My husband and I struggled for nine years to start a family-infertility and reoccurring miscarriage made it seem like it was never going to happen. And just when we were getting used to the idea that we would never have kids, surprise! We ended up having twins.
Suddenly I was mother to two newborns. The first year of their life is a bit hazy. I'm really glad I took a lit of pictures. After a year, the shock had worn off and I started to feel like I was able to keep the small humans alive.
But then the boredom set in.
It felt like every day was the same.
Picking up the toys was such a chore. A big part of that was not knowing how to put them away. I had baskets and boxes everywhere and I made several attempts to sort by types of activities.
But my brain was so fried with decision fatigue, from just keeping the little humans alive all day every day. It was too many decisions to make. So everything would just get tossed together.
But it didn’t make me happy. I didn’t like looking at it. Even when the toys were “picked up” I didn’t feel satisfied.
My creative spirit was frustrated at the chaos. Every time I put things away, I was stomping on my creative spirit, out of necessity for survival. Which meant every time I had to clean up the mess, I hated it more and more. And grew more and more resentful.
ESPECIALLY when my work would be immediately ruined by the tiny humans that I was working so hard to keep alive. It was a vicious cycle.
I loved making beautiful things. Sharing beautiful things I had made. But now, it seemed like I couldn’t make anything beautiful. The day to day was boring, monotonous and ugly.
One day, I stood in my living room, surrounded by a cloud of toys. I had nowhere to walk, or sit or breathe. And I couldn’t face the task of putting them away.
I just started kicking them into piles on the floor. I looked down and realized that I had pushed all the green toys together in a pile. And something inside me relaxed. Behold! Order! Beauty!
In less than five minutes I had sorted all the toys in to eight piles. Red, Orange, Yellow, Green, Blue, Purple, White, and Black. My floor was clear, and I had a beautiful rainbow to look at.
Maybe sorting things by the rainbow is not for you. Sort by materials. Sort by sounds. Sort by size. Put all the tall things on the bottom shelf, and all the short things on the top. Put all the fuzzy stuff in one basket. All the wood stuff in another.
Don’t overthink it. The point is to find the thing that takes the least amount of brain power on your part, but satisfies your creative needs. It should take your zero brain energy to decide where to put the stuff.
You can do this with the rest of your house work too.
Put all the clothes into like colored piles. Fold one pile at a time. Sort the picture books by height. When I’m doing dishes or loading up the dishwasher, I always do it by categories. All the glass cups. Then all the tea cups. Then all the plastic cups. Put all the spoons together (this makes it easy to put away). This makes is so much easier to just blitz through a task, because I don’t have to think, what comes next?
You aren't making a huge masterpiece, but you are using your creative energy.
You are keeping the spark alive, and removing the frustration you are feeling because you don't have the time or energy to work on the big creative projects.
But you can find inspiration in the small things that surround you and keep the spark alive.