Sometimes, people ask me, “Melissa, how do you find the time to be creative when you have two kids?”
This is generally the cue for hysteria-tinged laughter. Because finding time is not something I do. I carve time ruthlessly out of the flesh of an angry T-Rex while clinging to the side of an out-of-control bullet train with one broken arm and an alligator clamped onto my leg. And now that I’ve written that, I need to draw it, because those are the rules of this blog:
More specifically, for the first year after I had my first baby, I didn’t find time to do creative things. It was the first time since I was about 7 years old that I wasn’t working on a book, and aside from taking some sporadic notes on certain ideas I had for a later project, I was practically creatively dead.
If you’ve ever had a small baby who never wants to be put down and NEVER EVER SLEEPS, you might understand why. I actually learned to surf the internet with my toe while nursing. And I got voice software, but let’s say the technology was far from perfect.
Things got a bit better as the baby got older. Then, finally, my kids went to school, and suddenly, for the first time in years, I actually had a few hours a day to myself.
Quickly, I learned that if I wanted to get creative stuff done in the extremely limited time I had available, I had to cut almost all other leisure activities from my life. I allowed myself virtually no movies, TV, or internet surfing; limited social media; and even (sob) drastically reduced reading time. It was tough, but it let me get a little writing in every day.
However, I may have overdone it a bit.
Finding a balance where I could fit things like hygiene and actual time with my husband into a day along with parenting and creative projects was difficult, but at times I managed to succeed for a while... though it meant never getting to experience many things that sounded wonderful, like Zombieland or Downton Abbey. (For the record, I do mean to correct those sad gaps in my cultural education at some point.)
Then employment struck. Now I work for the entire time my kids are at school. When they come home, I have to help them with homework, spend some good mommy time with them, make them dinner, bathe them when possible, and get them to bed at a reasonable hour. When they’re in bed, I finally get to write...
...Or do I?
And what have we learned today?
Chasing down a bullet train while clinging to a T-Rex is way cooler.