Monday, August 6, 2012


I’ve been thinking quite a lot lately about how to build in time for the things I like to do outside of my family and work responsibilities. Let me back up. The notion that mothers have hobbies is not new. Take a look around your FB feed or LinkedIn or even Twitter and note that many women, who also happen to be mothers, make time for their interests. One of my friends is a community theater actress when she’s not working at her day job and mothering her two boys. She just finished the lead role in a show and although the rehearsals and shows took her away from her family more than she might have liked, she made the time to do it because it’s her “thing”. (And I wish I had made the time to go see her perform. Bad friend.)

Other women I know run marathons, are active photographers, write novels, volunteer at their children’s schools with regularity, make beautiful clothing and accessories for their children with their hands (and a trusty sewing machine). Most of these women also have full-time jobs. And husbands, and kids, and homes to manage. I want to know how they do it. They don’t have more time than I do; last time I checked there are still only 24 hours in a day. They don’t necessarily have more help than I have available to me. I think what they do have is a true, deep, and meaningful passion for their hobbies, for their “things”. Am I missing that passion? Is there really nothing in my life that I find important enough to make time for? I refuse to believe that to be true.

I wake up at 5:45 in the morning, get the kids up, get myself dressed and presentable, get to work, work all day, go home, get dinner together, feed the people, bathe the people, read to the people, tuck in the people, and then collapse on the couch from exhaustion. You may have noticed but I haven’t written anything of substance here in months. MONTHS. This blog used to be one of my favorite spaces. It was an outlet for me to tell you my stories, post pictures of the precious babes, and spill the contents of my brain when they threatened to take over. At some point it became just another thing to cross off the list…I had lost my passion for writing. But is it possible that passion can be resurrected?

Twitter and Facebook and blogs sometimes feel like they move too fast for me. Like all the people behind them are living these spectacular lives with opportunities to be even more amazing (and if you didn’t just hear Electrolux Kelly Ripa in your head a little we can’t be friends). They have these wonderful hobbies and are doing pretty cool things in their little corners of the world while I sit prone on my couch with the iPad on my lap and toothpicks propping up my eyelids. Yes, I could be writing away at that non-fiction book I’ve been considering every evening but I’m also exhausted from thinking all day. Yes, I could be practicing yoga at a studio in my neighborhood but the thought of leaving the house after my shoes are off and the kids are in bed…that requires a store of energy I don’t have.

I begin to wonder if it’s just the fact that I have small children. If you were unaware, small children suck the energy out of you, molecule by small molecule (darling as they are). But then I look at these women I previously mentioned and guess what? They also have small children. They just have a better understanding of themselves (perhaps deeper pockets, too?) to make their hobbies a reality on a regular basis.

If I had to name my passion it would be writing; it’s putting words to paper (screen), exploring ideas and wandering the far reaches of my mind. I find comfort in the written word, as much reading it as writing it. I admire people who can weave a good story or communicate with clarity and truth through their words. In the course of writing this post, I began to feel the stirrings of excitement. This…energy (how novel! how foreign!) stemming from the possibility of a new discovery. Can I make time for writing? Is there room for me in the community? Can THIS be my passion?

Why not.


Michelle said...

I think it took me a long time after having Tate to get back in the swing of things. Now, it's been a year and I finally feel like I'm able to get back to doing things that I love... and um, I'm not even working full time. So what is my excuse?

The writing will come, but the living has to come first.

Sara said...

That's a very good point, Michelle. The living does have to come first. I'm happy that I'm starting to feel like there is more to this living than just the kids and work--it's been a while since I've been excited about something. Who knows where it will take me but I'm going to ride it!

A'Dell said...

I have felt this way many times over again, ESPECIALLY when I was working. Both the feeling that I SHOULD want to do other things (but I didn't want to) and the feeling that I DID want to do other things but there wasn't TIME. (Because I didn't make time.)

