Eight years ago, when I decided to stay home with my first baby, I was all consumed with the snuggles, sleep schedules, nursing, and developmental milestones. But once my baby turned a year old, started sleeping through the night, and finally settled into some semblance of a routine, I found myself with these pockets of time during the day that left me wanting for something of my own to do.
I had never considered a hobby in my adult life, and I wasn’t really sure what to make of such luxurious time. I was met with social media feeds flooded with advice, telling me that hobbies weren’t worth having unless they resulted in a “side hustle,” or some sort of supplemental income for my family.
Before that, I felt like in order for this time to be worth anything, I had to prove that worth with dollars in my bank account or piles of awards and accolades. I wasn’t even sure which hobbies I’d be interested in, but if I couldn’t make any money off them, were they even worth pursuing?
Society has told moms that to be useful we must mother, work out, read, entertain, and juggle absolutely everything. And on top of that, if we want to pursue something for the sake of fun, we have to prove the value of the time we are spending or else it isn’t worth our time.
But what if you decided to do something for yourself because YOU are worth it and not because of any monetary value? What if your mental wellbeing as a person and parent could benefit from spending time on something you love? What if you decided to pursue an activity or craft or learning experience just for the sake of FUN?
A hobby can help you cope with the various forms of stress that parenting can throw your way. A day filled with a potty-training toddler, disgruntled preschooler, moody kiddo, and piles of school paperwork can be alleviated significantly by the time and self care that a hobby provides. A less stressed parent is a parent with a clearer mindset, a parent more willing to handle the many moments of mayhem.
Depending on what you decide to do in your hobby pursuits, you may find yourself surrounded by other people involved in the same thing. Whether that’s a team sport, class, or online community, you can bond with your fellow hobbyists—providing both a creative and communal outlet outside of family life. Navigating these hobbyist relationships can bring benefits to your home life as well! You’ll gain new ways to communicate with those you love and live with.
Learning a new skill can be frustrating at times. It’s a practice that literally builds new pathways in your brain to learn and retain information. Throughout the process you must practice patience with yourself. And practicing patience with yourself can then be relayed to your parenting.
Have I convinced you that pursuing a hobby for the sake of enjoyment is worthwhile? If so, you might be wondering what the heck you can do!? I loved the list linked above because it’s a great resource for hobbies that are easily doable in small pockets of time. I also like the idea of a hobby group like a book club. It keeps you accountable in pursuing your goals and continuing your learning. (If reading is a hobby of yours, might I suggest joining our Dallas Moms Book Club?)
My current hobbies include cross stitching and reading. I would also consider my personal writing pursuits and planner obsession hobbies as well. But my hobbies do not have to be your hobbies.
I would also like to say that eventually making money off a hobby is not inherently bad! Some people pay for their hobbies with the money they make from them. Sometimes money motivates people to put more time into themselves and their skills.
But if you’re a parent struggling with comparison—seeing a sea of endless posts about side hustles and putting dollar signs on creative endeavors, I encourage you to take my words as your sign: