Searching for My Creativity

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Fun at Hershey Park.
Enjoying a summer S'Mores
Enjoying a summer S’Mores

By Estelle Sobel Erasmus

It is the heart of summer, and we’ve just been through a heat wave that feels as if the minute you step outside you are roasting in the sun like a rotisserie chicken. This serves to create a feeling of exhaustion in me that I remember from back in the days when I was trying to get pregnant while working in a job that I purposely chose because it had no stress, and was close to home.

However, while working in that job, I realized that there are four situations that create a huge energy suck on me: working in a dull job with no challenges, trying to get pregnant, becoming pregnant while in that job, and then actually having the baby and doing all the early work of child raising. All my energies (and for me, creativity is a part of that energy), went into diapering and swaddling and feeding and caring…and mothering.

So from 2007 to late 2010 (my daughter was born in 2009), my creative output was low-extremely low. I was unable to write; the words that had always came, just wouldn’t come. I didn’t know how to make them come. All I could do to keep my head in the editing, journalism world from which I had come (before the boring job), was to do some freelance editing work for a publishing company; and pen a Mom’s Talk Q & A column for my local Patch. It wasn’t creative writing, but it certainly kept my head in the game.

Which is why in 2011, it was such a surprise when I woke up one day after taking my daughter to the library for a book club and wrote about the experience. You can read about it here. I called it And She Danced, and writing it truly was the rebirth of my creativity. That led me to audition for the reading show Listen to Your Mother (this is the YouTube Video of my reading), which opened me up to the world of blogging, which opened me up to expanding my world…and my creativity.

Suddenly, the words flowed.

Now my four-year old has finished preschool for the summer, and is home with me, and I find my energies diverted once again. I spend my days taking her to the pool, the playground, arranging and having play dates, doing errands, reading to her, helping her write her letters and numbers. We’re having fun, but by the end of the day, I collapse into my bed, and the aforementioned flowing of the words, well, it’s gone. Temporarily.

Kids are work. Important work; but I want my words back.

 

What challenges have you noticed with your work due to the heat, raising kids, having babies, or dealing with older parents?

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22 thoughts on “Searching for My Creativity”

    1. I agree. But maybe because its summer and I’m with her 24/7 I just feel drained all the time. I love spending time with her it just takes a lot of my creative energy.
      Estelle

  1. I’m facing the same challenge. It’s not so much words with me, but I simply have no time for any creative projects or endeavors with my kids stuck to my side this summer. I’m trying my best to enjoy it, these years are so fleeting and they’ll only be 3 and 5 once. But boy, I do miss being creative!

    1. Carrie,
      I think it just may be the slowed down pace of the summer and the accompanying frenetic energy of our kids that just makes it so hard to get anything done. It’s nice to find I’m not alone in this dilemma.
      Estelle

  2. This totally hit my heart, Estelle. This is how I’ve felt all summer. I love my kids so much, but I feel like I’m neglecting so many things that I want to get out of me with a blog post, article, or contribution to other sites. The hotter it gets, the more the kids bicker, and the more times I have to stop my work and intervene. The only way I can get some work done is by staying up late and waking up early. For a relaxing summer, it does feel like I’m working way more than I do in the fall or winter.

    1. Hi Amiyrah,
      I know. I have so many posts or articles in draft that it’s not funny. I don’t mind staying up late-although my hubby does–but I hate waking up early. I think us moms may feel more relaxed in the Fall when school starts again.
      Estelle

    1. Jessica,
      Sounds like you’ve been down that road. Those endless days were exhausting but the result was wonderful.
      Estelle

  3. When life was really busy this spring, I felt like I couldn’t muster the energy and enthusiasm for blogging and writing. I made myself show up even when I didn’t want to, and slowly worked through it. Have all 5 kids home definitely drains me because I’m an introvert that needs her quiet time.

  4. The summer heat is a nice treat, but it comes with the responsibility of balancing family and work!

  5. Amen! Right now, my life is consuming my creativity AND my ability to cook! I’ve vowed to take time this week to recharge and find my balance 🙂 Good luck!

    1. Hi Kelly,
      For some reason I’m hoping BlogHer will help me to do that; however, I’ll probably come back exhausted-not the best boon for creativity. Thanks for visiting.
      Estelle

  6. My kids were always the reason behind my creativity, thus the blog started 10 years ago. I’ve only flagged during the middle of 2008, which was a heavy crisis year for our family. Now though, I’m struggling again – much bigger and longer. It’s as if I’ve hit a wall, and I don’t know how to break out – or why it happened.

    1. Hi Gina,
      That’s interesting. I think others are a slump, too. I wonder if the weather has something to do with it as well.
      Estelle

  7. Well, I can confirm that you don’t need to have kids to go through that kind of evolution, either. I’ve had a couple of periods on my life where I’ve felt my creativity wane, and it was a blessed relief when it came back! I’d say, in retrospect, that both were times when I was über-busy and focusing on things outside myself that required full attention (not that different from a child, in that way). Glad you found your words again!

    1. Hi Ricki,
      Thanks. It was a struggle to sit down and write this post, but now I feel a sense of relief and maybe the next one won’t be so hard to push out. Love when the words flow easily, though.
      Estelle

  8. Vacationing with our 87 year old friend just sucked ALL the everything out of me. Trying to get back into my groove. Enjoy that sweet girl while she’s little. As a matter of fact, the best is yet to come. My daughter is 30 now, and she still makes my heart flutter. But she’s too big to hold on my lap. So enjoy that part. And just write short stuff while you are busy! Or take some time off and then come back and tell us all about it. 🙂

    1. Hi Karen,
      I know. They say you are twice a toddler, once an adult; so I can imagine how it must be difficult with an 87 year old. I appreciate your words of wisdom re my little girl. I’m going to go hug her now; and maybe I’ll be reinvigorated when I get back from BlogHer.
      Estelle

  9. I have had a burst of creative energy after I’ve hit mid-life (post divorce and now empty nest). But as I look back on why, it’s those wonderful years of being present for my daughter that is the fuel for where I am today. Enjoy and know you are exactly where you are meant to be!

    1. Connie,
      Thanks so much. I am so happy to hear that being present for your daughter is the fuel for where you are today. I have to do better at living in and appreciating the moment. In many ways, my daughter has been my creative muse, so there’s that. I guess I can put up with a little bit of creative draining for the moment.
      Estelle

  10. It’ll be back. Kids are a delightful drain on your creativity. I had 5 children in 9 years and then homeschooled them from ’96 to ’11. My words are still coming back. Enjoy your little girl. She’s beautiful.

    1. Elizabeth,
      I genuflect at your feet. Wow! Thanks for your inspiring words. I like how you phrase it, “kids are a delightful drain on your creativity”. I’m so looking forward to meeting you at BlogHer13.
      Estelle

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