Guest series :: Creativity is a word in every mother’s dictionary

by Admin on 23/06/2012

in Community + Creativity, Guest series 2012

Guest series 2012: I asked fellow bloggers, makers and creators to write on their creativity and focus their essay on one of four topics: creativity and health, creativity and business, creativity and parenting or creativity and process. I am very excited to have a wonderful lot of fellow creative folk guest posting here at over the next couple of months. Please welcome…

Becca is a music teacher who knits, spins, sews and tries to keep up with her three young sons in Minneapolis, MN. You can follow her creative pursuits as well the boys latest antics at Knittymama. She is also found at Flickr and Ravelry.

Thank you Kathreen for inviting me to be a guest blogger in your series on creativity! I’m so happy to be able to share a bit about my creative endeavors while raising my three boys.

I believe creativity is a word in every mother’s dictionary. A mother needs to be creative in order to deal with the dozens of curveballs that our children throw at us every day. But for some of us, creativity is not just figuring out how to deal with a screaming three year old hiding under the shopping cart. It’s what defines us as a person.

My husband and I were blessed with three sons in the past nine years, and they have completely redefined who I am. Before I had children music was my choice. I had dabbled all my life in little bits of crochet, beading, writing, drawing… but music was what grabbed me. And for many years all I needed in my life was a classroom of children to teach, my bassoon to play and people to play with.

But becoming a mother pushed my creative needs in a different direction. I no longer wanted to be tied to schedules. Long rehearsals were out; I wanted to be home with my family. Practicing at home by myself just wasn’t fun when there was no performance to prepare for, plus it was hard work; by 9pm I was exhausted. I needed something quiet, something calming to help me relax, create and recharge after a long day. And so I learned to knit, and then to spin and sew. I spent countless hours after my boys were asleep, letting my mind go and my body wind down after a long day.

As our family grew, I found our children inspired me more than anything had ever inspired me before. Sure, I would see a beautiful pattern I’d like to knit, or a quilt I wanted to make, but original ideas? The things that came out of nowhere? Those ideas came from my boys. A rainbow hat of odd colors that somehow looked great together. A giant reading pillow sewn together with my oldest son. The old t-shirt sleeves quickly cut and re-sewn into “motorcycle-guy” mitts.  My boys taught me that I don’t need a pattern, I can come up with an idea of my own and just go with it. This is the gift they give to me.

But I also miss those long hours of getting lost in the creative process. I miss getting so deep into something that I forget the time. And it’s frustrating when I think I’m going to get a few minutes to myself, and suddenly I hear, “Mama? Can we make our toy owls now? You’ve been promising for a YEAR!!“  (It’s really been just a week, but…)

Even harder is when my boys decide to make something on their own, except that it happens to be that they chose to cover three yards of a favorite new fabric with splotches of bright yellow paint. Or that they’ve tangled up my spinning wheel again. Used my fabric scissors to cut wire. Taken a favorite ball of expensive yarn and used it to make a room sized spider web. My boys are true masters of creative destruction, and many a time I have had to take a very deep breath and remind myself of the bigger picture.

And so we make things together. We find the opportunities to meet their needs and meet my own. We paint, we nail, we glue. We go through a lot of cardboard, yarn and tape. But we also weave and knit and sew. We design pillows and pants. We knit “rainbow” hats in color combinations I never would have thought of. I have learned to sew with one boy on my lap and another sitting behind me, hanging over my shoulders. I’ve learned to never leave knitting sitting out and always unplug my sewing machine. Somehow we make it all work.

While I watch them grow, I see myself grow too. As much as I love to follow a beautiful pattern, I also now can start from square one, and that’s an amazing feeling. I’m not sure if I ever would have taken that leap without my boys prodding me to make something that I didn’t have instructions for. Now that we are coming out of the baby years, I find myself drawn back to music too. I can head out for a few hours to go sub in a rehearsal or take the occasional third bassoon part in the community orchestra. I feel like my options are endless.

Lastly, I keep looking for inspiration of all types. I appreciate Shivaya Naturals for reminding me to look for the grace and beauty in everything that we make and do. I love Steady Mom for helping me keep things in enough balance so that we still all have time to do what we love. I love the Yarn Harlot because she keeps it real;  I don’t feel like I’m the only one with a messy house or kids that fight. And I love the mothers that relish goofy boyishness: All For The Boys for a never ending slew of ideas, as well as the Celebrate The Boy series over at Made by Rae.

What have your children taught you? Have you learned a new skill since you became a parent? Did your creative pursuits take a different direction after your children were born? Where do you find creative inspiration as a parent? I’d love to hear your thoughts and ideas!

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