When I look back at my pre-motherhood self, I feel sad. Not because I miss my freedom, or because I'd like to go back to those wild-and-crazy childfree years.
I feel sad because things really sucked back then. Things were really hard.
Which makes me laugh. Because of course, day-to-day life is harder with a child than without one. Because of course, I have to do so much more in a day now than I ever did before, on so much less sleep. Because I had so much freedom back then... and I wasted it on worrying.
Worrying about whether or not I was good enough. A good enough writer. A good enough employee. A good enough person.
There's something about bringing a seven pound human into the world that makes all that worrying seem kind of silly.
People are often surprised when I tell them I didn't start my personal writing practice until after my baby was born. I was writing articles for magazines and websites, ghostwriting blog posts, you name it. But I couldn't write creatively -- I was too afraid of writing badly.
I also didn't start Nest & Story until after my daughter was born. I did my Amherst Writers and Artists Method training when she was seven months old, popping out during breaks to breastfeed. Over the next few months, I built my website while she napped. I didn't have time to make it perfect, but I launched it anyway. I booked the space for my first writing workshop, fully expecting absolutely nobody to show up.
But they did.
Parenthood shattered my expectations of myself -- my expectations of perfection. And you know what? Creativity is SO MUCH EASIER without them.
Creativity is about trying. It's about failing, about falling and getting back up again. Watching my daughter take joy in scribbling on construction paper, with no expectations of herself beyond having fun -- it cracks my heart open.
It makes me so, so happy to do what I do.