This isn’t going to be a “traditional” things I like kind of post because I’ve been doing some soul searching about my hobbies and realized that my hobby was/is socializing. While I’m always good for a night here or there of relaxation and vegetation I much prefer to get my fill by being around people. This new phase of my life, parenthood, which will never end at this point has gotten me to think about how I spend my time. As an adult you do not have infinite resources but as a parent you have even less and when you have your priorities out of whack then your actions and your life are at odds resulting in something uncomfortable or wishing it was different.
Case in point: I used to be(lieve I was) an avid scrapbooker. I enjoyed the creativity of making the pages but now I look around the multipurpose room of the new house and regret all the money I spent on supplies (you could probably continue to scrapbook for a year with all the stuff I still have LOL). I enjoyed scrapbooking at the time but it was mostly because I was doing it with people whose company I enjoyed. I think I can count on one hand the times I ever pulled out my supplies and did it just hanging out at my kitchen table. I’ve also only ever looked through any pages I’ve made once or twice since they were completed. Now it all just looks like clutter that I’m desperate to get rid of.
Being the vassal of a tiny toddler tyrant (hey look! alliteration!) and a husband who works odd schedules I’ve had to re-create my life and spend a lot more alone time. I’m not a happy camper about it on many days but on other’s I do enjoy the quiet solitude. My soul rails against the house of silence sometimes but it has given me a chance to explore the avenues of myself that are sometimes drowned out with noise and bombast.
I have had to look critically at the hobbies I had (or thought I had) while also comparing it to the time I spent. If I were to create a time log of my life, where was I spending my time and was it really what I wanted to do with it. If being a parent has taught my nothing; it’s that time is precious. I may not want to spend 100% of my time chained to my darling daughter, but I want her to know me, I want her to have a relationship with me. However part of that relationship is also for her to see a happy and fulfilled Mom, which for me is not accomplished solely by being a mom.
With that, this new phase of life has created opportunity for a renaissance of myself. I have had the chance to explore new (solo) hobbies, or invest more time in reading (according to Goodreads (r) I have read 16 books this year) which is always something I’ve “wanted” to do but never “found the time” because I had something bigger and flashier to attract the goldfish’s attention.
Do I miss being out and about? Yes, unequivocally, yes. But part of this gig also helps me assess how I fill my time and am I filling it with the things that are most precious to me. If I am going to take time away from my family, especially the valuable three of us are together (which currently is only on Sundays), I am more cautious to agree to plans. But I also recognize that going and spending time being with people is an important part of my make up and what makes me happy so I work to find ways to incorporate that in to my schedule on a regular basis.
I have always been one who filled the silence. We could spend years decoding that with my therapist but it’s part of my nature. I am not a quiet person, never have been, probably never will be. I am loud, obnoxious, and not afraid to speak up but in these quiet spaces I have had to learn to accomplish a different task. In the quiet, a battering ram doesn’t work; there is nothing to beat into submission. In the quiet there are only your own thoughts and your own self to listen to.
Parenthood has been the greatest blessing in so many ways. In all it’s messy, crazy, upside down, stressful glory. I have found strength, determination, and endurance I never thought possible (you try being a teacher the first week of school with a kiddo who won’t sleep) but I have also found facets of my character that lay (lain?) hidden underneath it all. Maybe it comes with age and/or maybe it comes with experience. Probably some combination of all of the above but I’m certainly glad I have been able to walk this journey while I’m still young enough to get something from it. I finally know how much my time is worth and no one can take that from me. My time is worth a dozen smiles, a few giggles, one belly laugh, a couple kisses, maybe some smelly feet and a whole lot of snuggles. If you know your cost you can figure out anything.
I encourage you to find the hobbies that really feed your soul and are worth your time. No person, place, or thing should cost more than you’re willing to pay. Make an effort to find the ones that are worth it and to let go of the ones that aren’t; you’ll be saving yourself in the long run and it will be totally worth it.