I’ve been asked that question many times, most often in
regards to my baking, reading and writing. And every single time, I feel
pressure to justify and defend. I used to respond with statements like:
“I wear my babies while I bake and my daughter loves to
“I only read while I’m pumping.”
And, “I regularly choose writing over sleep.”
All of these answers were and still are 100% true but they
were born out of defensiveness. I don’t know what it is about that question
that makes me feel like I need to explain myself, like I need to assure the
asker that I’m not being selfish with my time or putting my own hobbies above
I’ve asked “How do you have time for that?” to knowingly put someone in an awkward position where they have to admit that they choose their hobbies over their kids.
I’ve also asked that question more times than I’d like to
admit. Sometimes I ask it out of pure admiration and curiosity. Like, seriously…how
does that woman manage to foster
homeless dogs or practice yoga several times per week or write a freaking novel
while still parenting her children? And unfortunately, I know that I’ve also
asked it in judgment. I’m hanging my head right now, but it’s true.
“How do you have time for that?” to knowingly put someone in an awkward
position where they have to admit that they choose their hobbies over their
kids. It’s a sad fact…even people like me who loathe the mom olympics play them
from time to time.
So I’ve stopped asking the question. And I’ve started
answering it in a much better way. Now, when somebody asks me how I have time for
my baking, reading or writing, I say…
And I leave it at that. Because it’s true! There is always laundry
to fold. There are always dishes to wash. There are always kids to feed, bathe,
dress, diaper, sing to, play with and snuggle. There are always thank-you notes
to write and mystery smears to scrub out of the carpet. We don’t have time for
self care. We just don’t. But something’s got to give because we need it. We are desperate for our
knitting parties, afternoons in the garden and church choir nights. And nobody
wants a desperate mama. When I’m writing and reading and baking, I’m a better
mom. But even if those things didn’t make me a better mom, I’d still need them.
And that would be okay.
So the next time someone asks you how you can possibly have time to take photography classes, dabble in oil
painting or master hundreds of levels of Candy Crush Saga, just tell them, “I
don’t.” And leave it at that.