Make a sign.
Hang it up.
Close the door.
That’s my message today and it’s for anyone who has a reason not to create. It’s for anyone with priorities that”should” be set higher than creativity. For those whose lives take the front seat forcing creativity into the last row, squeezed in between responsibly and guilt.
I speak to a lot of creative mums, either photographers, makers, artists of some kind or another and I so often hear the same heartbreaking words: “I feel so guilty”, about the time that I spend away from my family, pursuing my dreams. About the fact that it’s a pleasure to go to work because I love my job, the fact that someone else has to mind my kids whilst I do what I do.
There’s a whole lot of guilt there and every single one of us probably has double that number. So add guilt to fear and the cocktail of restraining emotions standing in our way can seem unbearable - which is why so many people break, either giving up the dream or trying to do everything and squeeze 34 hours into every day.
But here’s the thing, the kids will be ok! Seriously!
And I can go one better, they will be more than ok!
The fabulous Elizabeth Gilbert of Big Magic once said, if you model martyrdom for your kids they will grow up to be be martyrs. If you model creativity they will grow up to be creatives!
I remember hearing those words and audibly gasping. She was absolutely right! Here I am trying to teach my kids to follow their dreams, believe in themselves, strive to be the best they can whilst remembering that they are always enough and yet the behaviour I was modelling was that my own dreams and aspirations were not worth my time or tending. I was showing them that although I spoke of finding a passion in life, and achieving their potential I myself didn’t believe in my own passions or potential.
So take a moment to reflect on the message you want your children to learn from you. Is it one of strength, empowerment and fulfilment. Will they remember you as being a creator, an achiever, as someone who meant something and was worth something, or will they remember that once you have children you should become a lesser version of yourself. That dreams are not to be pursued and that you didn’t value yourself enough to follow that path of your own potential.
Try this: make a sign - it doesn’t have to be face but it should bear one message “Mama is creating”. Hang it on the door and close that door. If you’re kids are old enough to entertain themselves for a while then let them - in doing so they will grow and learn to create themselves. They will also honour that message when they are older; to carve out time, space and acceptance in their life to follow their dreams, to value themselves, and that to create is not something to be ashamed of but rather to celebrate.