I do think it's a young child thing. I really do. It is simply more exhausting to take care of a young child than an older child. I mean, Claire isn't even four yet and she's eight thousand times easier than Charlotte. Claire is also super capable of having HER own things and activities to do, which somehow makes it easier for ME to have MY own things to do, you know? It's stupid! But in my brain it's like "Oh, everyone is doing their thing!"

But a baby (and really, I think, a child under 2) doesn't have her own activities or things to do and they're just SO NEEDY around the clock that the mountain of things to do when I got home was...overwhelming.

So, yeah, I get it. I get that going to yoga sounds nice in theory but hell no I am not leaving the house again today. It's a hurdle to talk myself into doing things sometimes.

pseudostoops said...

I totally, totally get it. I can tell you your house always looks GORGEOUS compared to mine, and I always leave thinking "I should put more effort and pride into our living space, so we can have a nice place like Sara's." I don't mean cleaning/housekeeping (although it is well-kept, too)- I mean your space is so restful and pretty and well put-together. I guess what I'm saying is- it may not FEEL like a hobby, but people may be recognizing things that you do and thinking "I don't know how she does it" that feel totally ordinary to you. So you have writing AND house beautifying! Two hobbies! Look at you!

Erica said...

I think kids should count as a hobby! Is looking great in pictures a hobby because you've got that nailed.

Jennifer said...

The Young Kid Phase is so hard, especially when you see people around you who have slightly older kids and thus, slightly more energy and/or free time. They may SAY they have no free time (what with running to practices and school events) but after watching my neighbors who all have older kids.. NO. They DEFINITELY have more free time to just hang in their yards while their kids ride bikes down the street etc. Meanwhile, we're chasing around the yard, the house, changing diapers etc etc. It's a much different type of energy needed and by the time bedtime comes, there is ZERO energy left for fun things like 'hobbies'.

I often feel jealousy when I see SAHMs who get to spend naptime making crafts and doing fun things. Because I work at home/run a business, I feel TERRIBLE guilt if I spend naptime doing anything other than work/email/catch-up. So while I'm lucky and get to spend most of my time at home, I feel like I fail doubly because I don't have the excuse of being out of the house 8+ hours every day, but I also can't keep up with laundry and dishes because I spend THAT time keeping up with the kids and work. So yay! FAILURE! Let's just embrace it :)

Auntie G said...

GIRL. GIRRRRRRRRRRRRRRRRRRL. To properly address this post really requires an evening out and a wine flight (which...hey! We should book an evening out and a wine flight!), but I'll settle for a virtual *hug* first and then a quick hit list:
1) mah house is a PIT of dog hair and filth most of the time
2) I am an uninspired and untalented cook and put as little time as possible into it, EVER
3) the MONEY I spent on transportation and babysitting in order to make all the rehearsals and performances OMG

and most significantly, when I got cast, my baby weaned and started sleeping through the night. It was basicaly a miracle. If he hadn't, I do not know that I would have survived. Your baby JUST started sleeping well! Apples! Oranges! EVERYTHING in life suffers until everyone can sleep. I seriously came very close to being fired before baby G was sleeping through the night. No one can feel like themselves, much less have passion for anything BUT sleep, until they're getting sleep.

Srsly. Wine flight.

Nilsa @ SoMi Speaks said...

So, I think you have to take a couple things into consideration when you look at *those* working mamas who seem to do it all. Most importantly, they might have more flexibility in their day than you do - more flexible jobs, longer lunches, etc., making it easier to pursue their hobbies. Secondly and equally as important, have you seen their homes? If they're anything like me, their homes are a mess. Yours (and I've seen it, so don't argue) is immaculate. I guess we all have priorities and the question is WHEN will you be ready to ignore a few things in your life (not children, husband or job) in order to pursue things that make you happy??? Maybe the fact you're starting to care about it means NOW just might be the perfect time (and I promise I won't tell if there's a dish in your sink next time I visit). =)