January 27, 2020
Did you know that Social Print Studio is women-led and ⅓ of our 11 person company are parents? We’ve got 9 kids between us! The new year has us thinking about our creative aspirations and parenting goals and we wanted to share some thoughts we’ve had lately on parenting and creativity.
We recently stumbled upon this old post by Swissmiss about parenthood. Tina said this was one of the best things she’d read about parenthood up until that point (ahem, 2012) and man, we agree. Some of us are parents, many of us are creatives—or at least people trying to connect to their creativity through our 9-5, our hobbies, or our passion projects. We’re going to go out on a limb and guess that all of us parents have felt the angst associated with trying to be a good parent and trying to raise good little people and still trying to develop ourselves into the people we want to be; maybe you’ll feel a similar gut punch when looking at this graphic and then reading this line:
Boy, does it. Now we’re just past the brand new year, a new decade no less, goals / aspirations / dreams / guilt are brewing and maybe you too are trying to reconcile what has been vs. what should be. What does it look like to be a good parent? What do we want for our kids? What do we want for ourselves? How do we make that all happen?? And other all-consuming existential questions that feel much weightier when there are kid(s) depending on us every day.
But that one line has us rethinking the overwhelm. The one percent makes all the difference. If the one percent does in fact make all the difference, that means that even the tiniest incremental changes can and do make the difference. Maybe not earth-shattering improvements, but maybe? Perhaps even the smallest things you’d like to do more often, things that you know bring you joy, make you laugh, get in the flow, or feel peace, are within reach and waiting in the wings to tip those darned percentages in your favor. So join us in a little experiment, will you? Who says no to a little more happiness?
1. Reading can be a transportive, cathartic activity. What parent doesn’t want more of those? If you want to read more fiction instead of looking at Instagram every night for an hour, start tonight. Turn off your phone by 8 PM most evenings and you’ll read at least 3 books within the next few months. “Books are uniquely portable magic” — Stephen King. We concur, Stephen.
2. If you want to start exercising more but also want to spend more time with your kids and don’t know how that’s going to happen, you could combine them. Throw a spontaneous dance party a few times a week and dance with your kids. Buy a disco ball. Create a playlist no one can help but get down to. Do it in the morning, after school, or before bed. You’re the grown-up. You get to make the rules.
3. If you want to eat more vegetables and less meat in 2020, start making funky salads with whatever you have on hand. Make a game of it and request your child be your sous-chef and create original recipes. We’ve been loving these salads.
4. Turn on “wellbeing” on your phone. Here’s how to do it on an Android, Google Pixel, and an iPhone. It’ll turn your phone on silent at the same time every night so you never have to remember to power down from work/social media/notifications and focus on the people in front of you.
5. Find a podcast you can listen to with your kid(s). We love Two Princes (LGBTQ friendly), Wow in the World, Storynory, Stories Podcast, Circle Round, Chompers (two minute shows to listen to while brushing teeth), and The Alien Adventures of Finn Caspian. Try pairing your new podcast with a craft date. Make a photobook of your summer vacation or grab some twine, branches, and photo prints and make a wall hanging together.
6. Color together. Just that. Sit at the table and color together. Kids love hanging out on their terms, so let them pick whatever art/craft they want to do, sit down, and do it with them. Even if it’s turning a box into a car for the baby.
7. Go for a nature walk. Collect cool stuff, walk, talk. It’s simple but means a lot. Store your treasures in a wooden box.
8. Take your kid to work with you and introduce them to everybody, share a hobby project you’re working on with them, or tell them about a funny thing one of your friends did. Include them in your life and show them who you are.
9. If your child can read, start passing notes. Write a short letter or postcard and stick it to the fridge. Don’t say anything about it and instead let them find it. Ask questions and include in the note that your child can write back in a different colored pen and you will respond. You’ve just begun a snail mail pen pal exchange that just might be your new favorite thing.
10. If you love to take pictures and you wish you spent more time showing your 7-year-old your vintage camera, schedule a camera date this Saturday. They’ll love it, you’ll love it, and now you’ve started a Saturday tradition of taking pictures of birds by the river together. One that your kid will probably remember forever. And we know how important family traditions are.
How are you embracing your creativity as a parent? Sharing your curiosity with your child(ren)? Filling yourself up creatively while still serving and caring for your kids? We’d love to hear. Share with us on Instagram, Facebook, and Twitter.