take care of it's a little more challenging to find time for art, blogging, business and of course sleep, not to mention I'm still finishing up The Lettering Course and opening up the Art Shop.
Yes I know, we are supposed to sleep when the baby sleeps, rest, take it easy and do nothing but tend to baby. But after about 4 days of laying around on the couch binge watching the newest season of Orange Is The New Black I was getting restless.
My creative mind felt imprisoned and I just had to sneak off and paint.
In today's blog post I will share with you some of the challenges we face as creative moms as well as some tips on how to still stay creative even with only minutes to spare and little ones to take care of.
Let's face it, babies are a lot of work, and not all babies are created equal, some are up all night and sleep all day, some don't sleep at all and some only wake up to eat. If you're lucky enough and your baby sleeps well during the day you can get some work done.
1. Take baby with you
Baby wearing anyone? Not me, my daughter didn't like it and my son doesn't either. Maybe I'm doing it wrong...? My solution is to bring the baby into the room while he is sleeping.
It's easy to do if you have a little bouncer or a small bassinet that can easily be moved from room to room. That way you can keep and eye on the baby while still getting some work done.
Don't bring your baby into the studio if you work with oil paints or other materials that have a strong odor. Especially if working with spray paint, dust or paint thinners.
2. Don't take on big projects
If you're like me you probably have a billion ideas for projects running through your head at all times. But, unless you have a babysitter or your significant other to watch the baby while you lock yourself in your studio for hours, forget it. Stick to projects that won't take longer than the baby's nap. You don't want to be in the middle of a large project when the baby needs a diaper change, food or is just fussy.
My baby can sleep for a good 3 hours at a time, sometimes, but then I have the toddler who needs my attention here and there and I can't spend the 3 hours in the studio.
If you do wish to work on a large project, make sure it's one that can be broken down into smaller chunks.
3. Keep tools on hand
My sketchbook is usually found in my kitchen or on the couch. Because that is where I spend most of my time. While I'm cooking and have a minute to spare I grab a pencil and doodle.
This can be one way to get your ideas out of your head too. If you keep a little notebook near you, jot down ideas for posts or products whenever something pops into your head.
In the studio I have the tools all spread out on my table at all times. Watercolor palettes and brushes, even water in a jar ready to go. You never know when an idea pops into your head and you need to run in there and quickly put something down on paper.
4. Breastfeeding or pumping?
If you've gotten the hang of breastfeeding and have one hand free (baby rests on a pillow while breastfeeding) you can do many things. I sometimes read a book, update my social media, google, online shop, or write.
You can do the same thing while pumping. I finally received my electric breast pump from my insurance and splurged on one of those expression bustiers. This leaves both my hands free to write this blog post. Now I should warn you, you may feel like a cow being milked, haha but it does give you a good 10-15 minutes of time to multitask.
5. Keep your work area tidy
This is probably the one rule I can't seem to follow, I'm a messy creative, there is paper, paint, brushes, and everything else I come into contact with all over the place. At this time it's even a hazard to come into my studio, as one would trip on something, fall over and get stabbed with an Exacto blade laying on the floor.
But if you are capable of keeping your work area clean you will have an easier time quickly getting in, getting things done and getting out. The less time you have to spend looking for tools the more you will get done.
6. Bring the work to the baby
My art studio is off of our living room, easy to get in and out, but when I tried to blog, which involves a computer, I had to go into the basement, usually having to bring both kids with me just to write a couple paragraphs. What I did after I had enough of walking up and down the stars was to bring my iMac into the kitchen. Yup, I set it on our island and that's where it lives for now. The toddler can easily still play in the living room where I can see her and I can put the baby in the bouncer right next to me.
If you have a laptop that is even easier, but if not, try to think of temporary solutions. Maybe put a little table somewhere else in the house where you can keep an eye on all you kiddos while still getting some work done.
Whatever the situation, there is always a solution when you want to follow your passion.
As parents, kids are everything in our lives, but don't let that stop you from pursuing your dream or just taking some time for yourself.
Yes, I do get less sleep because I stay up late painting instead of sleeping, but it makes me happy, and I think I'd rather be a happy mommy than a well rested unhappy one. But then again, that's just me believing that creativity is the key to a happy life and I will do anything for a little bit of sanity.
Toddlers and babies are a handful, and at the end of the day, when they are asleep, take some time for yourself and find that happy. That one thing that makes you enjoy life, no sitting on the couch catching up on The Bachelor doesn't count. You need to find your passion, your hobby, your one true love. Ok maybe that's too much, you know what I mean.
Now go out there and find it, then report back to me.
Did you know that I'm on Snapchat? Yup, I took the plunge and loving it. It took a while for me to figure out how to use it. I guess I'm getting old.
I share behind the scenes as I get ready to launch the Art Shop and pretty much anything in the studio and life as an artist.