“I used to have hobbies, now my hobbies are the hobbies of my children” said my colleague, mother of 3 children, working 100% time and in a dual career. I can understand where she is coming from. There are times when the calendar is so booked with activities of children that it is not possible to fit food shopping in it. To have hobbies one needs to have free mind capacity to dream, time to do something and energy to want something.
It is not easy, but I do not agree to be like many mothers of my mother’s generation, whose hobbies were cooking and gardening at best. I want to have a hobby of my own. I need to carve time for doing something that I love and I dream about. Though in the weeks like this was, I dream only about sleep and getting through the day. For many women, mothers, who work full time it is very difficult to find capacity to dream and enjoy oneself.
This is what I do to keep my hobbies alive:
Start from what I used to like. Know what you like and keep doing it. For me it is reading, writing, ballet, ice skating, art and water activities.
Discover new things that you may like. I keep track of what I enjoy, sometimes I write down happy moments, I think of things I enjoyed and build some new experiences into family plans. They may turn into hobbies eventually.
Make your passions contagious. I was so passionate about exploring art in Europe that I uncovered an artist in my husband. After 4 years of being dragged with me into art galleries and museums, Max decided he can do it as well. And for 2 years he painted, created artist portfolio and participated in art exhibitions. The period passed, we have a number of excellent paintings that I love and full cave of artist supplies. We still build the art experiences into our city trips and it is a common topic of interest for everyone in our family, though I wish he was continuing to paint from time to time as well.
Find an ally who may like what you like and turn your hobbies into quality 1on1 times. I started to take Sasha to ballet shows when she was 4. We go every year for Nutcracker and 1-2 times more to see other ballet shows. When we go together she is always excited. She loves design of costumes more than dance, but we both enjoy the show. This helps me spend time with her and do not lose something that I love – Ballet. We enjoy different aspects of it, and we also enjoy time spent together.
Build family vacations around hobbies. While it is difficult to give a place to hobbies in hectic day-to-day, devoting vacations to develop hobbies is easy and exciting. Once a year we go for family ski trips. We devoted one summer vacation to French language immersion, and this summer vacation we decided to explore stand up paddling. When Nikita will grow to behave in museums, we will have a series of European cities museums trips. This is fun. It builds family experiences and it helps you feel there is more in life than working, keeping up the house and children hobbies.
My hobbies evolved: ballet, 20th century art and literature, organizing themed parties are still there. As a family we developed new avenue of winter sports hobbies– skiing and skating. I also learned I really like to bake cookies and cook in general – assuming I can be creative and can do it at ease. I love planning the travels and traveling and I enjoy any activities related with water – swimming, boat trips…. Few adult hobbies for Max and me like road trips and wine tastings are rare (until we are 50 and will be all by ourselves again), but I am discovering new ones to make the days more fun for each of us.
I commit to continue finding hobbies for myself. I want to have a reason to enjoy and indulge myself in something beyond work, physical exercise, shopping and food. Sometimes it feels unrealistic ask of myself. But I will keep going…
Take a few minutes on this Sunday afternoon and imagine something new that may become a hobby that you will enjoy alone or as a family.