Working with baby – working with toddler

by Kristina Gavran

When Tina and I started notnow Collective, my son was four months old. I was a mother for the first time, scared that I will never work again and desperately feeling that I don’t have time for myself or creativity in general. Tina, my colleague and a mother of two sons, had a mysterious smile on her face, and only now I know what that smile meant (or should I say, I only half-know as I still don’t have that second child). And I know this: working while having older kids around is so much more difficult then when they are babies.


You are wondering why is there a photo of tomatoes in this post? Keep on reading 🙂

When we started working, my son used to sleep 2+1+2 hours during the day. That means I had 5 hours to work on my theatre projects (and back then I was complaining about that! How I wish I had those 5 hours now)! Even when he was not sleeping, it was easy to push him in the pram or cuddle him gently so that I could continue with my meeting or writing. But now, he is a toddler, or should I say – a runner. He is running like crazy, throwing balls, climbing slides, pushing and jumping. He needs active  attention every single second. Have I mentioned he sleeps 1 and a half hours per day? Yes, what perfect working hours!

So, I start working in the evening, when he finally goes to sleep, but I am too tired from all the running, climbing, throwing balls, sliding after him. Once again, I ask myself – how will I manage it? Are there some tricks to occupy him whilst Tina and I are rehearsing/writing grant applications/responding to emails, or when I am writing a play? How can I be creative while playing with him at the same time? Can he be a part of the creative process? What can his presence in the rehearsal room bring at this stage? As we are planning the tour of Wonderwoman, I guess the answers will soon become apparent.

Motherhood brought a lot: I am more focused, I appreciate my time more, I am better at multitasking and patience, but let’s just talk about creativity. How did my creativity change? I see my son as a world-explorer. He is so amazed by little things. Everything is new to him. Maybe that is the best thing about having a baby – being reminded how wonderful the world is, and how inspiring it can be. That kind of fresh viewpoint is so important for theatre, and for working in the arts. Just seeing things in a different way. Did you know that tomatoes are slower than balls (when you roll them), that water makes a sound if you blow in it, that mud and ice make wonderful cakes, and that it is really hard to catch ants? Do you see ideas for a theatre play here? I do!

During the day, while running after him, my brain works like crazy – I am just getting ideas for creative projects, for theatre plays, stories, workshops… my son is a muse for my creativity.

I only wish I had time to write it all down.

But at least some of it is here…