How Motherhood Affects Creativity

Read the original article here.

As I read this article, with my toddler son next to me and Braxton Hicks contractions getting stronger, it seemed as if the writer was in my head, knowing my thoughts and fears and struggles with creativity. Every woman needs to read her article. She talks about the science and studies of a mother mouse’s brain, what changes happen neurologically. Then she speaks of an artist whose creativity seemed to grow after she had twins, and her own struggles as a writer with children.

Motherhood changes everything.

I have always been a creative person. Ever since I was a child, my imagination seemed to outrun me. As I grew up, so many ideas for stories, paintings, creative works, etc. grew in me. I already couldn’t keep up. There are so many pieces of art filed in my head pre-motherhood, that it would be impossible to create them all. One of my fears with my firstborn was that I would lose all creative thought. Apparently, this is a very common fear amongst creative people.

I will admit, through the sleepless nights and feeling like a constant milk factory, I struggled to create any thoughts for a while, much less a creative one. It seemed all my mind could focus on was the need to rest and the need to stare at my new baby. After the first few weeks, though, I seemed to regain myself. Thoughts and ideas came back to me, grew in me, but I changed as well. I learned to multitask like a pro and to be more efficient. My senses have sharpened and I feel more in tuned with myself. And that creativity I once had – it has flourished.

“Whether rodent or human, a mother’s brain requires cognitive, emotional, and behavioral flexibility. ‘This helps us adapt to new environments.’ After all, she added, ‘flexibility and thinking outside of the box—isn’t that what creativity is?’”

creativity and multitaskingThere are many nights I lay awake with new ideas. I have so many ideas for paintings in my head it is ridiculous. I file them away, excited for when I get to paint the important ones. Paintings and artwork aren’t the only creative ideas I have, though. I feel like my problem solving capabilities have been sharpened. My brain is constantly thinking of better, more efficient ways to do tasks at home or with my job. As a web developer, writer, designer, etc. with She is… I am always thinking of new ideas and better ways to do my part of this company more efficiently while growing my understanding and helping our company grow. It’s strange, because I feel like I wouldn’t have been as useful in my role with this company before I had children. Something about working from home, with my child next to me, helps me to think more clearly and solve problems more creatively.

Maybe that is because I also have to juggle how to solve problems creatively with my kid. I have to think of creative ways to make him eat healthy when he has decided he doesn’t like food anymore. When he is bored, I have to be creative with entertaining him. And with an all-out crazy boy, I have to keep him from hurting himself in his creative moments of play. He is teaching me to think through the mind of a child again. I had forgotten how open and unrestricted a child’s mind could be.

“Learning to look at the world through the eyes of my children is not a bad way to flex my own thinking.”

Stress, time constraints, and lack of balance can all affect my thoughts and sanity. I think this is why there is such a stigma against mothers (especially new mothers) and quality of work or success. Many moms can’t afford childcare, so they must be the childcare, whether they are working or not. This can be extremely difficult at times, especially if she is getting biases or backlash from those she works for. That is one of the many reasons I am so grateful for this company. They not only empower me as a woman, but as a mom. If my son is talking during our morning meetings, I don’t have to panic or worry what they will think. And while diaper changes may take me away from the computer, it is nice having a flexible work schedule so that I can do my work well while tending to my son’s needs. This reassurance from my company helps reduce the stress so that I can be all of me – limitless.

Let’s all be limitless.

-Melissa

How Motherhood Affects Creativity

Her labor begins, and she leans back on her bottom, pulling the first baby out of her body with her own hands and teeth. Within five minutes, another newborn arrives. Soon, her babies are squirming around her, squealing and desperate to suckle.

 

 

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