When mamahood and life feels busy enough, how do we make time for what fills our soul? This mama of five shares how her creativity is her saving grace when it comes to her family of seven.
Just for a moment, think about this:
five children – from twenty years old down to two years old.
Yep, pretty amazing, right?
When most of your adult life has been defined by mamahood, how you do not totally lose yourself completely?
For mama of five, Jasmine Mansbridge, her creativity has kept her balanced. Her commitment to, and passion for, her art has helped her stay sane in the years of mamahood, and has allowed her to feel content in a way she had never imagined.
Creativity is key to our happiness, mamas.
As Brene Brown shares on this podcast with Oprah on her new Super Soul Podcast, ‘unused creativity “Unused creativity is not benign. It metastasizes. It turns into grief, rage, judgement, sorrow, shame.”
I want to just highlight that again, mamas –
Unusued creativity – meaning that part of you that is inherently and divinely creative – if it goes unused, it will turn bad. It will turn into bitterness, anger, resentment. We all must have a creative outlet – we all must feel creative in some way in our lives. Whether it’s painting, sewing, cooking, or just the way you through your scarf over your dress, it’s important.
Which is why Happy Mama is so committed to celebrating how mamas stay creative while raising their babies.
And why Jasmine is such an inspiration.
Below, she shares how she’s managed to balance her family of seven with her own creative needs as an artist and an author.
Enjoy, and be inspired to find your own way back to your creative self.
“I was 16 when I left home, and the first thing I did when I got my little flat was get some paints and canvas. I am a really high energy person, and without my creative practice, I literally burned myself out. It was a really unsettled time for me, but my painting was what I would come home to. And then I was pregnant and married at 17, had a baby when I was 18, and throughout that time, I had my painting. When you’ve got a baby and an extremely young husband and all your friends do what they like when they like, you get pretty isolated.
But my painting was my therapy. It’s always been my company.
I end up quite irritable if I’m not doing something with my hands. Even when we’re going on a family holiday, I’ll bring some stitching with me. I need that meditative space that I get into when I’m doing something. I know it’s really hard when you’ve got small children because they take up your hands, they take up your arms, they take up everything really, but it’s about using those small spaces when you think I should actually wash the dishes or I should go and do some food prep, and instead taking half an hour for yourself. Consciously choose to do something creative. For me, that always puts me in such a better headspace and gives me the energy to go back into the mama space.
There were times I definitely could have gone down the antidepressant path, but my creativity got me through.
“Mamahood can be endless. You can start to feel you’re not doing anything creative, and then resentment creeps in and resentment is such a joy killer. You start resenting the caregiving to your family, you start to distance yourself from your kids or partner. I’ve become really good at recognising that now and I try and paint everyday in the evenings once everyone is in bed. Even if it’s just for an hour, an hour and a half. It’s a bit like exercise – you know once you start walking or get to the gym, you’re so glad you did? Painting is very often a similar process for me.
Once I’m in my studio, I feel like all the thoughts drop away – I’m in the zone and I’m painting and it’s very much time where I think about my day. It’s what I need to be able to manage a big family. Two of my oldest children are in university now, and they often call me to talk through their day when I’m painting. I’ll call them and put them on speaker and just talk through their day. They need me just as much as the younger ones, and this way, I can be there for them.
The thing I’ve learnt is: you have to be intentional to be creative.
It has to be something that, like exercise, you actually prioritize. Make it easy to access and around you, so you can pick it up when you have a moment. Make it normal for your kids to see you doing something creative.
Yes, it’s important we have our own freedoms and creativity as mamas, but we also need to make sure we’re handing that down to our children too. I don’t think we value that enough – to value our role as raising the next generation of creative, compassionate people. And to do that, we need to make it normal. And we need to do it ourselves.”
Jasmine Mansbridge is a mama to five, author of ‘There’s a Paintbrush in my Coffee’ and artist.