On buying new underwear…and making time for your art
I feel guilty every time I buy new underwear.
Yep, as ridiculous as it may be, I find myself feeling like I shouldn’t spend $25 on a new pack of underwear as long as the old ones have at least a tiny bit of elasticity left in them and no gaping holes.
But when my kids need new underwear? I buy it without a second thought.
I think this is a pretty common scenario for moms.
Maybe we’re not all walking around in old underwear (and for the record, despite the guilt associated, I’m not either!), but many of us have this built-in guilt complex that leads to us taking care of everybody’s needs and often neglecting our own.
This can be true of “frivolous” things like pursuing our art or passion – whatever that may be – too.
We offer our kids plenty of opportunities for creativity, put them in classes or camps to hone their skills, make sure they have a time and a place to practice and develop…all the while ignoring our own need for a creative outlet. Because that’s what moms do, right? We make sacrifices.
Yes and no.
Obviously as a mom (as a parent, really), the needs of our kids come first – especially their need for the basics like food, clothing and education. But that doesn’t mean we always need to put ourselves last.
My grandmother used to run around at family get-togethers, making sure everybody had everything they could possibly need – “Oh, you need a napkin. Here, let me refill your tea. Let me get that for you!”, often not sitting down until most of us were on our seconds or thirds.
I never once heard her complain, and I think she thrived on serving us during those annual family meals, but it would have been nice to sit next to her and eat together, you know?
Similarly, as moms we’re often so busy running around taking care of everybody else that we neglect our own needs. And when this is an everyday thing, rather than just at holiday dinners, it can lead to burn out very quickly.
That’s right – not only does exercising our own creativity and passion show our kids that these things matter, which is a pretty compelling reason to do it in itself; it also makes us better moms.
I know, like buying new underwear, believing that to be true in our heads and actually believing it enough in our hearts to make it a priority are two very different beasts. But it’s true.
When our kids see us make time for anything – cooking healthy meals, reading our Bibles, pursuing our art, playing on our iPhones (ahem) – it tells them, louder than any words ever could, that those things are important. And they’re likely to mimic us and prioritize those same things.
When we make time to be creative and do things that excite us, it helps us manage stress, take our focus off the busyness of everyday, and live more intentionally. In fact, Tsh has shared that she started blogging for that very reason.
So how do you make time for creativity when it feels like a million things are vying for your attention? Here are three ideas to get you started:
1. Decide it’s a priority.
Like it or not, the way we spend our time is a reflection of our true priorities. If we really believe something is crucial, we will make time for it. Decide that pursuing your art is important for you, for your kids and for your family…important enough to make it a priority.
2. Get up early.
This is admittedly coming from an early bird, but getting up several hours earlier than you “need to” is a great way to sneak in some creative time before you start the day. Staying up late can work really well here too, but the problem is there are no built in boundaries on staying up late (like kids waking up and expecting breakfast), which makes it all too easy to stay up too late and start the following day exhausted. As it turns out, being exhaustive isn’t all that conducive to being a better mom!
3. Carve out time for yourself.
It really is okay to hire a mother’s helper, swap childcare with a friend or ask your husband to keep the kids for a few hours while you pursue your art. This doesn’t work in every season of life, obviously, but if it would work for you, don’t let guilt be the reason you don’t take advantage of the opportunity!
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