Today’s lesson for being creative with kids: lighten up.
I realized I needed this lesson when I started thinking about WHY I want to do something creative for myself during the day. It’s not that creativity isn’t a part of everyday already; I think much of my mothering life is creative, if not glamorous. The “creative” I’m hungering for is a moment of creative meditation – a beat of rest in a swirling day. I want to tap into that feeling of flow and bring myself present.
I’ve been trying to get this creative time by drawing, but as I sat down to draw the other day I felt frustrated. I was tired and I didn’t FEEL like drawing. I just wanted to clear my busy mind for a moment and drawing felt like a big effort. So then I thought, ”Why not just doodle something?” but then my silly brain said something like, “Oh, well you can’t do that, it’s just doodling and you really ought to be using this time as a chance to improve your drawing (Let’s multi task!!)”
This is when my perpetually noise/busy/frequently-cranky four year old walked in and started pulling things out of a cupboard and my one year old wasn’t far behind. I realized (this is what it sounded like in my brain) “For God’s Sake Alissa. Lighten up! Just DOODLE. I mean really. Is doodling below you or something?! Sheesh. If you want to do ANY art for yourself today this is what you can do.”
And so I picked up the pencil and, well, doodled. Leland eventually remarked that I really needed to use more colors and I got out some colored pencils to add a bit of excitement. In the end I didn’t really like what I’d drawn. BUT felt a bit more centered, a bit more able to deal with the tantrum that happened later (it had been one of those days.) I remembered that I do so much better if I take a few moments and do something centering like writing in a journal or drawing, but I need to lighten up about it.
I need to take ten minutes and just focus solely on process and letting myself go into that meditative state. So I need to pick things that WORK for that RIGHT NOW. Other times in my life I may be able to get that feeling from sitting and sewing, or knitting or more detailed drawing. Right now, those things can be fun, but they’re usually not relaxing because I am constantly interrupted. For right now doodling works. I need to lighten up. My family will not be this young forever and I want to enjoy them as they are instead of wishing them older and quieter.
If I lighten up and let go of some of my more concentration heavy creative work for the moment I think we’ll all be happier. It is not forever, it is right now.
Anything you need to let go of in order to lighten up?