Becoming a mom and full-time homemaker was the hardest transition of my life. It was also one of the greatest blessings. Sometimes, we pour everything we have into this calling and forget about ourselves. And while it is important to make sure we find time for self-care or a new hobby, the reality is, finding time is so much easier said than done. Often you have to decide if sleep is more important than finishing that novel you started two months ago.
Earlier this week, as we continue to wait for word on if and when we can finally move into our new home or start the search again, I began to miss the creative outlet I found in preparing our homeschool space with new and inviting activities. It got me thinking about my need, as a mother and homemaker, to have just as much of a creative outlet as my children. But how? Most of my day is spent tending to the home, dogs, and homeschooling. But, what if there was a way to engage in my own creative outlet alongside my children?
New Hobbies I Want To Try
So, I sat back, thought about the things my children often do, and adjusted them to things I would want to do. Let me share a few examples.
Writing Poetry and Short Stories
As a child I wrote poetry often. One day, I hope to write a book. This is something I notice my five-year-old and I have in common. She would write songs and make mini-books and ask me to write down the words for her. I can see writing poetry and short stories alongside her as a hobby for myself. All of it, still relevant to homeschool.
Blogging as a Hobby
I enjoy writing and sharing my thoughts on motherhood, homemaking, and home education. My primary role is homeschool mom because it is what takes most of my time. Starting a blog in which I write new blog postings twice a week allows me to have a creative writing outlet.
Painting is also something I’ve wanted to get into ever since I watched the movie, The Notebook, ha. I would sketch a little as a teen but painting always intrigued me. When I set up painting invitations and material for my littles, I can now set up supplies for myself as well.
Again, all relevant, all modeling the value of the creative process, and all while enjoying something for myself.
Making Homemade Playdoh
I recently jumped on the playdoh kit / sensory tray bandwagon and love purchasing homemade playdoh from mom owned businesses. However, that adds up. I can make my own playdoh, ha. Better yet, my kids can join me and create their own colors and recipes. You know, baking and cooking involves a lot of basic math skills. Wink, wink!
DIY Montessori and Waldolf Inspired Toys
I have written a few blog posts about the value of open-ended play and the quality of natural and wooden material for children. I would absolutely love to have the majority of our toys and supplies be made from wood and natural material, but that is not within my budget to do all at once. What I can do, is learn how to make most of these things.
Now, I’ll admit, there’s some instant gratification and joy that comes with buying and having things that are already handmade or from small business owners. However, there is so much more joy in watching your kids enjoy playing with or using something you made yourself.
I am also looking forward to the real life example my daughter will be able to witness of what it looks like to learn a new skill and make mistakes along the way. Those moments I poke myself with the needle or mess up a stitch, all of this is part of life learning. The lesson of grace is in how I handle my mistakes and failures as I learn something knew. My attitude in those moments are an example for her.
A few things that I would like to DIY are felt animals and characters. I think making a small felt board with common animals and characters is a great way to tell stories outside of physical books.
Needle felting means I can make 3-D figures to add to our toy and material collection. All handmade and with natural materials.
Making Peg Dolls
Peg dolls are fun to play with. They are even more fun to paint and add clothing to. This is something I also want to do as a hobby. I can even learn with my daughter, who loves cutting up fabric to make clothes for her dolls.
Learning to Sew and Make Stuffed Dolls
Have you seen the price of a Waldorf doll? Yeah, pretty expensive. So, I want to learn. If someone else can make these dolls, so can I.. maybe.. we gon’ find out though, ha. I am actually pretty pumped to learn a new skill such as sewing.
How to Find a Hobby That Works for You in Your Season of Motherhood and Homemaking
I’ll admit, I still struggle with guilt when I take time away from the home and my children to do something I enjoy. I think about the sink full of dishes and the laundry that needed to be folded when I’m out spending three hours just to have my hair done by someone other than myself. Much of this is rooted in past messages received about what motherhood should look like and what a wife should be.
I hate that self-care almost feels like punishment when I return home to the pile-up of things not done because I spent time elsewhere. I’m sure many stay-at-home moms can relate. We run our homes like a business, and unless you delegate, it feels like you fall so far behind when you take time off to recharge.
However, you can still find ways to be creative in the season you’re in at the moment.
Step 1: Identify what you spend the majority of your time doing on a daily basis. This is likely your primary role.
For me, this is homeschooling. That may be a surprise, considering we are eclectic unschoolers and don’t actually spend much time doing any structured schooling. But that is why homeschooling is my primary role. It is an all-day task. I am observing, taking notes, answering questions, grabbing resources, disciplining, co-regulating, engaging, exploring WITH my children, etc.
Contrary to popular belief, parents that unschool their children, actually are very heavily involved in their children’s education. We also spend a lot of “behind the scenes” time reading and researching developmentally appropriate practices, activities in the community that might align with what we observe our children are interested in, etc. Documentation alone is a time-consuming task.
So, now you have the backstory so to speak of why I chose the hobbies above. What is your primary role during the day?
Step 2: Figure out what it is you enjoy about your primary role.
What I enjoy most about my primary role as the facilitator of my child’s self-directed learning journey (unschooling), is creating play invitations. I love making things, always have.
I love talking about open-ended play, learning through nature, and engaging in messy play and process art. Not too fond of the cleaning up part, but, that can be worked on. The learning that comes with messy process art/play is more important.
Ask yourself, what is it you like about what you do most. There has to be something, or why else would you spend so much of your time doing that particular job?
Step 3: Decide what kind of hobby you can do that relates to the most enjoyable aspects of your primary role.
As I was doing our homeschool shopping, I realized how expensive natural and handmade items can be, and rightfully so. The lightbulb went off. I can probably make these things myself. Not only would I enjoy making felt animals and letters, painting wood dolls, and brewing up some non-toxic playdoh in fun natural colors; but these things contribute to our homeschool.
I get to work on something that is for my children, but that I enjoy and get to be creative with. My children watching me do this while they play and explore, also teaching them a lesson. Finally, these will be toys and dolls, etc. that were made by their mother, with love. Heirlooms perhaps.
What can you do in relation to what requires most of your time? These are potential hobbies that can be done while you’re already doing the tasks of your primary job.
Step 4: This step is optional. Ask yourself, what product can I produce out of this hobby that will contribute to my primary role.
This is optional because you do not always need a product to find value in the process of the things you do. However, if there is something you can create as a result of your hobby, why not?
I’m a homemaker, and instead of buying a knit throw blanket for our living room, why not make one? Is there something that can come from your new hobby? A painting, natural soy candles, a blog, or perhaps a small business?
What hobby or hobbies might you give a try in this busy season of raising littles?