Having Children Is No Excuse to Ditch Your Hobbies

Healthy Living 5

Don't lose your hobbies because you had kidsAfter 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.

And I started a blog. Then another one.

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

emotional health


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EmilyH87 EmilyH87

I'm so glad I saw this today. Our baby isn't due until June, but my husband is already talking about packing up and putting away our vast collection of 'nerd' stuff (we have a room dedicated to it!). It's our hobby to collect this stuff, and I keep trying to tell him having a kid doesn't have to change our interests. I think I need to show him this. :)

the4m... the4mutts

While I agree with the sentiment here, it just isnt always possible. I used to get 1 night a week off where my fiance would watch all 4 kids, and I could do whatever.

Then he had to work overtime, then one of the kids was sick (and I do NOT leave my kids when they're sick) then a major appliance broke, then another one, then LIFE JUST HAPPENED. I havent been out without my kids or my man in 3 months. At all.

Is it driving me nuts? Yes

Do I deserve some time off? For friggin certain!

But I can't right now. And again, while I agree with this sentiment, it seems to be written with a tone that suggests a mother should feel bad about herself if she isnt taking time off. I dont think mothers need 1 more thing to worry about doing wrong. Especially this.

Knitt... KnittyTina

It may not be possible to do a hobby or go out for alone time on a regular basis, especially with really young kids, but I do think it's important to have some sort of outlet and it does show the kids that you have talents and interests, which can help your kids learn something new. The kids have learned that momma's yarn is sacred and to never ever touch the expensive knitting needles, especially if they want new hats.

@EmilyH87, we are nerds too and my husband is teaching our kids to be Jedi warriors!  He takes out his light sabers and shows the kids how to hold them and stage epic duels.  Totally fun and the kids love Star Wars, Star Trek, Superman, and all of that good stuff.  Tell him to teach your kids about it all and everyone wins.  When they're a little bit older, we plan on taking them to ComicCon and making a fun day out of it.

stara... starandseen

I exercise, read articles on my BlackBerry, and I just got back to my hobby of watching TV or movies at home after 6 years hiatus because there was never a block of uninterrupted time while my kids were age 0-6.

Sam Stebbins

I am having a hard time with this. I have been married to my wife for 3 years and we have been together for 8 years. Since we got together I gave up all of my hobbies. I am in the military, I work part time so my wife can stay at home and home school our only child. We spend time as a family every chance we get.

Very Recently I was offered free lessons and equipment into Kite Surfing and I was thrilled. When I brought this up to my wife I was told I was being selfish. Is she right? Should a man with a kid not have a hobby? My idea was to take them out with me and eventually would love to teach my daughter the sport. I am torn, and don't know what to do. Any advice?

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