I remember in a job interview, I was asked, “What are your hobbies?” and I remember thinking, “Who in the world has hobbies? Who has time for that?” Other than reading, I didn’t have any hobbies, and I didn’t know anyone with hobbies. I didn’t even know why anyone would need one, anyway.
Now that I’m a stay at home mom, the need for hobbies has arisen. It’s not because I have oodles of time on my hands, because I don’t. I always thought I would be really bored if I ever chose to stay home, but that isn’t the case! Instead, I’ve found many other reasons why I have picked up a few hobbies, and make time for them on a regular basis.
A book I’ve been reading lately about motherhood, and life in general as an adult woman, mentioned the need for women to have some creative outlet. Before big box stores and all the convenience of modern life (as she mentions in her book written more than 50 years ago), women’s chores required a bit of creativity such as making or mending clothes, blankets, cooking with the items available to you, etc. Now we have to seek out ways to create with our own hands, and find ways to express creativity. While I was working full time, I would have told you I’m not creative in the slightest, but I’ve come to realize that my work was my creative outlet. Now that I’ve had time to explore different avenues, I realize that I love creating items following a pattern. I like figuring out the pattern, like a puzzle or math problem, and sorting out how it all works to make an item that I can hold. Quilting, knitting, crocheting, and tatting all fit the bill.
As stay at home moms, there’s almost constantly someone around us. Even if they aren’t directly asking something from us, just their presence keeps us in “Mom mode.” We don’t fully relax, and we’re ready to be interrupted at any time. It’s hard to feel rejuvenated when you’re always on the clock. When working, I at least had 30 minutes in the car by myself to and from work. Now, it takes more intention to find pockets of time for myself. Even if it’s 30 minutes of knitting while waiting for a child to finish up in their sports practice, it can be a breath of fresh air.
Veg out, yet be productive
We start the bedtime routines around 6:30 with Amatullah, and Aamina is normally tucked in for the fifth and final time by 9pm. After all that, I have nothing left in me to grade papers, write on the blog, or even hold an intellectual conversation. You know what I can do? Follow a pattern. I can feel the tension leaving my body, the brain gears churning again, and all the while I’m creating something. Laying back and watching TV isn’t as relaxing as knitting or crocheting. For this time when I have barely any brain power left, I have simple projects on hand like dishcloths, or hats.
I rarely keep the items I make. Most things are given away to someone else, or they serve a function in our home like dishcloths or cloth diaper covers. It’s fun to think of the person I’ll be gifting the item to, knowing that they will appreciate the time I spent making something just for them. Even if they don’t like the item itself, in the end, I know most people will appreciate the effort. I may not always call people on the phone, but I think of them. Giving them something I made with my own hands shows that care.
The simpler things
I want my kids to appreciate the simpler things in life, in sha Allah (God willing). So far, I’ve been a terrible gardener, and a lazy CSA recipient, wasting for too much food because I didn’t get around to canning everything. Still, I can show them that you can make a scarf, or hat, and it can be something special. Our favorite blankets in the house? Ones that either I have made, or my mother in law made. Sure, there are probably equally comfortable store-bought blankets, but there’s always something special about the ones made by hand.
Your hobby might not be the same as mine. I have friends who like to paint, take pictures, or other creative outlets. Whatever it is, many of these same ideals apply. Find something that works for you, to connect back to who you enjoy being, for this life and the Hereafter, in sha Allah. Serving our families is beneficial, but don’t forget to serve yourself as well.
What are your hobbies, and how did you get started with them?
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Jessica @EatSleepBe says
Love this. I tell my husband all the time that he needs a hobby, for all of these very reasons!
Shannen Espelien says
That’s true, husbands need hobbies, too! Fortunately, my husband’s hobby (computer stuff) is also his career, so he finds great pleasure in his work most days.
Yay! Great post I love my hobbies and most if not all of them benefit my family in some way. My newest hobby is spinning fiber to make my own yarn. Oh it’s also very gratifying and freeing to have that self reliance.
Shannen Espelien says
I’ve seen your hobby escapes on IG! MashaAllah, you are very talented. You’ve got me thinking about spinning again. 🙂
Now that was a good read, maa shaa’Allah.
Shannen Espelien says
Jazak Allah khair!