We’ve all heard the instructions from the inflight video telling us in the event of an airline emergency to put on our own oxygen masks before assisting others. Our heads totally get this—we’re more helpful to others when we are . . . well, for lack of a better word, upright. But as mothers, however, we often don’t make decisions based solely on our heads. There’s an awful lot of heart that goes into parenting our little (and not-so-little) ones. And that heart of ours can get tiiiiiiired.
The Motherhood Journey Can Be Tiring
One thing I’m learning as I travel along this motherhood journey is how easy it can be to start putting oxygen masks on others: our kids, our spouse, our friends, our church . . . for Pete’s sake, our dogs. Any mom knows this by how quickly someone or something knocks (scratches) on the bathroom door during our 90 seconds of alone time. We often feel like we’re needed by everyone, everywhere, all the time. And if we’re not intentional, we put ourselves at the end of that long line and leave her waiting and waiting and waiting.
By the time we’ve taken care of everyone’s schedules and activities and needs, our souls can feel a tad lightheaded from the lack of oxygen, if not passed out. Proverbs 17:22 says, “A joyful heart is good medicine, but a crushed spirit dries up the bones.” We’ve all had that “bone dry” feeling when our hearts are feeling a bit joy-less, haven’t we?
Living Creatively As Mothers
So what’s a mom to do in order to live in her calling of motherhood while at the same time, also live as an authentic, creative woman?
I was contemplating this oxygen mask issue while I was on a plane recently, coming back from a long weekend with my mastermind group. We are a group of Christian women creatives who found each other simply by being brave and taking a risk when one of us started asking women they admired on social media to form a group. We have lovingly/jokingly titled ourselves “The Champions,” partly because we are helping each other grow our businesses, but mostly because we are the biggest champions of each other. We’re all in somewhat different fields—with a little overlap—and all of us love Jesus.
This group of fantastic women—most of us moms, all of us wives—gathered under the roof of an adorable Airbnb, and methodically brainstormed, strategized, encouraged, laughed, and flat-out filled each other’s emotional and creative tanks. We shared stories. So many stories. There was laughter. Some tears. A lot of vulnerability. It was one of the best weekends of my life.
But our creative oxygen masks don’t necessarily need to be weekends away (although they are WONDERFUL!) There were seasons of my life that it would’ve been nearly impossible to do it. In the busy, “taking care of little ones” seasons, though, there are plenty of ways to put on our creative oxygen masks. And it can be as simple as marking intentional time on our calendars to do something we love.
Putting Creativity On Our Calendars
What would it mean to put in a daily reminder to read or listen to an audiobook or a favorite podcast rather than just wish for the time to do it? What if we scheduled a meeting with ourselves to go for a walk outdoors or hit the gym? Is there a recurring time we could write in a journal or schedule brainstorming time for a blog? Painting, knitting? Volunteering? Cycling, home organizing, yoga with goats? What if we were brave and put the neighborhood mom’s group get-together on our calendar and actually met new people? Are there people or causes that are close to our hearts—and would benefit from us making them a priority on our calendars?
And if you’re struggling to remember what makes you feel creatively fulfilled, maybe it’s time to ask a friend or a family member what they see as your strengths or gifts? Maybe they will remind you what an amazing baker you are or love your singing or photography skills. Maybe someone reaches out and asks you to help her with a resume . . . and you think, “this totally floats my boat!”
Pay attention to what happens with your energy and stamina and all-around joy in your heart as you intentionally schedule time in your day to live a creative life. My guess is that it will positively affect your motherhood. Because when our creative oxygen masks are flowing, we tend to be better equipped to be the women God has called us to be in all areas of our lives.