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.
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!