When I was a single, working woman in my early 20s, I had a lot of passions that I engaged in all the time. I loved shopping, long weekends with friends, my job and crafting. On a random day off, you could find me baking up a storm or redecorating my apartment. These things completed me. Hobbies and passions are such a part of who we are, and when we can indulge in them without thinking about how it affects anyone else, it's a true gift.
As mothers, it's harder to keep up with the very things that set our soul on fire because, often, the way we used to love spending our time has been replaced by little people who we would rather be with instead. And, when the day is done, and we have tucked our kids in bed, we don't have much energy left to spend on things we like to do.
We have a partner we want to connect with, there are bills to pay, there is a house to clean. We have to mentally prepare for the events of the next day, and after all that, it isn't often when we feel like busting out the sewing machine or baking an epic cake just for the hell of it.
Truth be told, when I was a new mom, I dedicated every single bit of my energy to my kiddos, and I didn't even realize I was doing it until one day, I had the overwhelming urge to be creative. I saw a tutorial on how to make a beaded necklace but I immediately thought, I literally don't have the time or energy to get into that stuff again.
It struck me that I had not pursued any of my passions in years and it was time to change that. I certainly was not going to deny myself these things just because I had kids. How is that fair? And what kind of message is it sending to them?
Yes, I was often too tired when my kids were sleeping to get my Martha Stewart on, but I decided then and there that there's nothing wrong with your kids seeing you get so excited about something or telling them you're going to spend time doing something you really love to do.
Every mom needs a few things that are just for her, that she doesn't have to share with her children and she shouldn't feel guilty about it at all.
More importantly, having your children watch you try something that is new and hard is a pretty awesome lesson for them.
So, that's exactly what I started doing. Of course, it made me feel guilty at first. There were times when I felt bad for painting or knitting instead of playing with my kids.
There have been races I've signed up for they didn't want to go to, but I made them go anyway. I reminded them I'd worked really hard to accomplish one of my goals, so they could endure standing around waiting for their mom to cross the finish line because that's what family does for each other. I'll never forget that first race, watching my kids watch me. When I did cross that finish line, I think they were as excited as I was.
I've said no to letting them have a friend over because I wanted to spend the day in the garden and didn't want to entertain more kids than I had to. Sometimes, adults need to get lost in a mess and not have to worry about anyone extra.
The other night, they wanted to go to a school soccer game and I told him I had too much work to do. I love my job and I was in a groove. I had a lot to get done and it felt good to be pounding away at the keyboard and I didn't want the interruption.
I don't always put my passions before my kids' wants. But sometimes I do. Every mom needs a few things that are just for her, that she doesn't have to share with her children and she shouldn't feel guilty about it at all.
Because, when the kids are grown and gone, if we've let our passions die, who will we be?
No more guilt, mamas. Sign up for that exercise class, take that online class, go buy yourself those craft supplies—all without feeling guilty that you sometimes want to create by yourself.
Trust me, you are giving your kids a huge gift by perusing those passions. They get to see a strong woman doing things she loves. A mom who is autonomous, who knows how to put herself first sometimes. You're setting an amazing example and are teaching them that they need to do the same for themselves.
The ancient writing technique of calligraphy can hone more than just your penmanship—it also will strengthen your patience, discipline and attention to detail. After you cultivate your newfound hobby, go on and display it—to your family's and friends' amazement—on your holiday cards next year.