Friday, April 12, 2013

Creativity and Creative Constipation

When I'm really stressed, or when I have a lot of things to do, I begin to cut the creation out of my life little by little. It begins with letting my knitting slide, or I start knitting something monotonous, something that requires nothing but rote knitting with no purls and no shaping. During this last period of stress, I had been writing a blog, but even that small bit of writing became too much for me. Finally I can feel all of the products of my creative endeavors swirling through my mind, taunting me with their cathartic properties.
Once I finally get over the stressful situation, all the creative things I could have been doing up until that moment come flooding back to me, and I feel compelled to let it out. Writing, sewing, knitting, creating homeschooling curriculum, painting, and baking all pour out of me, sometimes at the expense of my patience. I suppose you could call it creative diarrhea.
Often I have found myself so focused on a project, particularly when the project is for my children, or if the children are somehow involved in the project, that I cannot be bothered to attend to my basic needs (eating, toilet) or the needs of my children. I've learned that I need to have realistic expectations around these creative endeavors. I cannot expect my children to be as excited about these projects as I am, neither can I expect them to follow explicit instructions and create a perfect craft that looks just like the example that I found a picture of online.
I have to give up that control and let them have their own creative moments, for them and for myself. I will only drive myself crazy trying to compare my children's creations to the perfectly centered intensely mother-supervised example photos. Beyond that, the things I make with my children are special precisely because they aren't perfect - they are a perfect representation of my kids' interpretation. In my own projects, I derive a great deal of pleasure from altering patterns to suit my needs - why should I limit my children?
Part of this parenting journey has ben learning to let go of my own preconceptions and expectations. I have to live in the moment with these small people, to see what inspires them - the foundations of unschooling.

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