The kids want to play, and they insist you join rather than sit on your phone from a distance. The house has to be cleaned so that’s your priority when they nap (if they nap). Then there is all that laundry and the random things you have to keep track of that no one thinks about like doctor appointments, gifts for birthday parties on your husband’s side, applying for opportunities for your kids such as preschool or classes. Remembering to organize clothes based on season so there’s less clutter. Making calendars, doing groceries and so much more!
So it’s not a surprise that many mothers find themselves with little or no time to do the things they like such as running, scrapbooking, watching movies, painting, drinking!, or just laying on the couch for five minutes. I can sympathize. I was that way when my son was just born and when I figured out how to handle my other responsibilities, I had a full time job so my ‘free’ time at home, I wanted to spend with my son. I should spend with my son, I thought.
Now, he’s three years old and I’ve got another one on the way and I’ve found that the only way to make time for hobbies is just like anything else…just do it. If you like reading, grab a book and tell yourself you’re going to read a chapter a day. Make small goals. Tell your husband you need the time alone or stay up late or wake up early but make it happen. No one has time for everything, but they make time and that’s why I get annoyed when people tell me they don’t have time to do this or that with me. Yes, you do have the time but you would rather spend it doing something else so I’ll stop considering you a priority if I’m not a priority in your life. And that’s fine. The smaller my circle is, the better I’m able to invest in people that keep me close to them. I have a best friend who is also a mom and very busy. She has two kids and I only have one but she always invites me to come over or do playdates and I get to see her almost three times a week every week. It’s really nice but it’s all because we make the time for each other!
I love writing so I email myself on my phone when I’m in the bathroom or on the train to work and finish articles in those minutes when I’m alone and have no other obligations (usually… My son does try to hang out in the bathroom, too lol). I have woken up early on weekends to read or just watch TV by myself but sometimes my son wakes up just as early. Worst case scenario I hang out in the garage for a few minutes when I get home just to catch my breath and listen to music before walking in the door.
If you like swimming or hanging out at museums, take baby steps towards bringing those things back in your life. The more you engage in things that make you happy, the happier you’ll be in general and that’s going to show in how you treat the rest of your responsibilities and how you act with your kids.
Kids can tell when you’re in a bad mood and if you’re constantly miserable because there’s no part of your life that belongs to just you, it will show. Even if you have to start with taking your kids to places you like to go or having them attend a painting class so you can do some sort of painting, it will be worthwhile. You’re more than a mom and there’s no reason to give up all of yourself for 18 years just to spend the rest of your life trying to make up for that lost time–or worse, trying to refigure out who you were to begin with.
Do something different this week and remind yourself that you’re worth it. Your hobbies are just as important as raising a family. You have to take care of yourself in order to best take care of them!