No sleep, no time for inspiration, no space to think?
It’s fair to think having kids sounds the death knell for creativity. After all, if creativity is dependent on seeing what others don’t and creating new ideas, it has to be harder when all of a sudden, your life is on a strict timetable of making it home to do dinner, bath and bedtime.
But I’ve actually found that instead of ending my creative life—parenthood has enriched it.
Yes, the luxury of time to meaningfully think through problems has been seriously curtailed. My favorite space for creativity—on a run—is pretty much nonexistent now. And my favorite time to think—early in the morning—must now be used only for precious sleep. But as neuroscience professor Arne Dietrich’s research found, there are different ways a brain conceives creative ideas. Some are deliberate but some are spontaneous.
Spontaneous creativity means that instead of working through a problem, you focus on a completely different thing—such as when my boisterous 18-month-old toddler is simultaneously trying to eat his blue crayon, get me to be a horse and “accidentally” drops his cup of water across the room.