As a mom, one thing I never considered was how humdrum life could feel some days, especially when you are in the throes of those baby years. Days can look eerily familiar from one day to the next.
In this season, however, I sometimes long for humdrum days. Living life shuttling people from one activity to the next, just trying to keep up with all the tasks I’m needed for can be daunting in a different way. My young adult children’s needs sometimes make those sleepless nights and terrible twos feel like a walk in the park!
A Burden We Share
I know we often hear of mothers waking up one day and realizing somewhere along this journey they lost themselves. Whether you have one child or multiple children, you can see how easy it is to go down that path.
Being a mom is NO easy task. Finding ways to break away from the stress and worry that comes with the job is important. Regular jobs give you vacation time. So, what can a mom do to help keep a balance and find some distance?
Hobbies are great distractions from the worries and troubles that plague daily living.
In the third grade, I remember my school introducing these elective courses. Every Friday, you would spend the latter part of the day on whatever you signed up for. My first elective was latch hooking. I would go on to latch hook for years to come. But if someone had asked me if I had any hobbies, I don’t know if I would have even thought of it.
My grandmother was an avid cruciverbalist. That’s a really big word for a person who is skilled at crossword puzzles. My mom played racquetball and was a bowler. One of my aunts made candles and another sewed. So many of the women I knew growing up had hobbies. I never thought to ask how these interests began, but I attached those hobbies to them as much as I attached the title of mother.
Active, Not Passive
Watching television can be an easy hobby to participate in. But I think many of us fall into watching TV because it’s the low-hanging fruit of the hobby tree. It doesn’t require much effort to switch on the television. And you can accidentally end up watching when you’re cleaning up and just happen to sit on the sofa. The downfall is that your brain can shut down a little too easily—before you know it, hours have passed. (Just me?)
Now, don’t get me wrong, some days that’s exactly what the doctor ordered. But taking a more active approach to a hobby can make for much better use of your time. It can also be more helpful in keeping you from slipping into the abyss of Groundhog Day Syndrome. (If you haven’t seen Groundhog Day you should for sure watch it!)
Ultimately, hobbies are supposed to be purposeful. And they help you improve in some area of your life.
Hobbies fall under five categories: they should help you express your creativity, build knowledge, socialize, keep you physically active, or make you money. All of these can help keep you happier and healthier.
Scheduling time to do the thing is an important part of having a hobby. Setting time aside helps you get the most out of whatever you are doing. It pulls you away from the routine or everyday tasks.
Getting Started on a New Hobby
What are your interests? The best place to start is to ask yourself what do you like to do. Make a list! Many of us just haven’t thought very hard about it.
Maybe you once had a hobby and for some reason, you stopped doing it. (Latch hooking got pushed aside because I felt I didn’t have time with four children under the age of seven!) Or is there something you have always wanted to try?
If you aren’t sure, you can find exhaustive lists of possible hobbies. Everything from watching television to extreme ironing. (Yes, that is a real hobby and there are actual competitions.) Growing up having to iron my Catholic school uniform one pleat at a time makes that hobby sound like harsh and unusual punishment. Which brings me to…every hobby is not for everybody!
Plenty of Reasons
There are a lot of reasons why people choose their hobbies. Many people have interests that they discovered when they were younger. Running is a popular hobby many carry with them from childhood. I have a friend from high school who ran track with me, and she has continued to run through adulthood, even through five pregnancies.
Sometimes a hobby is chosen to help cope with an event or season that is difficult. My friend Camille (who is a psychotherapist) started gardening after a traumatic event. It stuck with her. She considers herself an amateur but says she is absolutely addicted. “It brings me so much joy.”
Your hobby could end up making you money. A dear friend of mine started baking cakes for fun. But she has become the go-to person for many people’s special occasions, especially weddings. It wasn’t her goal to make money, but with time a small business developed.
The same thing happened with my friend Mary and her hair bows. She was making them for her daughter and the progression just happened. She has added matching onesies and other clothing items and makes pretty decent money doing something she does well and likes to do. It’s her creative outlet-turned-small business.
Nothing To Fear
Don’t be afraid to try and fail. You can’t even really fail at a hobby. But maybe you try something and realize it’s not what you thought. That’s ok. Hobbies should not be stressful. If after trying something out you feel anxious or depleted, it may not be the hobby for you. No one should be reporting to their therapist because a hobby has driven them to a mental health issue.
It’s also important to be patient with yourself. Trying something new can feel awkward in the beginning. As adults, we tend not to like the discomfort that comes at the beginning of learning something new. But it’s that kind of thinking that makes people stop trying new things. You are never too old to learn something new. You may never be an expert, but if it’s something you enjoy, stick with it. Sometimes that means pushing past the awkward stage. You may find a wonderful surprise on the other side of that discomfort.
I am ALWAYS encouraging my children to try something new. But they won’t be as willing if they don’t see it happening on my end too. What a great lesson for your children to see you trying new things. And even better for them to see you have to work at something. Often our children don’t understand the humanity of their parents because they don’t get to experience us being something other than mom. They can learn to handle new experiences by watching how YOU handle new experiences.
List of Adult Hobbies to Try
PHYSICAL: running, walking, hiking, yoga, cycling, swimming, roller skating, bowling
CREATIVE: knitting, crochet, calligraphy, painting (acrylics, watercolor), coloring, writing (blog, poetry), playing an instrument, flower arranging, cooking
SOCIAL: Most of the hobbies listed above allow for meetups, groups, and gatherings. Love running? Consider joining a running club. If brunch is your favorite meal, create a brunch club. Attend classes to learn more about your hobby and improve your skills is also a great way to add a social component to any hobby.
Want more ideas? I found this really cool hobby website with a huge list of hobbies. Take a look!