When I talk with other moms about hobbies there are two major roadblocks: Time and Lack of Ideas.
Time seems obvious. There’s never enough time. For anything.
Except maybe there is. Especially when you find something that you love.
So let’s start there because that’s the heart of the matter. Finding a hobby you’ll love.
Why We Need Hobbies
First things first, why do you need a hobby?
Maybe you don’t! You’re completely fulfilled at home and at work. You are doing activities that you enjoy and are filling your proverbial cup 80% of the time. If that sounds like you, AWESOME! Hat tip to you my friend.
But so many moms don’t have that.
There’s the mom who works outside the home at a job she likes, but doesn’t love. Or the mom who stays home with her kids and feels the itch to do something different. Then there’s the urge to create when you’re not creating. The urge to learn when you’re not learning. The urge to connect when you’re not connecting. All benefits that a hobby can provide.
If any of that rings true and you aren’t in the market for a full job change right now, a hobby might be where it’s at.
And don’t worry – you don’t have to be a “momtrepreneur” for any of this.
Why Don’t We Have Hobbies?
So if hobbies can help us tap into the creative part of our brain, offer meditative benefits, teach new skills, and allow us meet interesting people, then why doesn’t everyone have a hobby?
And to narrow in our focus, why don’t moms have hobbies?
Back in the day before kids, we might have been bouncing around the world of hobbies because we had more free time. Or back up the dial even further, in our formal education we were offered up a slate of clubs and organizations to join that became the source of our hobby exploration. It was all teed up for us and we simply had to raise our hands to join. Easy peasy lemon hobby.
But when kids make their way onto the scene, our free time dwindles significantly and our mom guilt increases significantly. Time for ourselves? For shame!!!
On top of that, that organized structure we once used to our advantage is still there, but it’s geared towards our kids. Mommy & Me Yoga, Mommy & Me Swim Lessons, Mommy & Me Archery. (Maybe?).
Very cool if you’ve tapped into an organized structure that works for your kids and for you, but if you haven’t then you aren’t alone. I like going to swim class with my kids, but that’s not my thing. I needed my thing.
How to Find a Hobby You’ll Love – Interest and Hobby Assessment
“Okay, so this hobby business sounds appealing, but I have no idea what I would be that excited about doing with my limited time” says the skeptical person I’m sitting across from. “How do I find a hobby I’ll really love?”
Ah, my friend. I didn’t know either. Until a particularly well-timed trip to the DMV, a great conversation, and some self-assessment. And as much as I love a good lengthy self-assessment exercise, this self-assessment was really just three questions.
1. What activities do I like doing with my kids?
Not everything I do with my kids is super fun for me. That’s just the truth. That matching game that takes 145 years to play? Not that fun. Parking Hot Wheels against a wall? Not that fun. But I will happily sit and color, play Play-Doh, or build LEGOS (sans instructions) for as long as they will sit still.
Okay, so I like to create things from scratch and use my imagination. Got it!
How about you?
Do you have the most fun putting together a complex LEGO starship? Or going out for a bike ride? Putting together puzzles? Reading books? Making up dramatic storylines for Barbie and Ken?
Think about it and then start to pull out some themes. Why do you like doing those activities with your kids, separate from how much fun the kids are having? Of course, we like to see our kids enjoying themselves, but beyond that, why aren’t you bored?
2. After the kids are in bed, what do I gravitate towards (besides my own bed)?
So how did I use my evening time before I started writing regularly? When the kids went to bed and our various cleaning/prepping responsibilities were done for the night, Glen and I would generally flip on the TV and then I’d half-watch while scrolling Facebook. Still do sometimes!
Dig a bit deeper. What was I watching? Mostly comedies. I love all things laughter and wit. That’s what I was looking for on Facebook too. Anything that would make me laugh. More often then not, I would want to post something that would make other people laugh too. So there’s a comedy angle here… alright, alright, alright.
Are you a TV flipper? What are you watching? Crime dramas? Sports? Cooking shows? HGTV? Now get to the why. Why do you like them? What keeps you engaged? Is it trying to solve the mystery? Feeling part of a team? Wanting to learn something new? A fascination with the dynamics between people?
If you’re not a TV flipper and instead you’re phone scrolling, what are you looking at? Are there blogs that you read, Instagram accounts that you follow, online shopping establishments that you frequent? If none of the scrolling is work or home-related, then what is it really about? What is keeping you invested?
3. When do I feel like I’m “in flow” at work or home?
Flow is when you are in the zone. Time speeds by quickly and you feel really connected to what you’re doing. When I thought about flow I came up with what might seem like a lame answer, but stick with me.
I love making photo calendars and books for my family. I like going through the pictures, and setting up the layout. To be honest, I like sitting in front of my computer and doing something totally solo. This is an activity I get lost in and I’m always proud of the finished product.
When do you lose track of time? What do you do right now that gets you in the zone? Now, what are the characteristics of that activity?
Let’s go back to mine. It’s not that I don’t like people, but I clearly like having some quiet time to do something on my own. And even though I do like some moderate exercise, I enjoy the stationary and cozy nature of this activity. So sweatpants, quiet, computers, creativity… Cool!
Matching Up Your Interests with a List of Hobby Ideas
You’ve humored me through the exercise and came up with some interesting insights about yourself. Now what? Well, time to play a matching game. But fortunately not the mind-numbing card one I referenced earlier.
Take your themes from activities with your kids, post-bedtime activities, and “flow zone” and start thinking about what activities could be interesting to you. Something might bubble to the surface right away. “Man, I should get back to running.” “Of course I should learn to play guitar.” “Clearly I am yearning to start an online community of Goldendoodle owners!”
Or maybe you’re still stuck.
If that’s the case, take your themes and apply them to this great list of 101 hobbies ranging from rock climbing to balloon twisting. It’s broken out by category so that you can use your themes to help guide you to a starting point.
Timeeeeee, How to Find the Time
Back to the question of time.
I’m a mom, I get it. I promise I do. My kids are four and two and they require much care and feeding. I also work full-time an hour and half away. My husband and I split duties at home 50/50, but we don’t have family next door or a nanny. But I still find time to get in front of my computer and write because it feeds my soul.
So I’m going to ask you to suspend your disbelief about the time question right now. Because I think that if you get really excited about an idea you’re going to find that you have more hours in your day then you thought. Perhaps not every day, that’s ambitious, but how about more hours in your week?
It can be as simple as turning off the TV, or taking your “learn a language” app into the car, or waking up a bit earlier a couple of days a week. Or maybe your Yoga practice takes place in your living room instead of at a studio.
Your significant other could take the early morning shift on Saturdays while you get an hour to do your thing and then you take Sundays. Perhaps you make eggs for dinner tonight to cut down on prep so that you can squeeze in a little time for your new hobby.
Little changes can make a big difference.
I Want You to Be CRAZY Happy
The reason I left time for the end of this article is that it can so often be a roadblock to creative thinking. I don’t have enough time, the end.
Everyone has different circumstances, FOR SURE, and maybe this isn’t your season to start a new hobby. I won’t brush that off. Seasons of life come and go, maybe hop on the hobby train next season.
BUT I just wrote a really friggin long article and you finished the whole thing so I think you might have a few minutes for yourself. So spend those minutes on YOU and finding a hobby you’ll love.
Then if you find yourself with a few extra minutes to read more here, please do. Sign up for the newsletter even! Because I really love hanging with you and when I wrote that sentence about my article being long, I immediately panicked that I was going to lose all of my readers to hang gliding.
But then I chilled out and realized I just want you to be happy. Crazy happy.
With some serious questions about people who hang glide,