I’ve never been very good in a classroom. I don’t do schedules, organization, or focus very well. I suppose that’s the story of most ADHD people. It’s really hard to listen for an hour to ANYTHING, let alone something I’m being forced to pretend I’m interested in. I remember being a freshman in college and having my notebook confiscated by my German professor because she couldn’t deal with me scribbling away during class. I had to explain to her that I processed information that way. She didn’t buy it, but I aced her class, so she had to let it go.
So, that’s why I thought it was kind of funny that I felt lead to start taking classes again. Yes, having a new baby is stressful in its own way, and there’s a very real level of exhaustion that comes from being responsible for a tiny human 100% of the time. Beyond that though, this is the first time in my adult life where there was not some major life change looming. Nobody is changing jobs, leaving the state, getting married, moving to Australia, or giving birth anytime in the immediate future.
Now 8 weeks out from Jude’s arrival, the hormonal haze has lifted and I finally feel like myself again. Without the insanity of a new marriage and pregnancy and moving and trans-Pacific flights, my mind is clear. With that, though I felt challenged. What do I do now?
I haven’t talked about it much, but I imagine this is probably pretty common among new moms. Who are you outside of dairy cow and diaper changer? What else do I have to offer? Am I still needed at my job? Because dude, I spend half my day with a baby attached to me and the other half trying to make sure that everyone has clothes to wear and dishes to eat off of… and then making sure there’s food to put on those dishes. It’s hard to remember what it’s like going to play 4 hour gigs and spend nights writing music with a living room full of people. What did I even do before I got pregnant? It’s a weird season, but it has been so exciting.
All of that to say, I signed up for some continuing ed courses in creative writing and photography and oh my gosh, it has been a game changer. I thought I might be crazy doing this while adjusting to life with a newborn, but it hasn’t been that way at all. In fact, I feel more productive all around with an outlet that challenges me and lets me think creatively every day. Being able to produce something besides milk and clean laundry again is an incredible feeling.
Now, even though I cry a little bit when I think about leaving him to go to the office eventually, I find myself planning projects for work when I get back. Creativity begets creativity!
So, what are you not pursuing? What would help give you an outlet that you don’t currently have? Challenging yourself doesn’t have to be miserable. In fact, it can be a whole lot of fun.