Remember a long time ago when you used to write or sketch or actually make those awesome things you now only pin?
Remember thinking, “Someday I’ll…” (finish the sentence with your favorite creative, entrepreneurial, or educational goal)?
And now? Well, mothering sons takes so much time and effort that those dreams may have disappeared into the morass of dirty socks and Lego, clouded by the tyranny of the urgent.
You, Mom, need to hang on to those dreams.
Why? First, because God created you not as a sock-collecting, shirt-folding short order cook who moonlights as a referee, but as a whole person. Today you are sold out to your Creator, your husband, and your boys—and rightly so—but tomorrow those boys will have flown the coop and God is going to expect you to use what He has given you.
Second, while you’re acting as referee and short order cook, you can model creativity and a commitment to goals for your boys. What better lesson to take from their childhood (and into their perception of marriage and biblical womanhood) than a mama who uses the gifts God has given her?
How in the world do you balance that dirty laundry with the dream that is calling from your heart? Here are a couple of things you can do to keep the vision alive.
- Pursue creative endeavors in your spare time. Draw when the kids draw or do homework. Write when they do. Make their working time your working time. A flexible attitude is a prerequisite for this, though, because you will be interrupted. See every tiny moment of creativity as a baby step toward fulfillment, no matter how small it is; see it as an act of worship to the One who gave you the gift.
- Volunteer. Don’t keep your creative urges under a bushel. Resist the temptation to say to yourself, “I’m not good enough” or “They don’t need (or won’t want) my help.” Put the gift out there. Give your creativity away as an act of worship to your Creator. Let Him do with it what He will.
- Savor silence. There’s not much of it in motherhood, but it can really nourish your soul. Some of my best ideas came in the shower because that was the only time I was away, present with myself, and silent. Find some solitude and ask God to help you use it. Instead of mindlessly clicking in front of the screen once they’re in bed and the hubby is away, stop, breathe, and pray about how to use the moments God has given you.
- Enjoy others’ work. If you love to write, keep reading. If you love to paint, visit an art exhibit, and keep that flame alive. You can even share the spark with your sons. You can’t expect them to always love what you love, but exposure is great, and who knows how God will use that as they mature? Take them to a concert in the park, visit a kid-friendly art museum, write books with them and read books to them. If you find a great décor idea on Pinterest, let them work alongside you, either on your project or their own.
- Trust God for the results. We’d all like to think that, if we follow the suggestions above, our work will be noticed by world-famous agents or artists, but we have to trust God for the results on His timetable. Remember, God is doing something in you each time you’re faithful with your gift, whether anyone else sees the work or not. He works with us (and on us) through the journey.
Keep that spark alive, Mom, yielded to your Creator, and share it with your sons. Turn “Remember when…” into “Today, how can I use your gift, Lord?”
To read more about motherhood and creativity, check out these resources:
(Always read resources with a grain of salt and some Biblical wisdom—not all resources are from a Christian perspective.)
Laura Lee Groves is the mother of four sons and the author of I’m Outnumbered! One Mom’s Lessons in the Lively Art of Raising Boys, in addition to Pearl, a novel about international adoption.