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Note from Lisa: While I’m getting to know our newest family member, I’m so thankful to bring another guest post your way. Amy is here to share different hobby ideas for busy moms. I hope you give one of them a try!
Take it away Amy…
Free time? What’s that?!
It’s no secret that time is limited for busy work at home moms. Having a hobby can seem like an indulgence you can’t afford, either because of time or money.
But having a hobby, however small, is an important part of your wellbeing. Did you know that people with enjoyable pastimes are less likely to suffer from stress and depression?
That’s why I want to give you 10 ideas for hobbies that are easily accessible for work at home moms. Looking down the list, they may seem like a strange mixture of activities.
But all 10 ideas can be fit into the life of a busy work at home mom (although not all at once!)
First though, let’s consider why work at home moms might avoid having a hobby, and why it’s good to have one.
Why Might Work at Home Moms Not Have a Hobby?
Perhaps you had one or more hobbies as a child. You really enjoyed them, and took pride in your achievements. Maybe your hobbies helped you get into college, or looked good on your resume.
Now though, the activities you once loved are pushed down to the bottom of your priorities list.
If this sounds like you, you’ll probably find it’s for one of the following reasons.
Most moms experience guilt at some stage of their motherhood journey. We can feel guilty for all sorts of reasons, many of them untrue. But often, it’s because we think we shouldn’t be spending time on ourselves and the things we enjoy.
Time or Energy
Nobody has more than 24 hours in a day. And if you’re a work at home mom, there’s always more you could do. More housework, more playtimes, more paid work.
Knowing when to stop can be a real challenge. And when you finally do, you’re often so tired you just want to sleep.
Clothes, schoolbooks, insurance….there’s always something that needs to be paid for.
Even if there’s a bit of money left over at the end, many moms find it hard to justify spending any on themselves.
Why Is It Good for Work at Home Moms to Have a Hobby?
Even though it can seem difficult to include hobbies in our busy lives, there are many benefits to doing so. I’ve already mentioned the mental health benefits. Here are three more:
Hobbies Help You Take a Break
It’s so important for us to have an activity we can look forward to without stress, worry or a sense of responsibility.
I’m a mom of two, and at the moment I’m setting up a freelance writing business. As a result, I often think I should be spending every moment focusing on my family, cleaning the house, or work.
All of these are good things, and it’s vital to give them the time they deserve.
But taking a break is important to keep healthy, refreshed and focused. And hobbies can help us with this.
My main hobby is cross-stitch. Whenever I have a project on the go, I’m eager to make progress with it. As a result, I’m much more likely to actually take a break and to enjoy it.
Hobbies Help You Have Fun
As adult responsibilities pile up, our opportunities for fun, play, and laughter decrease.
This is a natural part of life, but we never really grow out of our need for them. There’s a reason why sports, movies and comedy are major pillars of the entertainment industry.
The good news is that fun happens naturally when you’re taking part in a hobby you really enjoy.
And from a parenting perspective, it’s great for children to see adults having fun in healthy and appropriate ways.
Hobbies Provide a Sense of Achievement
As a mom, I sometimes feel like the chores are never done. As soon as one load of laundry is dry, there are more dirties ready to go. As soon as the kitchen is clean, someone makes a sandwich and the crumbs are back worse than before.
Can you relate?
As well as this, some work at home moms might find their paid work repetitive.
In cases like this, it can be easy to miss out on ever feeling a sense of genuine achievement.
Hobbies can often fill that gap for us. If you are a musician, you might feel excited when you learn to play a new piece. Or if you like doing crafts, you might get satisfaction from completing a project.
Even tiny progress with a hobby can feel like a major win.
10 Hobby Ideas for Busy Work at Home Moms
We’ve already seen that guilt, time, and cost might stop us from taking up a hobby.
If guilt is your stumbling block, many of the following ideas can be enjoyed with other family members. Some of them, such as cake decorating, add to the richness of family life.
If money and time are your concerns, most of these hobbies are cheap to start and can be enjoyed in short bursts.
So, read on to discover your new perfect hobby.
1. Jigsaw Puzzles
Scientists have found that we get a dopamine hit when someone likes or comments on something we share on social media.
I’m tempted to argue that a similar thing happens when I hear the satisfying click of jigsaw pieces fitting into place.
