As a homeschooling mom to three, I see that title and look a little askance, just like I expect you’re doing.
I have three children to educate who are in approximately 8,253 activities. Each. They need to eat seven times a day. I have this thing about clean underwear; my husband, sadly, has this thing about unwrinkled work shirts. The house should be a whole lot cleaner than it is.
I *get* it. Frankly, in this post, I’m talking to myself as much as to you.
Mama, you need a hobby and let me tell you why.
You are a person created in the image of God.
I don’t think we can discount this one. God, complete in himself, created everything out of nothing. Simply for His pleasure.
If He created us in His image, after his likeness, we too will create.
A hobby helps you maintain your identity
How many of us were told that “only” being a wife and mother was not sufficient? That we would “lose” our identity if we didn’t strive for work or seek for that career to be our own person?
While I deny that I “lose my identity” by being a wife and mother, I do affirm that another part of who I am and how I fulfill that role is in the creative endeavors I may enjoy.
Expertise or mastery of some craft can become a part of your identity; a part of what you’re known for. I’ve been a little too scattered to stick to one thing for very long and strive for mastery, but I can assent to the importance of expertise.
Skill or mastery in a knowledge base can become a part of your identity, too. I think of something like bird-watching and the joy that many find in knowing a lot about birds and their habits. Their ability to teach or instruct others. A hobby doesn’t have to be something you make but can be something you do.
A hobby can be a way that you expand your mind by doing something out of the ordinary. My husband loves geocaching. It gets him out into nature – out of the office, house, everyday worries – and is a place to calm his soul. Doing something different is often a way to nurture creativity and ease the mental strain.
So many people are tied to the one thing they do. He’s a programmer. She’s an executive. He’s in construction. She’s a homeschool mom. Let’s get out of the rut of defining people solely on what they do and seeing many facets of their lives including what they love.
You won’t always be a homeschooler; it only feels like it
Someday your children will leave home. Whether to college or a home of their own, the goal is to raise adults. Cindy Rollins, in Mere Motherhood, really brought this home to me:
I am a mother at heart. I build a home, which seems like a place to stay, but really, it is a place to leave. That is the way of it. Children are meant to grow up. I understand that now. Maybe you have yet to come face-to-face with what that means. I hope you will take courage and allow your children to walk away with grace.
A hobby, an interest now may open doors or create opportunities in the future. If nothing else, getting started in small amounts now, will build a foundation for that empty nest time. And, perhaps, a hobby will be an aid to you in being graceful as you let go.
Hobby with hubby is part of marriage maintenance
Choosing a hobby with your spouse can help knit your hearts together through a common interest, vocabulary, and culture. As I mentioned above, some day it’s going to be the two of you rattling around in the house again. Finding ways to spend time together now making or learning together, sharing time and ideas together, sharpening intellects together is an excellent way of keeping strong bonds with your spouse.
Hobbies exercise your brain and keep the mind and body active
There seems to be some evidence that keeping an active mind is a defense against dementia as we age. While this isn’t foolproof – of course – and isn’t a first reason to engage in a hobby of some kind, it is encouraging to think that continuing to learn is a defense for your mind and your future.
Learning a hobby can inspire your children
A few years ago, I purchased a calligraphy set for my daughter for her birthday in October at the Homeschool Convention in the spring. While I was at it, I bought one for myself. I started using mine when I got home, practicing occasionally.
She was so intrigued. Within weeks she was asking for her own Calligraphy set. She still practices often with it during Morning Time. A perfect way to keep her hands busy while participating.
I never once asked, “Would you like to try this?” I never once instructed, “Try this.” She was inspired to try herself – and ecstatic when she opened her present.
Learning a hobby can give you compassion for your children’s struggles with learning
That calligraphy set I got for myself? Man, there are so many little details to calligraphy. So many nuances. It takes so much patience to set it up and to take my time to do it properly. I get ink all over my hands. I get interrupted. I misspell things and have to start over again.
How much more are my children struggling with the educational tasks I have set for them? They’re learning too – all the time and in more variety. Instead of frustration with their efforts and “why can’t you get this?” after the 98th explanation of fractions, my own habit of study and practice toward mastery helps me to extend grace to them and try to come up with yet another explanation.
A hobby can fulfill lifelong dreams
Have you always wanted to learn to play an instrument? Paint a picture? Write a poem? What dreams do you have? Have you always had? We are so very blessed in this day and age to have so many avenues of learning open to us on the internet. YouTube, online classes, blogs, etc. The sky’s the limit for learning that which you’ve always desired to know.
Hobbies can help you learn how to practice scholé
It’s become a bit cliche to talk about scholé, but restful learning toward mastery is an important piece of the homeschool puzzle. We want to learn in leisure, to feast in joy. Scholé isn’t just about books. It isn’t specifically about the Liberal Arts or about learning how to homeschool classically.
Scholé is about learning to be who God created you to be – it’s about aligning ourselves with God in joy. A hobby helps you learn about yourself, learn about your capabilities, dig deep wells into creation. It’s about bringing God glory through your work.
Learning, Knowing, Creating: A hobby is its own end
It’s such a cliche to say we want to teach our children to be “lifelong learners.” Why?
We say it because learning, in and of itself, is worth our time. A hobby – even if you only spend 10-30 minutes a week – is a way you can continue being a lifelong learner yourself. Whether you take a class (online or in person); or read a book; or practice on your own, your mind and/or your hands and/or your heart spend time learning. You are that lifelong learner you hope your children will be.
If it’s important for them, isn’t it important for you?
In the next few weeks, I will talk about what kind of hobby, then logistics of when Mama can have a hobby. Finally, I’d love to open the floor to brainstorm what hobbies to do – and I’m going to rely on comments and suggestions because the array of options is inexhaustible.
Do you have a hobby? What’s your reason?
She is the author of the free ebook: I Am, I Can, I Ought, I Will: Charlotte Mason’s Motto Explained for Upper Elementary Students.