I’ll admit I had no idea how motherhood would shape and reshape my life. God had special plans on that one, plans yet unfolding as I follow His leading. It’s been a journey of purpose in raising children and the repurposing of God-given talents and yearnings.
I didn’t realize how much I had neglected (yet subconsciously nurtured) my creative side as a mom until I started reading Life Creative: Inspiration for Today’s Renaissance Mom. I am so grateful I was sent this book as part of authors Kelli Stuart and Wendy Speake’s Launch Team!
Created to be Creative
When I became a mom… I never expected the struggle to live creatively in the midst of mothering. I never planned to silence the expression of myself as I listened intently for the needs of my babies.
In my memory, my own mother lived the creative life. I always saw her with a needle and thread in hand, working cross stitch or embroidery (which still hang in her house today!). She cooked, she taught, she sewed. While she didn’t create original artwork, she expressed her creative side through hobbies and craft kits in a way that seemed an ordinary part of life.
I assumed I would do the same.
But the world has changed. My mother was free to stay home without guilt in an era where stay-at-home moms were the norm. She didn’t have digital distractions. Or the pressure of scheduling play dates (we ran around the backyard or biked the streets of our neighborhood all day!).
She had the freedom of time, the liberty of privacy, and the security of solidarity among her fellow moms.
My world is one that seems frenzied. Kids are over scheduled, and therefore, so are their parents. Life is lived in full view on social media with all the criticisms that come with that. And parenting? There are more parenting philosophies than I care to count, and finding a suitable play date mom/child combo feels like dating again.
Where in all this tangle can a mom find time, peace, and support for being creative?
Life Creative spoke to parts of me I’d forgotten existed. I felt encouraged by the gentle nudges to return to creative living, and angry I had listened to self-doubt and outside criticism for so long. Then I read:
I urge you not to mourn the loss for more than a moment. This is not the end of who you are. – Life Creative
When I started blogging (writing being my chief creative outlet), I was surprised at the criticisms on one hand, and the lack of interest on the other from friends and family I thought would be supportive.
I heard, “You are doing too much,” “Slow down,” and “Maybe you should cut back.” I take these comments under advisement, as they come from people I love. At the same time, I ask, “Which part of me should I amputate?
- The Traveler who loves to see and do and explore?
- The Writer who loves to list, and parse, and alliterate?
- The Dabbler who loves to quilt, and bake, and card stamp, and fashion elaborate birthday parties?
A mother’s natural bent toward creativity doesn’t just wither and die with the birth of a child. – Life Creative
So many sections of Life Creative inspired me to look at life and motherhood with freshly-opened eyes. As Kelli and Wendy claim, I don’t have to be a “ghost of the woman God created me to be.”
Motherhood and creativity can live side by side, sometimes taking their time on stage, and sometimes working in tandem.
Creativity doesn’t have to be a trade off to motherhood.
Why are creative moms criticized? A mom who expresses and explores her passions is sharing with her children a very important and intimate part of herself. As Sally Clarkson is quoted in the book: “Home is where everything starts.”
Allow the creativity of other moms to inspire, not intimidate.
A great laundry routine may not be your idea of a good time, but a flawless makeup routine is not mine and I am okay with that! I love seeing beautiful mamas with their eyeliner “on fleek!” (Oh boy, did I even use that phrase correctly?).
If organization is your creative bent, then I applaud you, mama, with matching spice jars perfectly labeled with polka dot stickers! (please, create a free printable for me!)
Ministering creatively from home
Juxtaposed with my love of home life, is my yearning to travel and explore. I’ve struggled with feeling confined by motherhood. Life Creative assured me just as Paul ministered from prison, so moms, confined for by diapers and naptimes, can minister “creatively from confinement.”
Life Creative reminded me of Scripture words that speak to who we are as creative beings:
- In His image
- Wonderfully made
This book draws the focus to the Creator, not the creation. He made us as His works of art. The clay doesn’t question the potter…but allows itself to be fashioned and used. How wonderful the image in scripture of the Potter “remaking” the clay, even as we in motherhood are often “remade” for a new purpose or a readjusted timeline of creativity.
I hope I’m making meaning here. The message of Life Creative awakened, stirred, and encouraged me…
- To know I am created to be creative
- To understand mothering and creativity work in tandem
- To be okay with laying down art to lift little arms
- To know dreams deferred are not dreams dead, but like a child in slumber, waiting for the moment of awakening. Their Renaissance.
Ways to be creative in mothering
So we must look for way to honor the art within us that don’t require us to abandon the people around us. – Life Creative
I look back on six years of mothering and know I could’ve done better at celebrating and sustaining my creative life. Yet, I see where pale tendrils of creativity have poked through the sleepless years, roots finding their way out of the darkness:
- Starting this blog to record parenting gives me an outlet for writing and connecting
- Detailed birthday party bashes give my crafting and organizing heart a place to blossom
- Homeschool planning allows my teaching bent to break forth
I’m not an artist in the traditional sense of making items for sale or display. But I have always found outlets for creativity. Now, I’ll shed the guilt of those creative expressions, and seek to know God’s Will for my own Life Creative.
This is the book every mom should read
I truly believe there is a need for moms to celebrate and continue their creative life. Life Creative is a treasure of a book every mom should read to gain perspective on her worth and purpose as God-designed creative beings.
No matter what point you’re at in motherhood, whether newborn or empty-nester, Life Creative will fill your heart with Scriptures, real-mom stories, and encouragement to go forth into the dawn of your own Renaissance.
Thanks to Wendy & Kelli for sending a copy of this book for my review. All opinions are my own. Affiliate links have been used.