Having come out of a depression earlier this summer, I now recognize how important it is to have a hobby. It adds spice to life! So whether you’re a Mom or not, I think you’ll benefit from this guest post by Melissa Cameron.
I remember when I used to think of hobbies as something that small boys or grandparents used to keep themselves busy. Hobbies, I reasoned, were not intended for grownups who were working for a living or raising children or both.
Why a Mom Should Get a Hobby
What I didn’t realize was that hobbies are also useful for extremely busy people who are looking for ways to de-stress. One of my favorite quotes is from a Wisconsin newspaper man named Doug Larson who said, “If people concentrated on the really important things in life, there’d be a shortage of fishing poles.”
I don’t fish, but I get the point. Relaxation is just as important as our other, less relaxing pastimes.
When I began to list hobby ideas for myself, I only looked for hobbies which were affordable and convenient. It was also important to get a hobby in which I was actually interested. After I used these guidelines to eliminate things like snow skiing, sky diving and stamp collecting, I settled on three very reasonable hobbies: gardening, scrapbooking, and learning to play piano.
My next step was to evaluate each of these hobbies with regard to their advantages and disadvantages.
Gardening for Busy Moms
Gardening has been a popular hobby for centuries, which should be your first clue that it works rather well as a stress-buster. The advantages of gardening are;
- Great excuse to enjoy fresh air and sunshine,
- Chance to learn patience and persistence
- Great reason to go shopping for flowers
Okay, there are a few more advantages, but these are the ones that appealed to me. The only real disadvantage that I can see to gardening is that I can’t do it year round, even in central Texas. If you happen to live in Montana or New Hampshire, you’ll have an even shorter gardening season.
Scrapbooking for Stressed-Out Parents
I meddled a little in scrapbooking many years ago, before marriage, motherhood and a career complicated my schedule. I even managed to complete two family books before I abandoned the hobby altogether. Consequently, I already know some of the advantages of scrapbooking:
- Because scrapbooking is an indoor activity, it isn’t dependent on the weather.
- Scrapbooking is portable – you can do it as easily on the front porch as you can on the kitchen table.
- Scrapbooking could give me an enjoyable, creative way to organize the box of pictures currently languishing in my closet.
Some folks have the misconception that scrapbooking is inherently expensive, but that isn’t necessarily so. You could spend lots of money on fancy papers and embellishments, but I plan to use less expensive materials and make up the difference by applying a lot of creativity.
Making Music for Everyone
Playing the piano is another hobby which, on the surface, seems potentially expensive. Additionally, learning to play this instrument might be very time consuming as well. As a matter of fact, these are the reasons why I quit playing the piano while I was in high school. It seemed to me that my parents were paying a lot of money for something that I wasn’t really enjoying, and I was constantly moving my other activities around to accommodate lessons and recitals.
The good news is, today I have some options that I didn’t back then. After a few years spent surfing the internet for consumer advice and parenting tips, I found out how to learn the piano without investing a lot of money or time. It turns out that I could learn to play the piano online!
Learning the piano online offers several advantages, chief among them being that I could control when and where I attend my lessons. By removing the human teacher from the equation, and therefore removing their personal schedule, I have full control over whether I want to attend a lesson on a Tuesday afternoon or at 3am on a Saturday.
I will also be able to choose how I learn to play. I could take the classical route and depend on years of drills and practices, which might suit some folks. On the other hand, instead of worrying about how to learn to read music for the piano, I could just learn the chords and then play songs “by ear”. This approach won’t get me to Carnegie Hall anytime soon, but it will make it easier to entertain a group of people at short notice.
Relaxing Without Limitations
When I started out trying to get a hobby, I was focused on finding one perfect pastime that would take care of all my needs. I suppose I’ve realized that there is no single, perfect hobby for me or anyone else.
Maybe my ideal hobby is a combination of hobbies. I don’t really need to scrapbook, garden and play piano every single day, but I can keep each of these pastimes available for when the mood strikes. After all, a hobby should be about what I want to do, not what I’ve limited myself to, right?
Now I’d love to hear from some readers about your hobbies. How do you relax, and would you recommend these activities to other moms? I look forward to your replies.
About the Author
Melissa Cameron is a wife, mother, researcher, freelance writer, blogger and budding piano player. One of her great joys in life is being able to provide valuable information for other moms who are trying to save money, raise their children, and take care of themselves.