About two years ago, I discovered the wide range of beautiful designs available for adults and was enticed to give one a try.
Since then, I like to always have a puzzle on the go. In saying that, it often takes me a year to complete a 1000 piece puzzle. Many enthusiasts can complete one in an evening or two.
For me, however, the point isn’t to get it finished as quickly as possible. It’s to have something relaxing to turn to when I just have a few minutes to spare.
I often fit a few pieces together while the kettle is boiling or the children are engrossed in something. I rarely sit down intending to work on my jigsaw but I enjoy the few minutes of distraction here and there.
If table space is a problem, specialized puzzle boards and rolls are available to buy. These help you to move the jigsaw out of the way when not in use.
I used to love cross-stitch as a teenager but then forgot about it until I was first pregnant. At that point, it became an enjoyable distraction on days I felt sick and tired.
The craft is easy to learn, and you can start creating pretty designs within minutes of starting. There is a huge variety of patterns available (especially online), so if you can imagine it, you can create it.
The huge benefit of this hobby for busy work at home moms is that it is easy to transport. If you choose to work on small to medium-sized projects, they can easily be carried with you around the house, in the car (to work on while the kids are at activities), anywhere you can imagine.
As well as this, cross-stitch patterns are very visual, so you can see exactly where you are. This makes it easy to pick up and put down your work in a hurry, without worrying about losing your place. Perfect in a busy household!
Even if you only have ten minutes to yourself in the evening, you can get a sense of achievement from watching a section of stitching appear before your eyes as you work.
3. Reading Short Stories
As a work at home mom, it can be all too easy for life to get in the way of your reading.
You start a book, but don’t manage to get back to it for a few weeks. By then, you’ve forgotten key details about the plot and character. There’s only one thing for it: back to the start!
If this sounds familiar, perhaps reading short stories is the way to go. They provide escapism, without the stress of keeping on top of the details of a novel.
My mother and I share and enjoy a weekly short-story magazine called The People’s Friend that’s available here in Ireland. The stories tend to be between 1,000 and 4,000 words: just the right length to enjoy with a cup of tea or before bed.
Some of the stories are serials, which carry on from week to week. However, the great thing is that these include a recap at the start, just as you would find in a TV show!
If short stories interest you, ask your local library to recommend some anthologies you might enjoy.
Did you know that mud makes you happy?
It’s true: researchers have discovered that certain microbes found in soil can boost your mood.
Apart from that, spending time in nature is always a sure way to help calm worries and tensions.
Gardening is the perfect hobby to get you out in the fresh air. But don’t worry if you don’t have a big garden. When used creatively, window boxes and containers can fit into even the tiniest of outdoor spaces.
Once you’ve figured out what, where and how you’re going to grow, gardening tasks can become a regular part of your daily routine as a work at home mom. Spending just a few minutes a day on your gardening hobby can yield impressive results.
As a bonus, the things you grow can add life, interest, and color to your home, where you spend so much time.
5. Board Games
Hobbies don’t have to be a solo activity. Sharing your pastimes with others can add to the fun and satisfaction they bring.
In many homes, board games tend to gather dust in a cupboard until Christmas, when they get dragged out for the annual few rounds.
But they have so much potential to help your family have fun, share quality time, and make memories together. They’re also a fantastic way to encourage children away from screens and practice communication and problem-solving skills.
Board games can also be a budget-friendly option for spending time with your other half. When you buy a game with plenty of replay potential, you can have many enjoyable evenings together for less than the price of a meal out.
If you’re interested in making board games your hobby, spend some time researching games you would like to try yourself. It’s easy to fall into the trap of only buying and playing ones you think will appeal to your kids.
Obviously, make sure the subject matter is family-friendly. But it’s good for children to see their parents enjoying board games themselves, as a hobby you never grow out of.
Note from Lisa: I love board games! Here are two posts with some recommendations of games that are fun and can help you and your kids improve your writing skills!
Have you been to a bookstore lately?
If so, you’ve probably noticed the abundance of coloring books for adults now available.
In fact, in 2016, the surge in adult coloring triggered a global colored-pencil shortage!
Coloring is a calming and therapeutic activity. Just like cross-stitch, it’s handy to bring with you on the go. I love the fact that it allows you to be creative, without having to conjure an idea from scratch.
