My son is just about to turn 6 weeks old, and I feel like the happiest and proudest dad alive. It’s been an exhausting 6 weeks, but also the most profound event in my life. It’s amazing to watch him grow, stare so intensely into my eyes, and hear his little baby sounds (and big farts).
As I dive into fatherhood, there’s a little voice in my head saying, “How on Earth will I be able to keep up my creative passions and career while also being a father?” Our schedule right now is, well, non existent. There’s no routine. Life is pretty much going at this little dude’s speed, and there doesn’t seem to be any time for anything else. Being that I absolutely adore him I can’t complain here, but it does make me wonder how I’ll be able to continue my cinematic practice, build a career as a writer/director/editor, and provide emotional and financial support for my family. This is, I’m sure, what all parents must go through, and I now have a first hand experience of the trials and tribulations (and awesomeness) of being a parent.
Do I have answers? No. But I do have some thoughts on how to keep that creative flame burning while stepping into parenthood. These thoughts are merely just me trying things out and by no means have any scientific evidence. :)
1. This intense schedule that newborns have will taper off into a more fixed routine. (Or so I’m told!). Newborns have to eat every 2 or so hours. All the time. That’s right, every 2 hours. So this means I and my wife haven’t seen sleep longer than about 3-4 hours for the last 6 weeks. It’s intense to put it mildly. But as I’m learning, this crazy schedule begins to even out. The baby will start to figure out day from night, have to eat less often (at least at night), and become a bit more predictable with wants and needs. There is light at the end of this tunnel.
The interesting thing here is sleep deprivation. On one hand, I’m so tired that I have no idea what day or time it is, and I feel like a zombie. On the other hand I’ve been having these weird and spontaneous ideas for the films I’m working on that I can only thank the exhaustion for. So now I religiously carry a mini notepad and pen with me (I did before too but now more than ever) so I can jot whatever down. I also have been using my phone’s notepad a lot more. Although I don’t like using the phone to do creative things, at this point I’ll use whatever I can to get the idea down to remember it.
2. Work out a schedule with your partner. I’m lucky enough to have literally the most amazing life partner ever, so we work out times in the day (if possible) where I can work and write. So far I do this at home in case she needs me during these times. And sometimes it’s only 15min, sometimes an hour. I take what I can get. I can feel myself becoming more efficient with even the shortest period of time. This is something that I recommend to anyone even those without children. Give yourself a time limit to work. This limitation can have very positive and rewarding effects.
3. Talk to your baby about what you’re working on. Sometimes I’ll just tell him what I’m thinking about, what ideas I’ve been playing around with, or even try to tell him the story I’m writing from start to finish. This has been fun and also gives unexpected clarity to the stories. It kind of forces me to think “how do I tell this story so even a baby can understand?” It has taught me to distill the story to its essence, which has really helped with the big picture brainstorming. Plus it’s just fun to tell your baby what your doing.
These are just 3 points to start, and I’ll have more as life goes on.
I’d love to hear what you all think! Any words of wisdom from parents and others? Feel free to comment!
Happy new year and happy parenting:)