How Making Space for Creativity Helped This Mom Get Unstuck

Jan 03, 2022

This week's episode of the Mother Plus Podcast features our conversation with a truly dynamic woman-- Kimberlyn Owens-Hughes. Kimberlyn is a mother plus creative consultant who lives in Chile with her partner and eight-year-old daughter. We had the most inspiring and animated discussion with her about creativity, confidence, allowing our kids to sit with their own discomfort, and how to stay true to ourselves. We learned so much while talking to her, and we think you will, too. 

Creativity is the first thing to go when we are exhausted

Kimberlyn introduced us to a fascinating concept called the "exhaustion funnel," and noted that when we are burned out, we often prioritize other things--namely work, chores, and parenting-- above our personal needs. She mentioned that rest makes the cut more often than creativity, and that part of her work is helping women make space for that essential creativity. She mentioned how easy it is for moms to forget their creativity and how it feels to let our imaginations run wild. 

When Kimberlyn was feeling stuck, she told us that she realized she was putting creativity in the same position as productivity. As a coach, here's how she describes her work: 

"What I do as a creativity coach is essentially to help women find the space to create  through rest, through even exercise: it's just that creating that mental space so that we can create and do the work that we're meant to do."

In addition to coaching, she also offers a co-work space and has regular "Coffee and Create" sessions. 

Kimberlyn emphasized that all of us have creativity in us, and that it doesn't necessarily look like art, music, or writing. She says, "All of us have a creative gene. All of us have the capacity to use our unique gifts to create something in the world."

The To-Do List vs To-Be List: How do you want to feel during the day? 

Another completely revolutionary concept Kimberlyn introduced us to is the idea of having a to-BE list rather than just a to-DO list, and how to merge those two lists to achieve truly dynamic results. The big question to ask yourself every day is "How do I want to feel today?" Then, as you go about your daily tasks, you can filter them through the to-be list and make sure you aren't forgetting how you want to feel. 

"When I do prioritize creativity and I make that space, it seems like everything else falls into place.

Setting boundaries with our kids to foster their own independence and creativity

Ugh, boundaries! Such a beautiful concept, yet so hard to put into practice. We talked with Kimberlyn about how hard it can be to watch our kids sit with their discomfort, but how important it is. Not just for us, but for them. 

"And finally you get to this place where you realize that also,  I can't solve all of her problems and trying to solve her discomfort or her lack of entertainment is actually preventing her from being a creative soul and creating her own entertainment."

Yes! Trying to protect our kids from experiencing discomfort, boredom, or as we discussed, "sitting with their shit," actually harms their own creative problem-solving process. Boundaries are hard, but they help us create space to be our best selves as well as teaching them how to trust and believe in themselves-- really!

Using connection and community to get unstuck

Stephanie described Kimberlyn as a "creativity doula," helping other people get unstuck. In order to do that so effectively, first she had to encounter her own stuckness. She's explored many things that help her get into a creative mode (dancing, listening to music, walking in nature, etc) in order to find the space to do things that "are important, but not necessarily urgent." Let that one sink in-- how often do we put off things that are essential to us simply because they aren't as urgent as our jobs, getting groceries, preparing meals, or doing other household tasks? 

She realized that sometimes the solitary paths to "getting in the zone" aren't enough. Kimberlyn told us that "One of the key pieces to getting unstuck was actually talking to other people about it and the social interaction. As an only child, as an introvert, sometimes I forget that there is so much value in this community and talking about what you're doing."

We love the idea of a creative co-work space where women can virtually be together to help each other stay focused and accountable, but also gain support and inspiration from one another. Community is such an important element in remembering who we are. Which brings us to the big question we ask all our guests: "What is it about motherhood that makes us forget our identities?" 

The role confidence plays in moms forgetting our identities and losing our spark

Does this sound familiar? "And then I became a mom. I felt like my creativity was gone. Creativity has always been my jam. I just forgot about it. I feel like I lost my capacity to play."

Here at Mother Plus, we spend a lot of time talking about remembering ourselves. Not so we can relive the past, but to help us reconnect with the spark of who we really are. As Kimberlyn so perfectly said,

"Part of getting into that creative zone is going back to the things we loved when we were 16 years old, because it's that woman that we were before having kids; it's really tapping back into that spark and back into that joy."

But she also presented us with an idea that we had never considered before: that we experience a loss of confidence in motherhood that impacts our identities and our spark. We talked about how much control is lost during new motherhood and how that can rattle our confidence and make us forget ourselves. 

Another factor is how easy it is to forget to look within after we become mothers--we are bombarded by so many "experts" on the outside that we can stray even farther from our inner selves. 

"We don't trust ourselves. And so we try to trust other people. We try to follow these gurus to tell us how we're supposed to parent."

Mother-Plusser Takeaways: 

  1.  Make space for creativity, regardless of what creativity looks like for you. 
  2. Ask howself how you want to feel during the day: merge your to-BE list with your to-DO list.
  3. Don't feel guilty for setting boundaries with your kids: It's good for you AND them. 
  4. Remember who you were before you kids, and follow that path to your spark. 

You can find Kimberlynn on Instagram, and listen to our conversation with her here

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