Why You Need a Hobby While Raising Children

By Holly Giles | Family

Crafting and sewing was a big hobby of mine. Finding old things at yard sales and turning them into something new was my favorite pastime hobby. I really enjoyed.  Then, at the beginning of the little years, I just wanted to know everything there was about nurturing my boys. I read every book and took them to places they were probably too young to remember but I wanted to get it all in. I sewed here and there during nap times but over time it was pushed back for another day.

My oldest son began therapy to recover from his stoke when he was four. I began focusing all my energy to making him well and started to believe that doing anything for myself was wrong. I had convinced myself that I needed to give everything I had to help my son and make sure my youngest was not left out in any way. A hobby was a waste of time.

The years began to run together and pretty soon seven years had passed by. Then, one day I was brushing my teeth and I looked up in the mirror. I just stared at myself. I hardly recognized who I was looking at. Where did all that gray hair come from? Did I really have so many wrinkles around my eyes? Literally, I didn’t know who I was. I felt like I had just woke up from a dream and had no idea where I had been or where I was. It was the strangest feeling I have ever had.

I started to cry. Where had my life gone? What have I been doing all this time? I had become completely absorbed in my children’s lives and where they were headed that I forgot to enjoy right now. I didn’t have a favorite book I was reading because they were all about homeschooling or special needs. I didn’t have a favorite song unless you counted anything sung by Raffi. A date with my husband was unheard of for sure nor had I been out with a friend in maybe a year. When all of this came bubbling up in my mind I began to feel depressed.

When I begin to feel depressed I act like a turtle and go into a shell and stay home. Then, I begin cleaning. This time I found some sewing projects in the back of my closet and decided to bring them out. I worked on them at night after the boys went to bed and I really felt happy inside. I was working on a tote bag and I finally finished it. It made me so happy that I found another project to work on and this time the boys asked if they could help. So, I taught them how to sew.

Then one day my oldest Grayson says to me, “I like it when you sew”. I replied, “Why?” and he said, “Because it makes you happy.”  Wow. I finally saw that when I thought I was giving my all to the boys, I was really keeping something away from them that they needed. They needed to see their mom happy. They needed to see me being productive in my own life whether that was working a job, reading a book that wasn’t a picture book or sewing.

I share this quick story with you because whether you are a stay at home mom or homeschooling mom it is so easy to get caught up in all things kids. I am a recovering homeschool mama who drowned herself in curriculum searches, laminating, and filling my shelves with enough stuff to open my own school.

Yes, I can testify that the days may be long but boy howdy the years are short. My firstborn only has a few more years at home and I am already sad about that. Yet putting ourselves aside for the sake of our children does everyone a disservice. Did you know that life choices and learning don’t just come from doing school? Yep, most of it comes from modeling a parent’s actions and behaviors.

I am an advocate for my boys following their passions. Finding what makes them happy and pursuing it. What am I teaching them if I don’t show them how?

Take a little time this week for yourself. Find a good book that doesn’t have any parental advice, listen to music without food lyrics and take in a nice breeze. Your older self with thank you.

Here are a few ideas to get you started:

  • Photography
  • Painting, watercolor
  • Baking & cooking
  • Quiet reading time
  • Weekly coffee with a friend
  • Online course in an interest
  • Volunteer


About the Author

Holly Giles is a wife, mother, and storyteller. As an author and Florida Master Naturalist, she writes about heritage homemaking skills, motherhood, and why Florida offers the best hidden natural gems to explore as a family.