how to find time to be creative when you have a baby

Apart from ‘why won’t my baby nap’, ‘how to find time to be creative when you have a baby’ was probably one of my most googled topics in the first few months after my daughter arrived. 

You don’t really realise til you have a little human on your hands just what a time vacuum they are- a spare 10 minutes suddenly becomes the equivalent of a free weekend!

If you have any creative tendencies (which I hope everyone does!) it suddenly becomes very hard to do what you used to. 

However, I found that without the distraction and stress of my day job, my mind suddenly ran wild with creative ideas- the irony being that with a little monkey by my side I had very little time to actually enact on them!

I’m now over a year into this baby thing and while I don’t have the magic answer, I’m hoping these ideas might give you some hope & inspiration to keep your creativity going!

Sketch when the baby is napping 

Give yourself this opportunity once a week if you can, I like to keep a small sketchbook and simple drawing tools nearby or take with me if we are having a pram nap, so I can get a chance to draw, usually sketches of my sleeping child! This also worked for play centre visits when my daughter hadn’t yet started to crawl.

sleeping baby sketch

sketch done in a park

Change your style

Depending what your style is of course! I usually love doing very detailed, realistic drawings in graphite and charcoal and can easily spend a few hours on an A5 size sketch… fast forward to getting only a couple of free hours a week – suddenly I’ve been forced to experiment with acrylics, watercolours, and ink and as a result I’m developing a more abstract style – which I’m finding quite fun!

Write down ideas

I use the ‘notes’ app on my phone a few times a day – its such a great tool especially when you only have one hand free and a head full of thoughts and ideas – I write down ideas for illustrations, blog posts, photos I want to take… you may not get to action everything straight away but the most important part – the idea – is there ready and waiting for you!

Enrol in an online course

One of the best things I did when I started maternity leave was to start the Make it in Design courses – these are focussed on learning surface pattern design. There are so many different creative courses out there – I highly recommend finding an online course that is self-paced and is of interest to you, as it is excellent to have something else to think about that is not baby-related, plus you are gaining new skills and knowledge!

Complete a practical course in something new

When you do get a bit of free time, treat yourself and find a hands-on course you can participate in for a few hours – some awesome options in Brisbane include Work-Shop, the Australian Institute of Creative Design, Hands on Brisbane, and Brisbane City Council craft workshops.

Use social media effectively 

I am as guilty as the next person of spending ok wasting hours of my life scrolling social media with no real purpose – this becomes even more of an issue when you are basically stuck for hours holding a baby with nothing but your phone for entertainment. I think a bit of Beyonce ogling is totally fine, but you feel so much *better* if you give yourself a reason for using your phone – for example, creating a moodboard on Pinterest for one of your creative ideas, connecting with like-minded people on Instagram, or googling some new art techniques to try.

Your free time is for you – not for housework!

Now this one I admit is controversial, pretty much every article I read about being creative with small kids advises to ignore the mess and chaos, and just create! Which is all well and good if you have no issue with mess… I actually cannot relax enough to work effectively if the house is super messy, the floors are dirty, or I am seeing giant dust bunnies run down the hallway. If I know I have some free time coming up, I will actually try to clean the worst of the house the night before, or if that isn’t possible I give my workspace a quick clean and tidy up before starting anything.

Embrace sleep deprivation!

Ahhh sleep deprivation – you spend your days as a zombie, your nights getting excited if you get two hours of consecutive sleep, and every waking moment wondering why you just didn’t get a dog instead… But believe it or not there is a POSITIVE to the slow torture that is sleep deprivation! If you do any artwork while you are this tired, you will find a really loose, relaxed style – so have fun with it!

created when very very tired

I'd love to know what you think!

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