As a busy wife, mom, woman, and so on…life can feel so busy and full. We run around trying to do everything we can for everyone. But we seldom stop to do anything for ourselves. I’m not talking about indulging hours a day to watch soap operas but rather taking some calculated time to invest in yourself. We’ve got some fun stuff to discuss today, so let’s jump in!
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The Importance of Hobbies
I don’t think hobbies is necessarily the right term here. But rather, intentionally investing in yourself. One big aspect of that is investing in some hobbies and another big part is properly taking care of yourself emotionally, spiritually, and physically.
The lesson I’ve learned throughout the last 4 years (with three pregnancies and five kids) is that I have to take time each day to invest in myself.
Especially in these busy days of toddlers and babies, it feels like there isn’t 10 minutes I can take for myself. If I decide during nap time to put my feet up for 30 minutes with a cup of coffee to read a book, I feel guilty. If I take that time to read, it means I’m saying no to the sink full of dirty dishes, or the pile of bills on the counter, or vacuuming the chips off the living room floor.
If I take 15 minutes for myself, it means saying no to something else in that moment. And with the demanding day to day needs of my family, that often feels selfish and like wasted time. But what I have learned the hard way over the past 4 years, is that I have to take this time for myself. I have to set aside time in my day and in my week to care for myself a little bit so that I have the energy and stamina to care for my kids.
I have to take 15 minutes during nap time to do something for me, so that when all four kids wake up hungry and full of energy, I have the energy to tackle the rest of my day, change diapers, get dinner on the table, and greet my husband with a smile.
“In the Bible we see Jesus taking time to be alone and refuel. This is especially apparent after times of busyness, such as when he fed five thousand people. Our commitments should not overrun our lives to the point that we don’t take care of ourselves. Quiet time to invest in ourselves and become restored is incredibly important.” – Jessica Turner, The Fringe Hours
Wow, what a powerful lesson to remember. Jesus often went by himself to pray, to talk to God, to refuel before going out to minister again. He knew he had a very limited time on this Earth before returning to Heaven. It would be understandable if he didn’t even sleep to get all his work done.
But he also knew that he had human limits and had to take time to rest, refuel, and most importantly, slow down long enough to spend quiet moments with God, talking to Him. Even Jesus, who is GOD, took time, lots of time, for quiet prayer by himself with God the Father.
How much more should we be spending quiet moments? Taking the time to get enough sleep so we have energy and patience to serve our family? To make that time for Bible reading and prayer. To intentionally carve out just a little time in our week to invest in ourselves?
Not only will this help us to have the energy and stamina to tackle our day, but it will also help us to avoid burn out. With all the physical exhaustion of having almost 5 kids 4 and under, I’ve had my fair share of days where I just feel burnt out. And this goes beyond simply being tired, it sinks into the core of my heart and I realize that I am not facing my days with joy. I am facing my day with begrudging duty. Staring at my to-do list with zero to little motivation. To moping around the house and feeling defeated once again when my head hits the pillow that I’ve not really accomplished much throughout that day.
“At some point, when there is too much for you to remember or worry about or think through, you start to forget things. Tasks fall through the cracks. Appointments are forgotten. And slowly you find yourself in the middle of a giant mess. This is what happens when we’re overwhelmed, overbooked, overcommitted, and overstressed.” – Emily Ley, Grace Not Perfection
Does that description sound familiar? Those are the classic signs of burn out for me. I get frazzled, stressed, and find that I am not facing my days with joy. One simple way to combat this is by investing more in ourselves.
To fit in 30 minutes of exercise three times a week, to commit to keeping track of your eating habits and taking the time to eat a full lunch, to maybe carving out a little time each week to work on a hobby or pursue a passion.
Spending some time on these things that refuel us and fill us up can help us find that little extra bit of energy and joy in our days that we so desperately need!
So I LOVE Kassie’s question because she isn’t asking if it’s okay to have a hobby, she knows it’s important, and even a few minutes here or there can help! But I also know how much, as women, we struggle with this concept of taking time for ourselves!
Finding things you can do WITH the kids
About half the time these days, my Bible reading is done with or around the kids! I’ve been struggling with chronic fatigue and getting up early hasn’t been working lately. So about half the time I read my Bible before bed (which works well on those days) and other days I listen to it out loud while cooking breakfast, or I read it with the kids, or listen to it while we run errands around town, etc.
If exercising, running, walking, etc is one of your hobbies then figure out how to do it WITH your kids. Or wake up early to do it before your hubby leaves for work. Or do it after bedtime.
If gardening is a hobby, figure out how to bring the kids into this so they love it! If you want to work on scrapbooking or another craft, then figure out a craft your kids can do at the kitchen table with you (or teach them a simplified version of it).
One of my absolute favorite hobbies is reading and so I’ve become creative with reading time. I will take the kids all outside to play and I’ll bring my book outside to read. Or if I let the kids watch a tv show in the evening, I’ll snuggle with them on the couch and read while they watch. Or I’ll listen to an audiobook while folding laundry while everyone naps, etc.
Get creative mama!! You can find some fun small pockets of time in your day to invest in yourself and believe me…it will make a HUGE difference!
Finding the Time to Write
Some hobbies, like writing, can be a little hard to fit in. One big encouragement that I can give you, is that certain things will become easier as your kids get older. I can pull out a big bin of blocks and let the kids play in their room while I steal 30 minutes of writing, etc. They play so much more independently now that I can build in some time every once in a while.
Now that Jason works from home full time, my writing time is built into our weekly work time for the both of us. BUT when he was working full time, I just had to be disciplined with my time. I KNEW that I wanted to be writing and that God had called me to this (plus it’s definitely a creative outlet for me).
So for years, it was a lot of diligence and sacrificing other things (like social media or TV time)!! I went through a period of getting up before the kids to get some writing time in. Most of the other time was writing once the kids are in bed. AND always making terrific use of nap time! I can always clean and do most things with the kids up so nap time has always been my PRECIOUS time to do something like read a book, take a nap, or get some writing done.
- Avoiding Burn out and letting go of guilt
- Finding hobbies you love as a busy mom (or homemaker)
- 2017 Word of the Year (and how it has to do with my hobbies)