Hobby after a baby? Sounds impossible, right? Not if you are determined and plan it well. Also, getting organised and following your passion will make you happier, and a better parent. Find out how.
By Monali Bordoloi
Caring for a baby can get all-consuming, at times. Most mothers tend to feel overwhelmed with the new routine of breastfeeding, nappy-changing and caring for baby. Sometimes, moms are so hard-pressed for free time that, leave alone pursuing a hobby, they do not have the energy to take care of themselves.
But, did you know that post-partum, some new mothers suffer from depression and anxiety? Studies state that having a hobby can help you keep such feelings at bay. Research published in 2016 by the Society for Personality and Social Psychology suggests that you will be happier if you have more time to follow your own interests. Meaning, if you can prioritise activities that bring enjoyment and joy — such as a hobby — you feel more satisfied.
But most new moms become so engrossed in their child that they forget about their own likes and dislikes. So, pursuing a hobby of your own after a baby becomes even more important for new moms.
Also Read: Benefits of Hobbies for Your Child
We admit this is often easier said than done. But with some effort and determination, you can make it happen. In fact, many mothers admit that having a separate passion, apart from taking care of children and home, has made them a better parent. Now, these mothers spend their spare time doing what they love — some are writing blogs, some catching up on reading and are part of book clubs, while others are pursuing photography, gardening, knitting and other varied interests.
Here are 5 tips to get you started:
1. Manage your time better: Do you know that if you are organised, you actually get more time for yourself? Radha Nair Venugopal, who now runs a cafe near Ulsoor lake in Bengaluru, says: “My culinary journey started when my kids were pretty young. At that time, I used to take catering orders. I would send my kids to school and start cooking for those orders. I would finish by the time they got back home.” She adds, “I admit, its tough to pursue a hobby after you have kids, but nothing in life comes easy. You need to work hard if you are passionate about something. I am glad that I did and today, I run two cafes that keep me on my toes most of the time.”
2. Support system at home: It is always better if you have a supportive family so you can pursue your hobby. However, as Radha says, “Families are increasingly becoming nuclear these days so, if you are determined to pursue your hobby, not having a support system back home should not hold you back. You will work around it if you are passionate about it.”
3. Do it on your own time and convenience: There is no rule that you must go out and about to pursue your hobby. You can do something creative from the comfort of your own home too.
Ritu Dixit used to work in the corporate sector before she took a break for her two kids. Today, she has learnt Madhubani painting and excels at the art form. And now she is taking it forward by accepting orders to do Madhubani work on saris, stoles, and households items like mugs, trays, so on. Ritu says, “My children know that they must not disturb me when I am painting. Painting helps me de-stress from the chaos of managing children and home.”
4. Ditch that guilty feeling: Do you feel guilty if you spend an hour or so, without your kids, doing something you like? Most mothers feel that way. However, pursuing a hobby will actually make you a better parent. As Radha points out, “Doing something you like will make your happy from within; when you are happy, you become a better parent too.” Ritu agrees. “It is wrong to think that pursuing a hobby of your own is neglecting your children. As a mother, your priority will always be your children. But a little time away from your child to pursue a hobby will not do any harm. Moreover, you could include your children too in your hobby, if they are up to it. For example, after watching me do Madhubani art, my kids showed an interest in it. Now, sometimes we all paint together,” adds Ritu.
5. Pursue a childhood interest: Were you passionate about something while growing up but forgot about that post-career, marriage and children? For instance, most of us would have had hobbies or passions like dance, singing, photography, fashion design or even, make-up. But, with time and the pressure of career and marriage, we have left those interests behind. If you are on a career break after having a baby, then this is the right time to rekindle those old loves and re-start where you left them. You would be surprised to find that those activities can still give you so much joy. Why, your hobby could even become an alternate career option!
Keep in mind that having a hobby does not mean neglecting your home or family. It simply involves taking some time out for yourself so you can actively take up something creative and fulfilling. The end result will be greater well-being and happiness, both for you and your family.
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