It Is Possible to Do Stuff for Yourself: 15 Moms on How They Make It Happen

It Is Possible to Do Stuff for Yourself: 15 Moms on How They Make It Happen
We all know that motherhood means making sacrifices, but having kids doesn't mean we have to give up doing all the things we love -- even if it feels like we have zero time to do them! Making space in our increasingly busy lives to follow our bliss not only keeps us sane, but also helps us to be better moms and partners. The question is, how do we find fulfillment while fulfilling our parental responsibilities?

We asked real-life moms how they make time to keep up with their hobbies and pursue their passions while still managing to do all the millions of things (big, small, and in-between) involved in taking care of a family -- and we promise their answers will inspire you to do the same! 

  • Build a Network


    "As a working single mom, time is a precious commodity. During the first five years, until the kids go to kindergarten, it's not easy to squeeze in what you love. I did get creative and found other interests during those times. I joined a gym that offered childcare so I could keep up with exercise and adult interaction. I met some great women who were also in the same boat. By expanding my network, we were able to help each other out so the other mom had a couple hours for herself."

    -- Susan C., mom of 3

  • Strike a Balance

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    "I'm a new mom who has made a commitment not to let the things I love doing become impossible (or near impossible) because of my 8-month-old. Between growing a business, taking care of my son, and studying for my personal training certification, my plate is full -- but I made a promise to myself when I was pregnant to still be 'Robyn' and not just 'mommy.' 

    Talk to your significant other and make a schedule that you can both agree on. Never forget that you're a team, but make sure to balance out 'me' time as best as possible. For example, my husband likes to watch football with his brother on Sundays. I like to go to the gym. I know that the gym won't happen on a Sunday because it's my husband's 'me' time, and he knows it's my 'me' time when I feel like working out."

    -- Robyn L., mom of 1

  • Make a Splash at Bath Time


    "I'm a stay-at-home mom of three kids, ages 5, 3, and 3 months. I also write and produce a story podcast for children ages 2 to 6 in my spare time. Finding time to write the stories is quite difficult, as it requires me to have mental space and time. I then have to find additional time to record the episodes, which requires my house to be totally quiet. 

    My sons love playing in the bath for upwards of 30 minutes. Now that they are old enough to sit in there together without my hovering over them, I can sit just outside the door and work on writing or editing while they play."

    -- Rhea P., mom of 3, Little Stories for Tiny People

  • Stick to a Schedule

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    "I can honestly say I gave up zero of my hobbies when my kids were born, and now that Audrey is 7 and Preston is 9, I continue to do what I love. I sing in my church choir and play in our handbell choir as well; each of these is an hour-and-a-half practice, on different nights of the week.

    The key to keeping up your hobbies is to make them a part of your schedule. This was tricky when my husband got deployed to Iraq for eight months when our son was an infant, and we live six hours from the nearest relative. But I just called up my church, and they offered to hire a sitter to keep my son in the nursery while I rehearsed. We made it work!"

    -- Melissa J., mom of 2

  • Broaden Your Horizons


    "If you can find a way to incorporate your little one into your interest, it is often more sustainable. Try exploring new hobbies that are easier to do with your kids -- even if they are only temporary. Babywearing allowed me to hike, go to the beach, and even swim in the ocean with my older child, while keeping my baby/toddler safe and happy. 

    The first step to maintaining hobbies while parenting is to give yourself permission. (You do not cease to be an individual the moment you become a parent.) Yes, you need to be flexible and creative and sometimes you'll have to wait ... but not forever!" 

    -- Beth Salerno, mom of 3,

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  • Keep Your Hobby Handy


    "Whatever your hobby happens to be, create a portable kit that you keep with you that has your current project and the basic supplies you need to work on it. Keep that with you at all times. When you've got 10 minutes to work on it, pull out the bag and get a little bit of work done. Even the slowest writer can produce 10 words per minute writing by hand. Those 10 words add up to 100 words in 10 minutes, and 600 days later, you'll have a rough draft of your book finished. The same thing is true about nearly any other hobby -- 10 minutes a day can add up to big results over time if you are prepared to take advantage of them."

