As parents of young children we are caught up in the battles and victories of parenting. How can we deny the fact that we felt love at first sight the moment we saw our child and felt this energy within to nurture a new soul to be the best that he/she can be. More than likely, you have spent countless hours worrying, researching, playing and going to different activities ensuring that you left no stone unturned to foster the development of your child. As you are suppose to do this with happiness and being grateful that you are witnessing every milestone, it is very common for the parent of young children to feel lonely, depressed and overwhelmed and wonder “Why am I not happy? or What am I doing?”
I have been a stay at home parent for the last 10 years believing that all my energy should be channeled to my children. I thought I knew what to expect and thought that it would be the best years of my life. How could it not be when I have the privilege of guiding these new souls to discover the world and themselves? The truth is, I suddenly felt overwhelmed, lonely, isolated and felt my own inner thoughts and talents soon fade away. I began to feel irrelevant in society as I chased toddlers, changed diapers, cleaned, and thought of the next meal plan.
As time moved on, I realized that I had become “unhealthy” because I no longer worried about my own development and I suffered, my family suffered and society suffered because I fell into the trap of parents with young children never taking time for themselves. I did the art, music, gymnastic classes with my children thinking this would be adequate to fulfill my own desire for creative development. Even though, I enjoyed the classes and making art with my children, I still felt a void at the end because it wasn’t at the level I needed as an individual. However, how could I possibly think of my own development at the expense of my child? The feeling of guilt would quickly push away any thoughts of my own time and I would only dream of my own creative opportunities away from home.
Call me late bloomer, but I now realize that this was a foolish and unrealistic approach to raising my children. My advice is to make that time for yourself and let go of the “guilt” card and rather see “me time” as a gift to your family. It is so important to continue to explore your creative potential and unleash your true inner beings for your children, spouse, community and career.
It is our responsibility to continue our own development and build on the skills and talents that we have to offer. Take an art class, music class, join a soccer club, join a dance class, join a book club. Think of what makes you happy and relaxed as an individual and start there. In Creative Confidence written by Tom and David Kelley they discuss the importance of continuing to be creative to solve problems, see new ways of doing things and unleash a potential that we may not even imagine we have.
You can easily find creative moments in your daily life to take a full breath and allow your creativity to flow. Some examples in everyday life is color with crayons, learn to visualize your communication through simple drawings, plant a garden, dance in your living room, sing in the shower. Learn to reflect on your talents and tap into your inner being and challenge your assumptions that you have about yourself. The energy of determination and patience of facing new challenges will ripple out into the people around you and most importantly you will be teaching your children how to persevere through new challenges. This is the best gift you can ever give them.
“Throughout our lives, forces can push us toward or away from reaching our creative potential…What matters most in the end, though, is this: your belief in your capacity to create positive change and the courage to take action. Creativity, far from requiring rare gifts and skills, depends on what you believe you can do with the talents and skills you already have.” –Tom Kelley
Parents, please take the challenge and unleash your creative potential because we need your talents in your communities, your families, and most importantly your children need it.