I read a brilliant article the other day in the newish (it launched March 2019) parenting magazine Motherdom, a magazine which I cannot recommend highly enough. The article, “The Science Behind Creativity and Maternal Mental Health” by Becca Moore, talked about the importance of creativity and maternal mental health. This is a subject I’m finding myself becoming more and more passionate about, especially as I feel in Ireland there isn’t enough, if anything at all, to look after the mental health of new parents. But mental health isn’t just important for parents, it’s equally important for all of us and creativity can play a part in this for everyone.
I’ve always loved being creative, from making my own range of dolls out of ordinary white paper, that was drawn on, cut out, glued and stuffed with cotton wool as a young child (yes really! I honestly thought people would want to buy them! Not sure who….) to mainly writing now, it’s something that’s just been a natural part of my life.
A few years ago I went through a phase of card making and, whatever the outcome, I just loved the process (not sure that the same could be said for my husband as he got used to living amongst bits of cut up paper, wool, buttons and anything else I thought I could use!). At that point in my life I was finding things a bit stressful and found that spending hours using colours and pretty things to make something was just so therapeutic.
I love crocheting too, my skills are fairly basic but it’s so relaxing. A few years ago I bought a pack to make a blanket designed by Lucy at Attic 24, so far I think I have made just four squares of it, which were such a pleasure to make, however this year it’s my aim to get back to that blanket and finish it.
For me creativity is a survival tool for life, a place of comfort. Whenever things are tough I find myself retreating into it, be it writing, making something, playing the flute, simply reading or just enjoying other people’s creativity. Since becoming a mum I’ve realised how lucky I am to have this, it’s a bit of me, and something that can give me “me time” without leaving the house.
And do you know what? You don’t have to be amazingly creative or talented to find solace in creativity, which is possibly a misconception by some. One of my favourite things to do is play the piano; I’m mainly self-taught, not great at it or that confident but I can literally spend hours playing away, it’s my chill out space and it really is just for me as it’s not something I plan on sharing with the world! Creativity is certainly something that I want to try to make sure is a natural part of my son’s life (in a few years’ time my husband will find himself living amongst glitter, paint, paper, pipe cleaners – you name it! And I can’t wait for the glitter – I love a bit of glitter!). After all, with such an emphasis on mental health and well-being these days I feel that by doing this I’ll be equipping my little man with essential tools for life, something that he can always turn to and find comfort in.
So embrace creativity in whatever way you can, whether or not you deem yourself to be creative. That doesn’t matter. What matters is equipping yourself with more tools to navigate this crazy thing called life – whether you have children or not.