Facebook, CNN, People, Pinterest, YouTube, Gmail, Gmail, and Gmail just one more time. These are the windows that flutter open and closed on my web browser. When I have a free moment these days, my brain wants to check out. You see, I am a new mom. I have managed to keep a baby alive for almost 10 weeks. This baby has good days and fussy days.
On the fussy days, sometimes he only catches winks of sleep… 5 minutes here, 20 minutes there. Those are the days I stare at the clock, waiting for my husband to come home to do the handoff. But then there days like today when he is sleeping for a luxurious *almost* 3 hour nap (everyone keep your fingers crossed). And I’m on Pinterest.
I have time right now, and, mind you, I do know that it is perfectly okay to check the latest recipes and design ideas. I love imagining new kitchen spaces, and I dream of redoing our bathroom. Pinterest helps me greatly in these moments.
But the truth is, I’m a bit scared to dip my toe back into writing and being creative. My creativity seems aimless. Like I am drifting in a lake without a direction because I am not sure where to go. I would rather whip up a batch of cookies – and again, I know that is fine. I’m trying to give myself as much grace as I can in this new season too. God knows that we all need a little more grace in our lives as recovering perfectionists.
I know I won’t be a perfect mom, but something in me thinks that I should be using my time more productively, more perfectly. A judging voice tells me to Power through the next book! Get to work! Luckily, I then hear my friends’, Christin’s and Karen’s, voices, reminding me they felt like their brains disappeared the first year of their babies’ lives. This is truly what I need to hear – that my life has shifted; my brain has changed. It’s wired to hear little sighs and gets excited by tiny coos and smiles. I am one of those parents with 200 new pictures on my phone, and I could tell you more about poop than I care to know. That is my new direction right now.
But the other truth is, I’m missing my work. I love that my brain has changed, and I don’t long to do things like before – that’s not the point. The point is, in addition to keeping my baby alive, I need to write to feel alive too. And right now, I just need to try. It doesn’t need to be perfect or take up hours of my day. And while I get more excited about baby giggles than word counts these days, I am thriving off of glimmers of ideas and chicken scratch notes as well as seeing my baby grow.
Take last night for example.
“Don’t lose that,” my husband whispered as I scribbled down bullet-pointed words last night on magazine subscription tear out. It was 11:00pm. The baby was sleeping soundly, and there it was: a flash, a bolt of creativity. Write this down, a voice says, and I follow this fictitious coach’s instruction because it is gently teaching me to reclaim my creativity in new ways. The voice is showing me how not to be scared; I just need to listen.
That voice tells me it’s not about scheduling out every nap time right now for research or free writing. It’s not even about finding a proper pad of paper. It’s about savoring the sparks of creativity that come to me at (sometimes) inopportune moments when I want to be sleeping. I don’t have to bust out 1,000 words these days. In these instances, I am learning to banish another form of perfectionism and discover my new brain. A brain that allows old passions to live alongside new treasures with a reinvented productivity spectrum.
These late night musings are a way that is happening. The scraps of paper around the house feel like fireflies captured in a jar to keep for later. If I don’t collect them now, the jar will only collect dust. That scares me more. So I write sentences now instead of paragraphs.
And yes, I was on Pinterest today, but here I am, writing 700 words. It feels good. It’s not perfect– it’s not a chapter, or a book. But it is the start of discovering a new way of being in the world. I may not know where I am going yet, but it feels good to start slowly paddling. Which begs the question, what old passions and new treasures are you savoring today?