Tuesday, May 02, 2006

(darn blogger -- no trackback. I thought this was a good enough comment to Parenthacks to post here.)

Over at Parenthacks, Asha's posted a query: "Creativity and parenting: do they mix?"

My answer is "Yes, definitely." My personal brand of creativity is not of the music/writing/art ilk but the technical/business sort, but I have rarely felt more creative (starting with my 2nd trimester of pregnancy). I've applied for a patent, developed and led a project, and started a new team in the last year and a half (and that's just at work!). For my personal life, I'm building a web application/starting a business, contributing to Parenthacks, blogging some on my own, designing a new patio, and planning creative parties for friends getting married this year. I can truly say I've never been more creative.

I think there are a number of reasons for this:
1) having a child pulls your values in sharp contrast -- I ask myself "is this what I want to be modelling for my daughter?" (In my case I realize I want the same values my parents instilled in me -- ownership of decisions, entrepeneurship, independence -- for J.)
2) I'm stuck at home more -- after 8 every night I have 3 hours of uninterrupted time to do things. Previously I would have gone out. Now I value that time much more.

I do think there are a number of things that make creative pursuits more possible:
1) working a day job -- I am able to switch focus 3 times during the day -- work time, J. time, and me time. For me, I know spending all of my time with J. would probably not work as well, but having some very discrete family time and other discrete work time is very effective.
2) getting your life together -- to do lists, reducing stress, finding help you trust, and a job that isn't *that* demanding.
3) no TV. I never get anything done if I watch TV, even if it's all on DVD. Web surfing can also be bad, and I occasionally institute a "no web surfing before noon" rule to keep myself focused.
4) getting a full night's sleep. I was miserable before J. started sleeping through the night. I think this justifies the maniacal focus I had on the "sleeping through the night thing."

So creative pursuits and children? Definitely!

2 comments:

Prentiss Riddle said...

You only have to shift focus three times a day?! Lucky you!

I always wanted to achieve that kind of clean partitioning of my focus, but I find myself called on to shift among those three modes many times a day. That's not easy for me.

I was once in a group of parents when the subject came up and all of the moms asserted that it was a gender thing, that women can juggle multiple roles and multiple tasks better than men. I'm skeptical, as I usually am about claims of bald gender differences, but that's what all the women in the room believed.

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