Welcome to Creative Mothers – a fortnightly series of guest blogs for people to reflect on the impact of parenthood on their experience of personal creativity. If you would like to take part with your thoughts, please take a look at the Creative Mothers page and do get in touch.
Today I welcome Nadia from ScandiMummy to the Creative Mothers series. Her blog has got to be one of the most stylish little pockets of the Internet I’ve had the pleasure of being invited into.
Here Nadia shares her history in the creative industries and how she has channelled that creativity now – along with some inspirations and challenges that I’m sure a lot of us can relate to.
It’s a wonderful read that for me hits the nail on the head with my experiences in creative industries – namely the, more often than not, lack of creative control and the incompatibility of large parts of the industry with parenthood. Not that it’s all bad but maybe in lots of ways blogging is better…!?
CREATIVITY & MOTHERHOOD
Learning to be myself
My best creative ideas always seem to come at night time. I’ve never quite been able to figure out why this is, but I suppose it complements never having found the classic 9-5 job with the pressure to perform in a set time of the day that appealing. Having lived through a year (and a bit) of early nights, late night, no nights, lots of wake ups and in short very little sleep due to being a new mum my creativity has funnily enough benefitted. There’s been a lot of time to contemplate. The problem has been that there hasn’t always been enough time to put a lot of my new ideas into practice.
My teenage years were spent dreaming of becoming an actress. I was a shy girl who only really seemed to come alive when on stage. I proceeded to write, produce and often act in several school plays and I loved it. I did enjoy the curriculum, but acting and especially a life treading the boards was what I really longed for.
I decided to follow my dream, but took a little detour and ended up with a Master degree in Film and Media studies first. After a year of working in advertising I auditioned for drama school in London and was fortunate enough to be accepted first time around. It was a big step leaving my family in Denmark and taking on a new life in an unknown city having never lived anywhere but Copenhagen. I had visited London and always felt at home here, but it was something else to actually make it my home.
My two years at drama school flew by and soon I was faced with the big, scary world of the arts pursuing agents, attending casting and trying to earn a living. Not an easy feat in an industry that often eats you up and spits you out before you’ve had a chance to say to be or not to be let alone prove your worth. I had jobs on the side to get by waiting for my big break.
As an actor you are often an, shall we call it, outlet for someone else’s creative ideas. Sometimes I think I might have been better off behind the scenes or camera in the role of director as I do love to have creative control. Maybe that’s why starting scandimummy.com has made me feel very fulfilled. It was done on a bit on a whim (after one of those late night bright ideas moments) and I probably wasn’t sure where I was going with it all other than, like so many others venturing into the world of parent blogging, I wanted to document the early years with our little boy. At the beginning it was very much about him; firsts, milestones; pictures and all those beautiful (and sometimes) exhausting moments that fill your life in the early days of motherhood.
After six months of blogging I realised how much I truly loved it all, how it had filled a creative void in my life that was left after leaving, or should I say pausing, my acting career to become a mum. Because this is a problem and something I want to explore further on the blog at some stage (pun intended!). The creative industries do not cater to parents unfortunately. Often no maternity pay, no option for childcare, low pay (especially in theatre) makes it difficult to continue your career after having a child. I contacted Spotlight (the UK’s largest casting site) at the end of my pregnancy to pause my membership while on maternity leave knowing I wouldn’t be pursuing work during that time, only to be told that was not an option. I chose to leave at that point and have yet to sign up again.
The biggest attraction with blogging is that I have creative control and no one gets to tell me how it’s done. I love taking inspiration from other bloggers and I’m sure people have opinions on what I should do differently, but I need to stay true to who I am and as good old Blue eyes sang do it my way. I’ve also always loved to pursue many different paths, perhaps why I became an actress in the first place as it allows me to play around with roles and in a way take on multiple jobs. And even though they say jack of all trades, master of none I feel that I get to explore many of my passions by being a blogger. It combines my love of writing, my newfound obsession with photography, the PR person within me as well as my love of fashion, food, beauty and art and crafts while finding a balance between work and motherhood.
My next step is vlogging and I’m currently working on getting my youtube channel in place. This will be a huge deal for me as deep down I’m still that shy teenage girl and opening up myself to the world via video is a very exposing experience. Also, I’ve only been used to playing other people on screen, hiding behind a character. Now it’s time to show everyone me and that thought does intimidate me to a certain extent. But I love a challenge and I’m passionate about learning and improving my skills. It will take me back to my uni days of video editing and again being able to create something new excites me immensely.
I recently talked about being competitive on the blog and mentioned that Caspian’s spirit is so admirable. I learn from him every day and he is without a doubt my biggest source of inspiration when it comes to feeding my creativity. Tiredness is on the other hand my biggest enemy in this process. I long for more hours in the day, but as much as I want the blog to be successful my most precious work of art is my boy and he deserves my attention before anything else.