Hobbies in Motherhood: What’s Best in Your Season
How does one have hobbies in motherhood?
I’ve been asked multiple times recently about my hobbies. You know, those things people do when they have free time. Ever since our first baby came into this world I’ve grown increasingly anxious whenever the question comes.
Don’t get me wrong, it wasn’t that I didn’t TRY to have hobbies. They just seemed to vanish as my self time was short and other things seemed more important.
Like Mother Like Daughter
Growing up I watched my parents work tirelessly , homeschooling raising four kids and working to keep us from going broke. They succeeded but not without excessive fatigue. I remember my mom napping every afternoon when we were done with home school.
One thing I don’t remember much of, was her going out with friends or taking time to draw or paint like she’d once loved to do. I’d hear stories of her long lost dream of becoming an artist. At this point it sounded more like a fleeting thought of the past. I felt for her since the only art she seemed to finish was doodles on her notepads-as beautiful as they were!
While in high school, I was glad to see her join quilting classes. I loved it because I liked to see her do something she enjoyed.
Going into motherhood, I was firm. “I WILL make sure to have hobbies in motherhood. I WILL not lose myself.”
Even so, I struggled as a new mom to find time. In previous years I’d loved to draw and paint. At this point I would make myself sit down to do some drawings but ya know what?
I didn’t enjoy it.
The interests that had made me ME felt like they were slowly vanishing. I panicked.
What did I have left of myself? How awful to hate FUN.
For the first three years of motherhood, I put all my creativity into the my small business. There was creativity involved and social outings. It was a wonderful outlet but I wondered what I enjoyed besides my hobby of work?
Then I let go of my business and welcomed our third child into the home. This period was so rejuvenating for me as a mom as I was able to enjoy the blessing of my kids.
Still, I wondered where “I” had gone.
When getting a chance to have quiet during the boy’s naps I found myself being the most fulfilled while baking and listening to a Podcast.
When I got a few hours to myself, the most relaxing thing I could do was get together with a friend and walk around a thrift store or “Hobby Lobby,” sipping cup of coffee. Going by myself wasn’t to bad either, after being with people 24/7.
One day I was asked the question “What are your hobbies?” and I thought of what I’d become. “I’m so pathetic!” I thought. “I used to want to do adventurous things like build furniture and 15 mile bike rides, photography and theater.”
While those things still sounded fun to me, they also sounded like they’d drain my mental capacity too much. I was tired! Perhaps I’d lost my hobbies in motherhood to pure fatigue.
Then I realized something. “I” wasn’t gone.
I’d simply changed my techniques of refueling due to different life circumstances.
What will Refuel You?
I finished a conversation with some friends over tea. We talked about how depressing free time could be, as short as it was. When given time to do what “we” wanted, “we” often had no clue what we wanted. Finding time for hobbies in motherhood is hard, knowing what to do when given the time can be even harder! What would fuel me up now? Not the thing that I used to want to do…
At this time I must interject this hobby conversation to include another concept: Self care.
After so many conversations with other tired moms I’ve come to the conclusion that the two must intersect. I’m not talking the self care that brings out the narcissist in me. I’m talking about the self care that says “Krista, you had a hard day and you need to take a few minutes by yourself to refuel. Wash that hair that hasn’t seen shampoo for five days.”
The Free Time Chart for Moms
I created this chart to show a visual for the relationship between how we feel and the type of activity that correlates.
On the top line is the the example of how stress affects our emotional and mental state: depression versus expression. You may not be literally “depressed.” The tired and stressful end is labeled “depression” because our brain doesn’t want to use extra energy in order to refuel. It may mean reading for you or walking with a friend. The opposite of this is “expression.” This may look like using creativity or simple doing more physical, social or hands on activities.
This study has found that stress actually prevents creativity.
Expression comes when our minds and bodies feel strong. This gives us the ability to be more creative and productive. Note that creativity is not held to “art” but could be the ability to think of ideas for the next get together or where to hike tomorrow. EVERYONE is creative because we’re all made in the image of God: the most creative being. Even so, we do express our creativity in many different ways.
On the bottom of the graph you can see how self care and hobbies tend to follow the stress of a mom’s mental state. Your hobbies in motherhood could be something vigorous like going out dancing or so simple and soothing as painting your nails.
Remember that day when the kids were sick, grumpy, fighting and making messes? The internal result is for our brain to slow down and not want to make more decisions.
This is the time you need to renew.
The “expression” phase is the ideal time to do those hobbies you always dream of!
What is it you’ve been waiting to do? What’s that? You’re feeling pretty energized? Well lets go take on baking that triple chocolate mud pie!
O.k. Just an example but you get the idea. The truth is that there just might not be much time for hobbies in motherhood. Take heart, there will be good days! Be prepared, though, if you’re in a busy season (such as taking care of multiple young ones) you need to lower your expectations for any free time.
There may be a lot of free time spent just talking to a friend or taking a bath. That’s alright and if you’re like me you may learn to love those times more than ever.
You might not always know your hobbies in motherhood by heart. It’s a process of learning.
THIS is why your hobbies have changed! You have changed.
Most likely the things that will best satisfy you here and now are things that both renew you and allow you to express your person (unless your on the very far end of the depressed side- then you’ll wind up in front of netflix with a pint of ice cream a LOT!).
An Example of My Hobbies in Motherhood
In my “Feeling strong and Energetic” state I like to write, I like to run and I like to take pictures of our kids. In my drained state I tend to bake and listen to podcasts or just watch a movie and take a bath. And this is just in my “caring for a baby” season.
Some seasons allow more breathing time for me. When in less stress I tend to lean more to the expression side of the chart which means I spend more time doing things that are creative and less time trying to care for my run down tired body.
Something to Remember:
Neither side is better than the other! If you are needing to use your free time to just take a bath and that is helping to refuel you, that is o.k. and that is good for you! The important thing is to KNOW what state you are in and thus, what activities you’ll enjoy most.
Revise your Plan
Note what you choose to do if you get any free time. Are you scrolling through Instagram while making dinner? Are you out pulling weeds? There’s a good reason we gravitate towards certain activities but use the time you get wisely.
If you checked Facebook three different times today but it’s really reading that you’ve been wanting to do, make the change! I’ve heard of a mom who reads several books in a year. It’s not because she has a lot of time but because she will squeeze in a page here and there throughout her day.
If you crave time with other women, start a habit of making plans instead of putting it off. I struggle with this one but sometimes the reason we don’t get out is because we don’t make plans.
Find the Best Activity for Every Free Time
Let’s figure out what activities will suite YOU best.
- Make a list of things you’d do if you had free time AND you had energy. ALL of them.
- On a separate list jot down what things feel best to do when you feel run down.
- What is that thing you want to escape to do when stressed?
- What times of the day are the least draining or most fulfilling to you? Is one time of the week more stressful than another? One time of the month (wink wink)? What activities are most rejuvenating during these times?
Busy seasons can give you a peak into what you really love. They can also help you realize the difference between the activities that help keep you afloat and those that are simply for fun.
Don’t be afraid of change. It’s o.k. to find that you are filled up by something you used to think was BORING! That’s what happens. It’s a part of life. Embrace it and realize that you are growing and your personality grows through life with you! Use your strengths girl, Don’t be afraid of them. Your hobbies will change. They will help keep you above water in the hard seasons if you use them to your benefit.
Enjoy any time you have because it’s all a gift.
From the Farmhouse,
More reading especially for moms:
Hi Krista this is Collen friend of you mothers!
Love your presentations! So beautiful!
So proud of you!!!! Wow…..
So good to hear from you! Thank you so much! A long ways from cartwheels on the lawn 🙂