Before you roll your eyes or scoff (is it too late already?), let’s just take a second to think about the word “hobby.”
I know it sounds crazy. It’s like when people without children say, “What do you do in your free time?” Well, for a max of about three minutes a day I hide in my closet with a bag of dark chocolate chips, thank you very much.
The word “hobby” kind of feels like an old-fashioned word. Moms of babies, kids, and teenagers these days aren’t talking about their hobbies. We are a generation of full schedules and important meetings, and we ain’t got no time for silly things like hobbies, for crying out loud!
But after all 2020 has put us through, maybe we need to bring “hobbies” back, just with a different meaning.
What a Hobby Isn’t
A hobby isn’t just another thing on your to-do list. It shouldn’t be just another thing that you have to find room for on your planner, or another thing you feel guilty about not getting done.
It shouldn’t be something that feels like another responsibility.
Our days are already full of things we have to do, even though we really don’t want to. That’s adulthood and parenthood. Doing dishes, laundry, cooking, and managing our budget are necessary tasks, but not enjoyable.
A hobby, on the other hand, isn’t a necessary task, but a fun one. You don’t have to call it a hobby, but you should have an activity that makes you happy in your life at least every week.
5 Reasons You Need a Hobby
Even if you’re one of those unicorn moms who is amazing at cooking your family healthy, three-course dinners every night, limiting screen time, and keeping your house clean–you can’t convince me that those tasks thrill you. You can’t convince me that they don’t cause some level of stress. Being a mom in 2020 is the hardest job on the planet.
There’s no way to obliterate stress as an adult or a mom, but you do need some stress-reducing tools. And a hobby is one of the absolute most effective tools for stress.
Here are the top 5 reasons you need a hobby:
- Hobbies reduce stress
- Hobbies are a form of self-care
- Hobbies remind you of your individuality (you know, that you are an individually awesome person apart from your kids and spouse)
- Hobbies reduce fatigue
- Hobbies are FUN
A post from Verywell says that hobbies are associated with lower blood pressure, total cortisol, and lower levels of depression and negativity. The physical and mental value of having a hobby–an activity that you look forward to–shouldn’t be underestimated.
3 Ways to Make A Hobby More Realistic
But how can a generation of busy, overworked moms have hobbies? How can you add a hobby to a jam-packed schedule if there’s no wiggle room?
The honest truth is that regularly spending time on something that you enjoy just doesn’t coincide with having a relentless, fast-paced lifestyle. You can’t have a hobby if you don’t have a free five minutes in your calendar. You can’t have a hobby if your schedule is seriously overloaded. You can’t enjoy an activity if you constantly put everyone else’s needs in front of your own.
But when you are ready and willing to prioritize fun, there are a few tips to help you make it fit within your busy life.
1. Set up your space:
If you have to spend five minutes dragging supplies from the garage to the living room before even starting your hobby, you probably won’t do it very often. You do NOT need to have a “craft room” or any kind of big space that’s dedicated to your hobby.
You just need to make sure the supplies you need are easily accessible. For example, one of the things I enjoy most is building things. If I can’t find my drill, drill bits, measuring tape, screws, and wood in about 45 seconds–my motivation trickles away. But when they’re all ready for me, I can jump right into my project and spend time soothing my soul.
2. Plan your available times:
This does NOT mean write it in your schedule. It means to think about your day-to-day routines. When are you typically available to do your hobby? Can you do it with your kids? While your kids play? If it isn’t something you can do around your kids (like mine), can you do it during naptime? After they go to bed? While you’re watching a show? It’s important to recognize what time slots you can spend on an activity you enjoy. Then, the next time you put your kids to bed, leave the dang dishes in the sink and choose to have some fun.
(Pro tip: Anything fun you can do while watching reruns of your favorite show–well, it’s basically free therapy.)
3. Set goals:
If you’re painting, work toward finishing a specific piece. If you’re dancing, work on learning a specific routine. If you’re reading, pick a book. If you’re decorating, pick a space to finish. There doesn’t have to be a time limit, but you should be working toward something.
Then, when you reach your goal or finish your project, you can acknowledge progress. You can celebrate that the time you spend on your hobby has produced something beautiful, personal growth, new friendships, or just joy.