The Hardest Part of Being Creative is Getting Used To It

My wife and I are both creative. She’s a teacher/writer and I’m a designer. We both have aspirations outside of our day jobs. She wants to write and illustrate a children’s book. I want to expand my skills down the technology stack and contribute to underserved industries like healthcare and education.

We’re both motivated to put in the time and effort to make these things happen.

But here’s the thing, we’re also parents to a one year old. Any parent can explain how much changes with the birth of their first child, but I never could’ve imagined the reality before becoming a parent myself. It’s our most jarring lifestyle change to date… and my wife and I are handling it a little differently.

My wife is a fantastic mother, wife, provider, and homeowner (we have a house to take care of, too). After a full day of teaching high school English, she comes home and plays an active role in ours son’s life. She also spends time with me and helps with chores. When she finally has time to herself, she uses it to recharge so she has energy to get through the next day. She put her creative aspirations on hold for a few years. She’s accepted that. She’s in survival mode.

But I’m not.

Sebastian and I running around outside.
Side-project-Sunday, current day.

While I match my wife’s efforts with the family and around the house, I still have creative urges when the day is done. My problem is energy. I need to recharge too, more so than before parenthood. But my brain doesn’t stop when I’m beat tired. So my brain gets out of sync with the rest of my body and I can’t find the pause button.

I try to squeeze extra time out of each week: I get up super early, cut out T.V., eat lunch in… but these life hacks buy little in the way of productive time. And I refuse to work through my family responsibilities while “thanking my wife for shouldering the load and being so supportive of my dreams” while I’m busy being a negligent husband and absentee father.

If these urges would just go away, maybe I wouldn’t feel so guilty.

If you have the creative urge, it isn’t going to go away. But sometimes it takes a while before you accept the fact.

I’m still listening to my creative urges and trying to find time for them. Writing this is a step in the right direction. Maybe. But maybe I’ll always struggle to find a balance.

I’m still accepting that fact.

This was inspired by Hugh Macleod’s Ignore Everybody, specifically chapter 31.

Also posted on Medium