After I had my first child nine years ago and was only working part-time, I found myself with a lot of time on my hands. I'd read piles of books. I taught myself how to knit. I played in the local community orchestra.
Then I had more kids. The blogs turned from hobbies to work. And I lost track of any sort of extracurricular activity, instead spending time with my children, growing my businesses, and trying to get some sleep.
Boy do I wish I could do things differently.
Now I certainly don't regret spending time with my kids, nor do I feel bad about blogging. But I do wish that I had allowed myself some time each day, or even every other day, to spend time on me.
The same advice people give to you about your relationship when you have kids applies to your own self as well. The kids will grow up and then it'll just be you and your partner; if you don't spend time cultivating that, you'll have nothing when the smoke clears.
I'd apply the exact advice to just you. And really, it doesn't matter what your hobby might be, whether it's something you've done for a long time or something you decide to pick up.
Going to the gym. Take a cooking class. Learning an instrument. Heck, it could even just be forcing yourself to read a few pages of a book every night like I'm trying to do.
Wondering why you should rationalize that time? Here are few things that happen when you spend that time, no matter how small it might be, on yourself.
1. You're setting a great example for your kids: By taking a little time for yourself, you're showing them that your own happiness is important. That's something they need to see.
2. You're giving yourself a break: It doesn't matter if you're a WOHM, WAHM, or SAHM, you deserve a bit of TLC. The best part is that it can just be a cup of tea and your favorite magazine. But the regularity and consistency is what makes it so valuable to your daily existence.
3. You're setting yourself up for personal success later on: It's easy to get sucked into your kids' lives when they are babies; they are all-consuming parasites (cute ones, of course). You might not see the purpose of having a hobby right now, but when they're older and you do have more time, you'll be happier for it.
What do you do with your free time, limited as it might be?
Image via tinfoilraccoon/Flickr
Going to baseball games
Riding bike rides in the nice weather
Playing outside after work/school
Going for walks outside