Tuesday, August 30, 2011

Three Options for Mom-Friendly Hobbies

Okay, I’m going to start out by stating the obvious; moms need a break.

Sometimes a bubble bath can cure all my problems for an hour. Other times, I need a way to be creative and constructive and totally selfish. In other words, I need a hobby.

Author Julia Cameron noted that “The creative process is a process of surrender, not control”. This is probably the best way to define a hobby, as well as explaining why it’s important to have one.

How many things are mommies supposed to be in control of? Menus, finances, schedules, school supplies, clean socks, et cetera. So, at what point are we allowed to give up control? Here’s a hint; it won’t be while the kids are in the room.

A hobby is something that will allow you to give up control of the world, go to a quiet space, and just play. You can play with paper, play in the dirt, or play a song. The best hobby tips I’ve ever heard are;

  • hobbies are more about the process than the outcome, and
  • a hobby is something you enjoy, not something someone else approves of.

With these guidelines in place, I’ve managed to narrow my hobby ideas down to three; scrapbooking, gardening, and piano playing. Now I just need to narrow those three possibilities down to the one that suits my needs at the moment.

Gardening for Mommies

Having maintained a respectable looking lawn for several years now, I can assure you that gardening is not about control. Okay, some folks who cultivate prize-winning roses might disagree, but for the average gardener, the process is simple. Plant a seed, water the seed, and stand back. Nature will take care of the rest – or not.

Whether or not I end up with the most beautiful garden in the neighborhood, though, there are still some obvious benefits to gardening;

  • sunshine and fresh air are good for people as well as plants,
  • growing plants from seed will help me learn patience, or
  • purchasing plants at the nursery will give me an excuse to go shopping.

Maybe getting a bit of dirt under my fingernails could be a healthy thing.

Scrapbooking for the Over-Scheduled

Back before married life, mommyhood and a career took over my schedule, I did a little scrapbooking, and I even completed a couple of family books. Of course, I have many more photos to organize now, and far less time to organize them. Nonetheless, if I get started now, I could have Samantha’s baby book done in time for her graduation.

Aside from having a beautifully crafted book to show off, scrapbooking offers a few other benefits;

  • I will be able to tap into my creative side by playing with colors, shapes and textures.
  • If I rely more on my own creativity than someone else’s marketing gimmick, scrapbooking can be a very affordable hobby.
  • Taking time to go through our familypictures will remind me of how much I have to be thankful for.

Maybe this could be worth the time it will take to clear out a corner of the den and set up a worktable.

Piano Lessons for Grown-Ups

I actually took piano for a little while in high school, but I quit before really accomplishing anything. I quit because of a lack of interest and what I naively considered to be a lack of time. Now that I’m old enough to appreciate the value of music as well as how to use my time, I’d like to take up the piano again. This time, though, a few things have changed:

  • I can learn how to play piano on my computer, rather than hiring a teacher. Consequently;
  • I can schedule both lessons and practices to suit my schedule, not someone else’s, and
  • I won’t have to worry about upcoming recitals or other performances. I can just play for the love of it.

I’ll be able to download or purchase plenty of songs on the piano for beginners, and if I never get good enough to play anything by Aaron Copeland, it won’t matter.

Hobby Ideas for the Rest of Us

Having looked at the advantages of each of these hobbies, I have come to an important realization; I just can’t decide. Fortunately, I don’t have to pick just one, do I? I could garden in the spring and summer, scrapbook in the fall and winter, and I could play the piano whenever I feel like it.

So, do you have a hobby or a few hobbies you’d care to share with us? It’s always fun to know how other people maintain their sanity.

About the Author:

Melissa Cameron is a married mother of two, beginning piano player and full time freelance writer. When she isn’t busy exercising, maintaining a house or raising two daughters, Melissa produces informative articles on parenting, frugal living, and maintaining one’s sanity.

Thanks, Melissa, for your contribution to Mommy Rantings! I actually LOVE to "raise" flowers. :) Since moving into our new house, I have purchased a few plants to enjoy - and try to keep alive through the winter! I have 2 African Violets, 2 Kalanchoe (a red and a pink), 2 deep purple mums for the fall - they are beautiful! - and two assorted hanging baskets that will eventually need to be split up and repotted for the winter season.

I'm hoping that they all survive the winter in the basement - a trick that I was just told by a friend - and that my thumb is at least halfway "green" enough to carry them through the winter...I'll have to keep you posted!. :) So far, they are all thriving, far beyond the growth that I expected this late in the season! I've had to repot all of them (except the hanging baskets, which I will save for last)!
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