“Mama, what do you want to be when you grow up?”

The first time my kids asked me that I laughed. “I’m already grown up!” I replied. I reminded them I have my license in cosmetology; I’ve worked for a florist, now I’m their mama.

Apparently my answers didn’t stick, because when we talk about prospective future professions they still ask me what mine will be. So when my seven-year-old says she wants to have an ice cream shop, I tell her maybe I’ll run the flower shop next door. When my four-year-old says she wants to be a pirate, I tell her I can be her first mate and hoist the anchor or swab the decks.

Of course I’m half joking, but I look at it this way: we have our kids enrolled in dance and gymnastics. My oldest takes piano lessons. We are constantly teaching them to open their minds and learn, and not just for the sake of eventually finding a job, but for the fun of learning. We tell them they should have dreams, and follow them because they can do and be anything they want. But what about me? What am I learning? Am I growing as a person? Or am I showing them I already know everything I need to know? That once they reach a certain age- or become a mother- it’s OK to become stagnant and rest on past accomplishments?

If so, that is the complete opposite of the message I want to send them. I should find enjoyment in life outside of being their mama because it models healthy adulting. When my children are grown I don’t want to be scrambling for my identity, you know?

Which makes me think it’s time I signed up for photography class so I can finally learn how to use all the functions on my dSLR. Maybe by the end of the year I will even complete 3 months of voice lessons- not because I want to be a performer, but because in this life I can’t think of anything more terrifying than singing in public.

Is there something that seems intimidating to learn, but at the same time you think, “Wow that would be awesome if I could ________.”? Is it a foreign language? Maybe you’ve always wanted to try ballet or salsa dancing. Or maybe at this point you’re thinking, “Riiight, in all my spare time!” But some of these options only take half an hour a week. The average American watches 4 hours of television a day- could you squeeze a hobby in by cutting down on TV or social networking?

If it’s not in the budget to take a class or lesson at this time, how about reading a book on a topic you’ve always wanted to learn more about? Or setting aside time each week to watch a YouTube tutorial or eCourse on, say, sewing? Would you be willing to learn a new recipe each week? I mean, we have to grocery shop and cook dinner anyway, why not make it a tasty learning experience, too?

Here’s a list of the hobbies I’d love to test drive, and feel free to join in and add your own in the comments!

  • learn to play musical instrument
  • art class
  • improv class
  • photography class
  • fitness/dancing class
  • learn or brush up on a foreign language (either a class, library book, or a use free app)
  • hiking
  • bike riding
  • learn a new recipe each week
  • learn how to make cookies with royal icing
  • sewing (YouTube)
  • flower arranging (YouTube)
  • read a non-fiction book
  • plant a garden
  • scrapbooking

There is plenty of opportunity and time to grow if we just step outside our comfort zone. It doesn’t have to be time consuming. It doesn’t have to be expensive. Maybe we will discover hidden talents; maybe we will fail miserably along the way. But hey, we will never know if we don’t try- and isn’t that what we tell our kids, too?


  1. Love this Stephanie! I think I do a good job of keeping my own identity although it is hard not to get lost in kid-focused life. This is definitely a model I live by! I think it’s important to turn off the tv/computer and do something (anything) for yourself. Most of the hobbies I have I can do from home (mainly crafts) so that’s nice! In the past year I have taught myself to sew (haven’t since 7th grade), knit in the round, wreath making, coming up with my own amigurumi pattern, and a handful of other things. I always love new things and would love to learn to quilt, weave on a big loom, refinish some old furniture we have/interior decorating (I could use your help with that!). I need to donate my time more to my community too – through volunteering or seething – I haven’t done that in a while and I get so much from it personally and seeing my good works helping others. Thanks for posting this and letting us all know how important following OUR dreams is!

  2. Loved this!

    I myself have fought to maintain my hobbies and interests throughout parenthood. But, as you mentioned with Television usage, there are always ways that we can make some spare time to grow our passions & hobbies.

    – VP

  3. I’d love to take a watercolor painting class. Not in the budget right now, but YouTube may get the job done! I’d also love to start a vegetable garden!

  4. Your children are your only “hobby” until they’ve left the house. You get to do all those other things when they are older, driving themselves and don’t want you around. Until then your only job is to be there for them. If you put them in too many activities that you can’t keep up then they have too many activities. “What about me” you say. Well YOU became THEM when you chose to have them. Believe me, I thought the same thing and guess what??? All my selfishness and wanting to do all that other stuff caused me to loose my family. I was so concerned in me, me, me that my x-husband found another women who wanted to be their MOM full-time and he married her!!! I LOST So much of their growing-up and doing things with them because I only got them every other weekend! Well, I got what I thought I wanted….. plenty of time for me, me, me!
    If I could take those years back, I’d take them in a minute. Those children will be gone before you know it and then you can do whatever you want. But until then, enjoy every single second as their MOM.

    • Hey Dee! Those are great suggestions. I don’t think of any hobbies as being gender specific, in fact, I recently quit a MMA Kickboxing Class after 3 years, which is probably why I left it off my personal list. Thanks for taking the time to add some great options!


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