I’m thinking of myself and I’m not sorry.
When I was in my 20’s, I had time for hobbies that weren’t for anyone’s benefit but mine. I could name a dozen things that I liked to do in my spare time. Now, I’m not sure I could name three.
About two years ago, Ev drew a picture at daycare with the theme My Mom Likes to… Her response was “do dishes”. NO! I don’t like it, they have to be done. Just like laundry and mowing the grass. They certainly don’t count as hobbies.
Having a career and family took my focus. Spare time went from checking out local bands and Friday night softball to falling asleep on the couch at 9 pm watching Netflix. I always felt guilty if I wanted to do things just for me. It just wasn’t a priority.
Since arriving in Germany, I’m getting better at doing what I like to do. Not what I have to do. Not what I should do. What I want to do. I’m purposefully rediscovering my hobbies.
There’s no pictures in it
Aside from making time to write, I’m returning to one of my first passions, reading. Don’t get me wrong, we read with the kids daily, but these books don’t rhyme, don’t involve a princess and don’t even have pictures. Gaston would not approve.
When we first moved to Maryland, Matt traveled all the time. I needed a way to make friends and keep busy, so I joined a book club. Over the nine years we were there, I made some amazing friends while reading many books outside my comfort zone. Even after the girls arrived, and my participation lessened, I enjoyed having adult discussions and the chance to explore genres that I would often overlook.
I love getting recommendations from friends and family. It helps me expand my reading list and get to know them better through which books ‘speak’ to them.
I’m not a big spender on books. I don’t keep them or re-read them so the thrift store is my favorite book store. After I read them, they get donated back – the circle of life!
I’m not opposed to special ordering books when needed, like when a group of us decided we’d read selections from a banned book list. We made it through two books before our lives interrupted and we fell off the naughty reading wagon.
We Do It Nearly Every Night
If you make something a priority, you’ll find a way to make time and do it. Virtually every night, Matt and I are getting busy between the covers – book covers. I know what you were thinking 50 Shades of Grey lovers.
Our new house is about twice the size of our previous home, so we’re experiencing some ‘growing pains’ with the girls at bedtime. On the weekends, they do sister-sleepover, but since they don’t stop giggling, talking and arguing until 10 pm those days, we make them sleep in their own rooms on school nights. This, of course, makes Evelyn panic because she hates to be alone.
To help ease her fears as she drifts to sleep, we have started to stay upstairs in our room, or the balcony off our room, so she knows we’re close. I’m loving these mini date night sessions when I have Matt to myself. We’ve opted not have a TV in our room so that usually means he and I are having real conversations without being interrupted and eventually, reading.
It also means I’m staying up late for just one more chapter then regretting it when the alarm goes off. Totally worth it though.
Don’t Be Your Own Identity Thief
I’m a wife and mom, but that’s not entirely who I am. I don’t have to let those roles define me. I can still find ways to be an individual when caring for our family. If I want to raise our girls to be healthy, strong and independent women, I need to lead by example.
It’s time to stop thinking that wanting a break is bad. Understand it’s healthy not selfish to get a hobby! And, it’s good for your partner to do it, too.
I deserve time to read, garden, take a class, shop alone, have a girl’s weekend or just sit in hot bath for hours and not feel guilty. You know, this sounds like the beginnings of a To Do List that I could actually enjoy.