    --Brandy M., mom of 1 (and former foster mother)  

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  • Never Stop Learning


    "Find one hour in the week where someone can take care of your children, whether it's your spouse, a friend, or a family member. Sign up for an evening or weekend class that meets regularly, so that it becomes part of your routine. I've taken classes in knitting, ice skating, and guitar simply for the fun of it. You'll learn something new, meet some people, and for that one night a week you'll be known as you and not as Jimmy's mom."

    -- Ali Wenzke, mom of 3

  • Put It on the List


    "It helps to have a daily checklist with the hobby listed as a 'to-do' task -- that keeps me from getting distracted and doing something else."

    -- Michelle L., mom of 1, 

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  • Find Your Center


    "I've found it well worth the sacrifice of getting up early to have quiet time for me, to journal and read something inspiring, or even do a short body-weight lounge workout, in order to start the day feeling centered and grounded. If you have children who wake when you do (or sooner!), this may be easier said than done, but if it matters to you, there is ALWAYS a way to make time during the day to take care of yourself, even if it doesn't always remain uninterrupted."

    -- Kat L., mom of 2, 

  • Learn to Be Flexible


    "I raised 12 children and I found that making time for myself to do what I cared about meant being flexible. I love reading, so I made sure I always had a book nearby. I could read while I was nursing the baby, or curl up with a book on the sofa while the children were playing in the living room. I didn't have time to practice piano, but I could make time at night to sing in a choir, so I kept music as part of my life, too.

    Then there is self-pampering. I no longer had hours to spend on my hair and makeup, but I could take a nice, hot, luxuriant bubble bath. And that would restore my need to take care of myself and feel pretty. Moms have to do things for themselves, or they won't be great moms!"

    -- Varda E., mom of 12, Kars4Kids

  • Get an Early Start


    "I have seven homeschooling children, and write two blogs. I get up at dark-thirty in the morning in order to write from 5 to 8 a.m. Doing this makes my entire day better. I'm calmer with my kids, more patient, and much happier!"

    -- Carrie W., mom of 7,

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  • Delegate Duties


    "I have two kids, 16 and 11. I have the 16-year-old do a few errands and the 11-year-old goes along, and that gives me some 'me' time. When the kids were younger, we took advantage of having family in the area and had them visit grandpa and grandma for a half an hour to an hour."

    -- Candi W., mom of 2,

  • Find a Hobby That Fits into Your Free Time


    "I am a stay-at-home mom to a 2-year-old boy, and I love writing romance novels ... I discovered my love for writing when my son was about a year old. I needed a hobby, so why not try writing? ... I started writing when my son would fall asleep. From that point, most of my writing happens at night or when he naps. Sometimes my husband will watch our son while I write. 

    The point is, I have to make it a priority. For me, family comes first, and then writing. Even if I write for half an hour a day, I feel as though I've accomplished a lot."

    -- Naomi B., mom of 1,

  • Connect to Your Kids


    "Ideally I like to work when the kids are occupied. Of course sometimes something will need immediate attention and work needs to get done while the kids are around, but if their emotional bank is filled up, then it's okay now and then.

    The key thing for me in working at home, besides trying to keep my kids engaged with activities, is hearing them when they speak. I try to always give them a thoughtful answer, make eye contact, and remember that they aren't disturbing my work, as much as they are my kids and I owe them my energy. When those priorities are aligned, I can often work while we're all at home. Plus, I know that I'll have some quiet time later to plow through what can't be done at the time."

    -- Colleen S., mom of 5, Date Lady, Inc.

  • Encourage Independence


    "Get comfortable saying 'no' when your kids ask you to play with them. I started doing this early on when my eldest son was about 18 months old and I was pregnant with my second child. I pushed him to play independently, and now I can find pockets of time to write while he and my middle son play together in another room."

    -- Rhea P., mom of 3, Little Stories for Tiny People

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