As it’s National Hobby Month in January, we thought we would focus on the importance of having a hobby when you become a new mum or dad.
I remember when my daughter was first born, I tried to read just a few pages of my book each night as that was all I could manage because I was so tired. But I consider this to be my hobby, so I was determined to keep it up even if I could only stay awake and read a fraction of what I did in my pre-baby days.
Whatever hobby you choose doesn’t have to take up a huge chunk of your time, because you probably can’t afford to have an entire day away from your baby, but something that will occupy a little part of your day is important for your mental health, here’s why…
You need time away from your baby: If you spend 24/7 with your new bundle you will start to feel like you only have one role or purpose in life- which isn’t true. Take it in turns with your partner to let each other have some alone time in the day, even if it’s only half an hour to do something that doesn’t involve feeding, changing or comforting a little person. You are a parent but there are so many other things that make you who you are and it’s vital you remember that.
It gives you something else to talk about: When you are a new parent, your life can feel a little baby-centric at times and you find that you talk about nothing but your newborn and parenting. Having a hobby gives you the opportunity to hold a conversation about something new, which your partner will surely appreciate as well.
It’s something that’s just yours: When you are a new parent, it sometimes feels like you give up every part of yourself- your time, your energy, your privacy and your personal space to name a few. If you do something alone that is just for you, you may feel a bit more like yourself again.
Different hobbies involve different people: While you may not have been able to go to your local swimming club or meet up for a drink with the people in your art class, you can still stay in touch with them over text, Zoom or the phone. People who are used to sharing their hobbies with others have come up with some clever ways to sustain the weekly or monthly catch ups. Seeing anyone who doesnt live with you inspires new conversation and a chance to talk about what is going on in other people’s lives.
Time away from home: While this may not be possible with all hobbies at the moment- some pastimes enable you to leave the home you have become so accustomed to since your baby's arrival. To take a run or walk out in the fresh air, go for a bike ride or take some pictures outside allows you some distance from the four walls of your house, which can feel suffocating at times- especially if you've not ventured out much since your baby was born.
Another achievement: Mums and dads sometimes monitor their parenting achievements and forget about the rest, but you both have many other successes to be proud of which are easy to forget in the whirlwhind of those early days with a newborn. Revisiting your hobby daily will help to remind you of this fact. Pat yourself on the back if you are able to put pen to paper and write a poem or a few lines of creative writing and be proud that you were able to fix something in your home if DIY is your passion. These may be small wins, but will give you some confidence in your other abilities.
It sets a good example to your child: While your baby might not understand where you go for that small space of time or indeed might not be awake for it- as they grow, they will start to see the upsides of having a hobby. They will notice you are happier and more content when you take this time out for yourself. Countless studies have shown the benefits of having something else to focus on that isn’t work or family life so if you are evidence of this work-life balance, your child will probably follow suit and find pleasure in something non-academic too.
Celebration of Life Day is a day to honour our children. While parenting might not be a joyful experience all the time, it’s important to remember that your little one is a gift, even if they do drive you a little crazy sometimes! By spending time with our kids, we are giving them the greatest gift of all- our undivided attention. So if you want to mark this occasion by doing something different with your child, here are a few suggestions... to read more click HERE