I am often approached/accosted by fellow mom friends asking the same question, "Lian, how do you do it? The writing, the podcast, the cranky emails to companies about their appalling customer service. You're always busy with something creative."
Then, these same moms follow up with the lament, "I wish I had some creative outlet in my life."
I'm lucky to have found a creative profession because it gives me the best excuse in the world to express myself. It's my job. I don't have to squeeze creativity in at the end of the day, somewhere between doing the dishes and reading the bedtime stories. (Although, in the right hands, a children's book can be a great outlet for creativity!) I don't work in an office all day doing something very strategic and then try to design jewelry in my spare time. I so admire the crafters who make that happen late into the night.
My creativity punches a time clock: I send the kids off to school, have several cups of coffee, turn on the faucet marked "inspired" and start writing. Or talking into a microphone. Frankly, some days, the faucet is running pretty slow. But the opportunity is there to invent a new character or shape an anecdote or crack myself up with my own writing, which is really not very professional. But I laugh anyway.
As a mother, laughing and self-expression play a huge part in allowing me to retain my identity. I've never felt lost on my role as a mom, because I've always had my role as a writer and a broadcaster to tap into when motherhood gets overwhelming. I can use my storyteller's toolbox to give me perspective on whatever may be happening in my life. Hey, what's a parenting crisis today is a TV show idea tomorrow!
What amazes me is that these lamenting moms wishing they had a creative outlet are usually incredibly creative women. But, somehow, they haven't labeled their talents as such. Are you one of them? Do you entertain with panache or design your gardens with care? Do you direct the school plays or write the volunteer organization newsletter with pizazz? Maybe you've created family scrapbooks that dazzle. Believe me, if you saw the piles of baby pictures that constitute my "family scrapbook," you may have a better understanding of your gifts.
Maybe creativity isn't an action, but an attitude. Approaching almost any activity with an open mind and an inventive spirit can qualify as a creative outlet. Give it a try.
Lian Dolan is a mother, wife, sister, friend, daughter, writer and talk show host. She writes and talks about her adventures in modern motherhood for her website, ChaosChronicles.com, and her weekly podcast, The Chaos Chronicles.