Before becoming a mother, I have to admit I didn’t have any crazy hobbies or special interests. I liked to read, travel, cook, shop, and socialize with friends and family… nothing especially noteworthy but I was okay with that. Since becoming a mother, my interests haven’t changed much, although I definitely have changed up what I read, cook, shop for, where I travel and who I socialize with. Because let’s face it, everything has become about my son. The word “family” has taken on a new meaning in my life. It no longer only refers to my parents, siblings, in-laws, etc… Now I apply that label to my own house. I never really thought of my husband and I as family, but now that we’re parents, here we are.
A few weeks after my return to work, I had a business lunch with a consultant whose passion in life are her dogs. In fact, she and her husband train their dogs in the sport of agility (Google it – fascinating!). It was the first time I met this consultant face-to-face so there was a lot of personal chit-chat and so when she asked me what my hobbies and interests were, I was suddenly a little speechless. What, after all, have I done in the past year besides raise my son? And I’m not discrediting that because it’s a full-time job and one that has brought me much joy and pleasure (among other things). It just got me thinking… has motherhood become my hobby?
I returned to the office after lunch and looked around at my colleagues… it should be said that I work in an organization of highly motivated and intelligent people so of course, why would their interests and hobbies be anything less than exceptional? Everywhere I turned, I was surrounded by marathon runners, snowboarders, jazz-choir singers, amateur gourmet chefs, semi-professional cupcake bakers… There are people who spend their vacations volunteering in Tanzania and others who rescue dogs from puppy mills. My boss is an amazing photographer whose photos are visual masterpieces. One of my colleagues is a Martha Stewart-esque master of all things domestic goddess related. Not to mention she has excellent taste in shoes.
Suddenly I felt very ordinary and I started questioning what defines me outside of my work and home life. In fact, I even learned that one colleague asked another colleague to describe me and was told that I am very proud of my Greek heritage. Which is very true, but is that who I am? I know that’s not all there is to me. I’m a blogger… I have a book club… I have a secret wish to one day write a novel. But not everyone knows these things about me.
After mulling over this and having a few conversations with other parents, here’s what I discovered. Being a new parent is an all-consuming job but it’s also an amazing phase of life where you are learning new things every day and navigating uncharted territory on a regular basis. For a few years, it’s normal that life is all about being a parent. Sure, it’s important to have hobbies. It’s definitely essential to feel like there’s something in your life that’s just for you. But maybe now is not the time to focus my energies on that. I’m not saying I won’t make any “me” time in my schedule or do anything for my own personal enjoyment. But if my family is my current hobby, I think that’s pretty healthy too. And if being a mother right now is what defines me, then that’s a label I’m very happy to wear.
When I have more than one child and they’re older and no longer physically dependent on me, I will find some crazy hobby that’s just for me. I, too, will be a superstar who runs marathons while baking cupcakes. But for now, I want to spend all my free time with the loves of my life. My husband and son.Moms, do you have any special interests? Is motherhood your hobby too? What are your thoughts on how you define yourself outside work and home?