It’s also a hobby you can share with your children. If you’re looking for a few moments of family calm, gather everyone together with age-appropriate coloring books. You get to enjoy your own pastime while spending quality time with the kids.
With the rise of smartphones, parents are taking more photos of their children than ever before.
A 2015 study found that by the time the average child turns 5, she will be featured in almost 1,000 online images. As time moves on, that figure may be even higher.
Whether or not we post our kids’ photos online, we love to have photographic records of them at different ages and stages.
Why not spend some time brushing up on your photography skills to make your family photos the best they can be?
You don’t need to invest in fancy equipment (unless you want to). In secondary school, we spend four mornings learning how to take great photos with disposable cameras.
Learning how to compose and angle a shot can make a huge difference, even with the most inexpensive camera or phone. You’ll find plenty of tutorials online to get you started.
The best thing about this hobby is you can practice it naturally as you go about your day as a work-at-home mom!
8. Bird Watching
Don’t worry! I’m not sending you out in camouflage to sit in a bird hide with binoculars. That could be fun, but it probably isn’t the most accessible hobby for a busy work-at-home mom.
Instead, I’m talking about setting up a bird feeding area within sight of one of your windows. Ideally, this window would be one you are near a lot. Perhaps in the kitchen, or wherever you do your writing.
There are lots of different ways you could set up your bird feeding area:
- Use a bird table
- Hang some feeders from tree branches
- Attach suction bird feeders to the window itself
- Use the top of a wall or windowsill
Once you’ve got everything set up, get your hands on a book or chart of local birds. Use it to help you identify and record which ones visit.
Or simply spend a free moment sitting back and watching the birds going about their business. It’s surprisingly relaxing.
Bird watching is the perfect hobby to share with even the youngest children in your household. Toddlers adore watching feathered friends arrive, especially if they have helped to put out the food.
9. Paper Puzzles
Word Searches aren’t just for kids.
Paper puzzles such as word searches, crosswords, and Sudoku, are a great way to keep your brain sharp while taking your mind off everyday activities.
They are also a hugely popular hobby. During the 2020 lockdown, millions of people tuned into a YouTube channel about two English men solving Sudoku puzzles.
Going further back in time, crossword puzzle fans of the 1920s frustrated New York Public Library staff as they rushed to consult reference books and solve clues.
For busy work at home moms, a puzzle is yet another activity that’s easy to pick up and put down when you have a spare minute. It’s also cheap to start. Print out some puzzles from the internet, or buy a collection from the magazine stand at your local shop. Apart from that, all you need is a pencil (and maybe an eraser!)
And if crosswords become your thing, and you take them really seriously, you can award yourself the fancy title of “cruciverbalist”.
10. Cake Decorating
Family life is full of special occasions and celebrations. And most of these require cake!
Cake decorating is a fun and creative hobby you can do without leaving your kitchen. And by decorating your own cakes for special occasions, you can save money too.
When you begin, it’s easy to feel intimidated by some of the beautiful specimens online. Some people have a natural flair or have spent many hours training and practicing.
Don’t let this put you off.
A simple design done well can be very effective, and is just as precious as a fancy one. At the end of the day, it’s the thought that counts and the cake is going to be eaten quickly anyway.
Use the internet to find ideas and tutorials, and enjoy using your creative skills to make precious family memories.
What Hobby Will You Start as a Work at Home Mom?
Did one of the above hobby ideas catch your attention? Perhaps you tried one in the past and are tempted to take it up again? Or perhaps you’re beginning to see how easily one can be slipped into your day?
When I say “easily”, I know that every situation is different. I don’t know what’s going on in your life, or what your schedule looks like.
You may only have ten spare minutes a week. But if you have a simple hobby to pick up and enjoy in those moments, it can make a huge difference to your well-being as a work at home mom.
So, I urge you to come up with a plan. What will you try and when will you do it?
Note from Lisa: If you need more help trying to come up with time for your new hobby, give this post a read:
Amy is a mum of two from the west of Ireland. She spends her days caring for her tiny humans and her nights blogging. Her blog, The Memory Mum, helps parents to make fun memories with their families. She is also a freelance writer for hire.