In the fall of 2012, I started a personal blog—partly because I enjoyed writing, but mostly to get my husband off my back about sharing my perspective with somebody beyond the pages of my journals.
Blogging quickly grew into a favorite pastime, but when I became pregnant less than two years later, I was sure that my writing days were coming to an end. Even though I was going to be a stay-at-home mom and would likely still have some time to myself, I wanted to be able to dedicate all of my attention to my son without any side hobbies or projects getting in the way.
Once my son was born, I immediately found joy and fulfillment in my new role as a full-time mom, yet my desire to write hadn’t vanished. In fact, the opposite was true: I had more to say than ever before, and my former “light hobby” became a sacred pastime verging on obsession. I dedicated all of my spare time to my blog, sacrificing sleep and forgoing most nonessential activities to ensure that I could continue hitting Publish three times each week. My audience wasn’t broad and I wasn’t earning any money through my blog, but something compelled me to just. keep. writing.
Blogging proved to be a lifeline for me, holding me afloat when I was drowning in nursing sessions and sleepless nights.
Most of my life revolved around the needs of the small infant in my care; my blog was one thing I was able to keep just for me, and it helped me feel human, sane, and connected to the rest of the world in a way that parenting simply couldn’t.
Now that I’m a few years out from those hazy newborn days, I have a more clear perspective on why I clung so doggedly to my blogging hobby when my son was little, and why I continue to pursue this passion today. At the time, I often felt guilty about spending nap time at my computer, or asking my husband to take over parenting duties for a few hours while I got away to write. These days, I recognize that when I create space to pour into something I care deeply about, my whole family benefits. In the same way that many working moms find that their time at the office makes them better parents when they are home, I know that I come away from a writing session feeling refreshed, fulfilled, and better able to conquer the more difficult aspects of mom life.
In addition to being life-giving for me, I believe that it’s good for my son to see me pursuing something I sincerely enjoy doing.
When I say goodbye to him before heading off to write at the library or a coffee shop, I am modeling healthy self-care and showing him that it’s okay—good, even—to make time in life for extracurricular activities. (I want him to pursue just-for-fun endeavors when he gets older, so it’s only natural that he should see me doing the same.) And in carving out this time for myself, I am also sending a clear message that our family life doesn’t completely revolve around him . . . at least not ALL the time.
I recently heard someone describe motherhood as one long goodbye. As heart-wrenching as that is to hear, it’s true: our goal as parents is to raise adults who will one day leave our nests. For moms—especially stay-at-home moms—the notion of living in a childless home can be daunting. I want to start preparing now for what life will look like once my children are grown, and maintaining a hobby is one way of preserving my identity and sense of purpose for those future empty-nester days.
Making time for hobbies isn’t easy. Even as a stay-at-home mom with just one child and great support from my husband, I struggle to find room in my schedule for my writing and other pastimes. But I know from experience that it is 100% worth it. Whether your hobby is running, reading, crafting, or interior design, hold onto the activities that make you feel more like you. Your future self and even your family will one day thank you for it!