Free time can be a bit of a luxury when you’re a mother but when you do get a few spare moments to yourself, it feels so good to use those moments to do something you love.
I’ve been guilty of having no hobbies or real interests beyond work and going to the pub for years. Since my kids were born I’ve been way more motivated to find things to do for me.
I think it makes you a way better parent if you have pursuits that engage your brain on a grown-up level. Anything that makes you happy, will make you more enthusiastic when you’re around your children.
Here are a few ideas for hobbies to take up and projects to try out to make the most of your free time:
1. Crochet mood blanket
I absolutely LOVE this idea from my friend Caroline, who I met while working on my first paper a few years ago.
She’s a super talented crafter and has made many things that I’ve admired on her Insta profile over the years, however this really caught my eye as a lovely project to get stuck into.
This beautiful mood blanket is filled with a square for every day of an entire year, and shows how she was feeling on each day, whether it was happy or sad.
It's finished!! My 2017 mood blanket – ta dah!! One square a day for every day of the year. 😊 And these are the stats: – Happy (yellow) 140 – Tired (light blue) 55 – Stressed (dark pink) 44 – Content (mint green) 41 – Anxious (dark purple) 40 – Gleeful (light pink) 17 – Excited (orange) 14 – Heartwarmed (royal blue) 6 – Overjoyed (lilac) 5 – Sad (grey) 3 And time spent? Roughly amounts to 5 ENTIRE days of the year (including sleeping time). A mammoth & slightly bonkers project but super proud. 😊 Also a day late for @molliemakes 'fave make' for #molliemakersweek but this is definitely the best thing I've ever made. 😄 And massive thank you to @bellacococrochet @bellacoco_ whose YouTube videos taught me how to crochet!
A relaxing activity! I haven’t done this in years but I keep meaning to attempt a scarf for my toddler.
I love how you can get creative with colours and items of clothing, plus there’s so many free templates to print on the internet these days. It doesn’t cost a fortune!
3. Write a book
I firmly believe that everyone has a book in them, whether it’s fiction or non-fiction, or maybe even a bit of both.
The brilliant thing about writing a book today is that you don’t have to rely on traditional publishers and agents to get your work seen. Self-publishing online has led to huge success for many authors.
Start by jotting some ideas for stories or topics and see where it goes. Write down every idea in your head and then take stock, see what idea stands out and try to develop it into a full narrative. How will it start, what will evolve and how will it end?
Hobbycraft has some gorgeous books, stickers and accessories to make a beautiful scrapbook.
This is something I really want to do with the girls when they are a bit older. I would love to do a scrapbook for every year where we stick down our favourite pictures and collect ticket stubs, maps and other things that remind us of happy days.
No, it’s not just for your kids! Grown-up colouring books have made a real impact recently. There are all kinds of different themed colouring books on the market, so have a shop around and see what takes your fancy. It’s extremely relaxing.
You don’t have to spend hundreds of pounds on a fancy DSLR camera to be into photography.
The creativity people are showing with smartphone photography these days is incredible. Check out this site for inspiration and tips.
7. Listen to podcasts
I am absolutely loving podcasts at the moment.
My faves are Not Another Mummy Blog, which sees Alison Perry sit down for a cuppa with fellow mummies and talk life, babies, overcoming adversity and much more. It’s just like having a relaxing chat with pals, except you just sit back and listen.
Mother Pukka is absolutely hilarious and has me in stitches every time I listen to her.
My Daily Mirror friend Steve Myall has a podcast all about his experience as a father, called First Time Dads. They interview celebs, parenting experts and shed light on the dad’s perspective on parenting. Fascinating, funny and informative.
Pick a project that you’ve been wanting to do to improve your house, research and plan how to get it done and give it a go. I’m not talking re-wiring your house, but why not try laying a new laminate bathroom floor? Or painting a room, or adding wallpaper?
9. Learn a language
I would absolutely love to learn a new language, any new language! There are some brilliant apps out there for download that mean you can learn at your own pace, even if you only get five minutes here or there.
I think learning a second language is also really important for kids, it would be great if we could bring them up bilingual! My friend the lovely Kristie at Mamma Prada writes all about raising her bilingual family, check out her blog!
10. Start a blog
Do what I did and launch your own blog! Think of a particular topic that really interests you or simply write an online journal all about you. It’s amazing where a blog can take you, but it’s also a very rewarding hobby.
You will also learn a LOT of new skills about web design, photography and social media.
Did any of these ideas give you inspiration? Do you have any to add? I would love to hear from you.