Creativity and Confidence in Mothering
Creativity is hard-wired into a lot of us, but amongst everyday life, responsibilities, jobs and the general bustle of busy-ness that part of us can get neglected, or at least that is what I found. I’m Zoe, a stay at home mummy to two toddlers and (probably by now) a newborn, from the UK. As a young mum, I have to be really intentional about making time for my painting, but doing so has vastly impacted so much of my life and mothering in the last year.
As with many of us my creative journey started with many hours at the kitchen table painting and drawing, doodling across school notes and thinking in colors. From a really young age I also really knew that I wanted to be a mother, and stay at home with my little ones primarily. My husband and I were married young, and then had our daughter whilst we were doing our degrees, so that dream was reality for us fairly soon. Yet I found that despite always wanting to be a parent, that my first year at home with Phoebe (in a year out from university) left me floundering more often than I had anticipated. I felt a lot of pressure of the things society says you should and shouldn’t do as a mother, and probably looked to the left and right, and to the internet, comparing lives with others too much. Whilst I did the odd bit of crochet and card-doodling in those months, my creativity was not a major factor in our lives at all, and whilst the desire was there I couldn’t figure out what to do to get to a creative mindset besides have more sleep!
As I went back to university, doing my 9-12 hours a week with Phoebe in nursery, the anxiety about everyday life subsided a little as our weeks were more structured and in routine, but following the completion of my degree 18 months later, we moved down to the other end of the UK, where we knew no one and I was suddenly at home again, full time, this time with two tots. This transition was big, and challenging, bringing a lot of the uncertainty about how to be the ‘best’ or ‘right’ mother back to the fore. But then around November last year I dug out my much neglected watercolors from my hoarded art supplies one evening whilst the little ones slept and my husband was out. I spent a couple of hours just concentrating, painting a Bible verse to put up on my bedroom wall.
Choosing to take that time and space was so energizing and relaxing at the same time- I just felt like myself in those minutes that I spent creating. It was a huge turning point, and from then on I continued painting with watercolors. Not only had I found a medium that I could easily pick up and put down, but I had creative purpose and direction. Initially I just painted words, verses, things I wanted to remember that would help me remember who I was and what my purpose was. Painting these words really helped me to process and crystallize them in my mind- so whether I could see the painting or not I could visualize and remember what it was. I started up shop on Etsy, so that I could keep creating meaningful and inspirational words and hopefully encourage others along their own creative and intentional journey. I’ve loved being trusted to create meaningful words for gifts and commissions since too.
Being creative helped me remember who I was, and the act of painting meaningful words helped me in everyday life too. Having remembered who I was at my core- creative- I had more confidence in myself, in who I was as a mother, in what was right for our family and for these children. I have relaxed my fear of getting out the paints and glue and mess with them, because I know that the process of creating is so important to me, and can be to them too. Sitting at the table and creating, whatever it is, together, has made some of my favorite memories of everyday life with toddlers from the last year. Painting in tandem with my three year old, who has a voracious love of my red, black and blue watercolor paint blocks hasn’t been easy, but such a good bonding experience. I love that now I can be creative with them, in our everyday life, I can be more creative in the way I look at life and be creative in my ‘alone’ time. Pursuing my creativity has given me more confidence in myself, in the fact that I’m being the person God made me to be and that I’m being the mother I’m made to be, of these children which He gave me. Not a perfect one, but a good one.
You can follow along with my creative journey on Instagram (@zoeprose) or find me at www.zoeprose.com - and please feel free to send me an email about how your creative journey has affected you firstname.lastname@example.org !
(Etsy link is www.zoeprose.etsy.com )