When you become a mother, your sense of self goes through a major transformation (which we’ve discussed — from body image to overall identity), and one part of that is figuring out how to find time for hobbies as a working mom. Have you found ways to continue some (or all) of the activities that you enjoyed in your pre-parent days, and if so, how do you do it? For those of you who have gone through the “small kid” years, did you eventually find time for your hobbies?
We’ve rounded up five tips on how to find time for hobbies as a working mom, below. Note that for all of these, if you’re struggling with mommy guilt, focus on what you get out of the hobby and how that end result helps your family. For example, if taking photographs helps you de-stress, your family gets a less stressed mom — win-win!
Five Ways to Find Time for Hobbies as a Working Mom
1. Continue your hobby, but scale it down for a bit for now. If you love making elaborate meals from scratch, try a family-friendly cookbook — you can continue to enjoy making recipes from scratch while still saving time and ending up with something your kid will be more likely to eat (hopefully). We have ChopChop: The Kids’ Guide to Cooking Real Food with Your Family and The Whole Family Cookbook: Celebrate the Goodness of Locally Grown Foods. I also recently bought The Unofficial Harry Potter Cookbook as a birthday gift for an 8-year-old Harry Potter fan, and it sounds like it could be great for kids and parents to use together. (It’s the #1 bestseller in children’s cookbooks at Amazon.) [affiliate links]
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2. Involve your kid in your hobbies and interests. There are tons of possibilities for this, depending on the age of your kid — you can teach him about everything from fantasy football to kayaking to genealogy — and he might develop an interest in something you’d never expect.
- If you want to keep up your regular exercise habit, use a jogging stroller when your baby’s old enough, try Stroller Strides, sign up for mom-and-baby or parent-and-kid yoga classes, give your kid a very light set of weights while you do your strength training, go for a hike the woods with your baby or toddler in a carrier, use a bike trailer, run a 5K with your kid, play Just Dance together [affiliate link], and so on…
- If, like me, you’re really into music but cringe at a lot of kid-specific tunes, take your kid to concerts with protective headphones [affiliate link], put together a family band, have impromptu dance parties after dinner, or make a Spotify playlist of kid-friendly adult music like I did.
- If you’re really into photography, get your kid a child-friendly, plastic camera [affiliate link] and go to a park, do a day trip, or just walk around your neighborhood discovering things to capture in photos.
- Gardeners, buy your kid his own tools, gloves, etc. [affiliate link] and give him some seeds to plant. My son loves weeding, so I sometimes put him to work doing that!
- Crafting is, of course, an easy activity to do together (or alongside each other, as long as your kid is at an age when she won’t lean over and get finger paints all over your watercolor painting).
3. Set a specific goal to keep you on track with making time for yourself — and maybe feel a bit less mom guilt. Tell yourself, “I’m going to run a 5K in X minutes by X date, or “I’m going to get good enough at knitting to make an X for my best friend’s baby shower,” or “I’m actually going to finish every book for book club before we meet.”
4. Get your spouse or partner to involve your kid in their hobbies so that you have time for your own. My husband, an avid gamer and a big football and soccer fan, sometimes plays kid-friendly PlayStation games with our son or watches sports on TV while our son … well, uses the iPad on the couch while occasionally glancing at the action on the other screen. (He usually wants “the red team” to win, no matter who it is.) Another option that involves your partner: If you can, pick one weeknight when they take over all parenting duties (the same day each week so that you can do something like a class, if you want), and then do the same for them.
5. Know that this too shall pass. If you have, say, a 6-month-old and you’re really missing your kid-free, pre-mom activities, hang in there. You might just have to go with the flow for a while. And before you know it, your kid will be spending evenings doing homework (or alternately, glued to his or her iPhone), taking part in middle school or high school sports, and disappearing with friends on weekends (while you’re lamenting the fact that they complain you embarrass them in public). So you’ll have a lot of time for hobbies … eventually.
What are YOUR best tips for how to find time for your hobbies as a working mom? At what stage of your kid’s development did it start to get easier to take time for your personal interests: When you weren’t quite as exhausted once your baby started sleeping through the night? When your kid learned how to play by himself for short periods of time? When he started going to playdates and birthday parties by himself rather than needing to have you stay? Have you started any new hobbies that are especially good to share with kids?
- Share Your Hobbies With Your Child [Parenting]
- Finding Balance in Motherhood: Hang onto Your Hobbies [Portland Moms Blog]
- Having Children Is No Excuse to Ditch Your Hobbies [CafeMom]
- Healthy Moms Have Hobbies: Here’s Why [Psychology Today]
Image credit: Pixabay.