Creativity vs. Consumption

So, I’m a dad now!

It’s pretty great. I get 16 weeks paid leave from Vox Media as a new parent, which is phenomenal.

As of writing this, I’m back on paternity leave, and Bri has returned to work. This means I’m in full-time dad mode.

Being a parent is tough! While a three-month old is relatively immobile and predictable, they still require near-constant attention during their awake hours. They’re not yet to the stage of self-entertainment. I can deal with this.

However, it’s also healthy to address my own personal needs. I’m a creative person.

I’ve learned in recent years that if I don’t express that creativity on a regular basis, it starts to affect me mentally.

What is creativity?

I express my creativity through a number of outlets:

  • Writing (I’m doing this now)
  • Building products and software
  • Playing piano
  • Cooking
  • Organizing events and meetups

After finishing any one of those tasks, I feel a weight lifted off my shoulders. In some cases, it keeps me going for a few days!

However, almost all of these things are not possible while actively caring for a child. I’ve discovered over the past few months that it’s much easier to consume.

What is consumption?

Here’s what I consume these days:

  • TV
  • Movies
  • Watching people play video games online
  • Playing video games (Fortnite)
  • Listening to music
  • Listening to podcasts
  • Mindlessly browsing through social media

These things are so much easier to do while feeding, caring for or hanging out with an infant.

What about reading?

Gosh, I never read books. I’ll sometimes read articles on my phone during transition periods, but real paper books? No way.

I’m pretty bummed about this. I have friends who read dozens and dozens of books every year. Last year, I maybe read three books total.

But I’ve found books are much more difficult to read with a baby in tow. It’s tricker to hold a book while feeding a baby a bottle than it is to simply click “Play” on an Apple TV remote. Plus, it’s possible to listen to a TV or a movie without actually looking at it.

I guess I could go down the route of audiobooks, but I have this literal stack of paper books on my nightstand waiting to be read that I can’t seem to crack into.

Consuming isn’t all bad, though. I do enjoy watching interesting things. I could tell you all you want to know about the Baltimore drug trade after watching Season 1 of The Wire, for example. Yes, I am now an expert.

Finding a balance

It’s tricky to find a balance between creation and consumption. I definitely consume way more than I create right now, and that makes me sad.

I’m going to try harder to focus and carve out time to be creative during naptime over the next few months. That equates to about three or four 20-minute chunks throughout the day.

And sometimes, I’ll take a nap or take a shower instead. Sue me.

Anyway, my son is about to wake up. I knocked out this entire post during his morning nap 🎉 Please clap.