or Connect
Mothering › Mothering Forums › Mom › Parenting › Working and Student Parents › Full-time working mamas...do you do anything besides work & parent?
New Posts  All Forums:Forum Nav:

Full-time working mamas...do you do anything besides work & parent?

post #1 of 48
Thread Starter 

Like...do you have hobbies? Do you have time to do things that have no practical purpose other than to bring you joy or peace? At what point in your parenting/working journey did that become possible?


My DD is 2 and I work full-time outside the home. At this point in my life, here's what I count as "leisure time":


My hobbies are "cooking" and "gardening". (I choose to call them hobbies, not chores).


My hobbies are things I can do while I'm commuting to work. (So, during inclement weather, my hobby is "reading" because I can do that while riding a bus. During good weather, my hobby is "riding my bike" because that's how I get to/from work).


I look forward to taking an occasional vacation day to clean my house. Yep, a whole day without work, while my kid is at school, with nothing to do but CLEAN in peace. I've got it on my calendar (May 18!!!) and I'm not being sarcastic when I say that I'm genuinely looking forward to it. This happens about twice a year, and otherwise, most of my house really doesn't get cleaned. Disgusting, but there you have it.


Sometimes I purposely sign up to work a Saturday night because it feels like "going out" even though I have to work. (I work in a theater, so working usually also includes attending a show, or part of a show, or at least being backstage during a show, which is sort of like "going out.")


Someday, I'm going to find time in my life to hang out with friends & do some of the creative things that I used to enjoy. But for now...it's all working & parenting. And the aforementioned "leisure/hobby" activities.


What about you????


Commiserate with me OR inspire me with your story of how you fit fun, creativity, and pleasure into your busy life!!!!







post #2 of 48

My kids are a bit older, but yeah I still have fun.


I read while I wait for ds1's bus every afternoon.

Dh and I watch tv or a movie or just read in bed every evening after the kids go to sleep (they're in bed by 8:30 at the latest)

I garden almost every day during the summer

I lock myself in my room almost every afternoon to work out for 20 minutes

MIL watches the kids once or twice a month (at our house or her's) so dh and I can have a date night

Every Friday night in the summer, dh and I golf with other couples without kids

About once a week, I take the kids out golfing (depending on the weather)


It isn't terribly exciting and it's mostly weather dependent but I try to get away from work and away from the house fairly regularly. 

post #3 of 48

I work early and DH is in charge getting DS (6) to school, so I go to the gym ridiculously early and do some cardio or a yoga class.

I hoop dance so I can do that at the park or in the backyard anytime with DS.

We can swim together.

I manage to read a chapter of a good book before bed.

Um, yeah, that would be it. Note the above items aren't necessarily "hobbies". When I worked 20 hours a week I would knit a lot. The rest of the stuff I do probably falls under household maintenance rather than the hobby categories.


I took the day off today and will be doing yardwork. I'll pretend it's not a chore.  

post #4 of 48

Well I just quit my job in January but when I was working full time I still had time for "me" and doing things for fun. These are things I made I priority:


  • book club-once a month
  • dinner with girlfriends- once/twice a month
  • YMCA and/or walking with friends 5-6 days a week
  • cooking classes- aprox every other month
  • having friends for dinner almost every Friday night and most Saturdays (this is done as a family)


I also read at least a book or two or week, try to see a movie every month, have a date night with my husband every few weeks. I also do the majority of the cooking/shopping.  I do have cleaning lady every other week so that really helped.


The key is making it a *priority*.  I schedule my time the same way I schedule doctors app'ts, my sons extracurricular activities, school conferences etc.  


I have a big calendar on my fridge and the adage in our home is "if it isn't on the calendar it doesn't exist". My husband puts on his stuff and I manage my own and my sons.  If there are conflicts we work them out at our weekly family meeting.


The funny thing is I feel like I have *less* me time now that I am SAHM. It actually seems harder to prioritize that time away from the home. 

post #5 of 48

Hobbies... I remember those... I wonder if I still know how to knit?


DS is 9 months and I've been back to work since he was 3 months old.  I pretty much work and parent.  This has a lot to do with DS being a hardcore I-must-nurse-to-sleep baby - oh yeah, and he wakes up hourly until I join him in bed (we cosleep by necessity but not with resent, as I like to say).  The last time I left the house alone (other than to go to work) was to attend my company Christmas party!  DH would attempt to put DS to bed if I asked him, but I don't have anything I'm particularly dying to do so I don't see the point it messing with our nightly routine right now.  We are thinking of leaving him with family for an evening soon so we can have a date night.  (Right now we do dates at lunch time while DS is at daycare.)


I did manage to bake a cake this weekend, which was fun, and DS gets a little more ok with independent play every day so I bet as long as I sat in the living room with him I could probably go back to knitting.  I guess with your first it's just sort of hard to realize that they are no longer helpless newborns and you can actually attempt to do something fun while they play next to you?  Like I thought baking a cake (from scratch, with homemade frosting too) was going to be soooo hard but it really wasn't.  I even made homemade mac & cheese too, and cleaned the kitchen floors (to the PP who takes days off to clean - I dream of doing that too!!).


Anyway I'm rambling, just commiserating I guess!

post #6 of 48

No hobbies here, sadly.  I am dying to get back to painting but I have no place and no time to do it right now.  DH and I used to go dancing all the time before DD but we don't live near family and don't have anyone else we can leave DD with, so that's gone too.  I did have a blog that I kept somewhat regularly before DD, now it is more on-and-off but I guess I could count that as I still do post occasionally.  When I get reading time it is mostly work-related, I can't really say that is a hobby.


Not that it lets me have any hobbies but we do have a cleaning lady who does a good job 1x/mo, and then I just sort of spot-clean in between.  This is huge for me - I can't imagine trying to work all day, parent all the rest of the time, fit the regular chores in between, and also be responsible for cleaning my own house.

post #7 of 48

I managed to do a lot more while I had one child... now with two... it's REALLY hard.  And that's with a custody agreement of ex taking the kids EOW for Sat. night.  Though, granted a lot has been eaten up by house chores.  But I did manage to print some pics and put together FOUR picture collage frames 2 weekends ago.... with the kids home!  DBF helped with the kids so I could take some time to do that so we had lovely pics to hang in our new home.  I haven't had a chance to be creative in a loooong time.


I keep telling myself it will get better as the kiddos get older. 

post #8 of 48

I work full time and go to school 3/4 time.  I will admit DS is 9 so there is some flexibility there that I may not have had when he was 2.


DP is also extremely domestic and "chores" are split pretty 50/50.  He also parents just as much as I do.


That being said:


I go to knitting group one or two nights a week.

While school is out (only 8 days left which is woohoo & yikes at same time) I try to get to gym 3 times a week.  That doesn't always happen while school is in session, depending on work load.

I also do ladies night out once a month or so with various friends.

I read every chance I get (that isn't school related).

And we try to have game night on Fridays, sometimes just family / sometimes with a crew over.


This summer I also hope to get some painting done...

post #9 of 48

It's funny, I have been thinking a lot about posting something like this lately.  I totally feel ya--    hug2.gif  I WOHM full-time and  have a 2 yr old daughter with special needs (also high-need) who pretty much takes up all my time outside work.  The housecleaning--well, not too much of that going on these days.  I used to enjoy cooking, but hardly cook anymore--a lot of takeout and boxed stuff now, unfortunately.   I used to make jewelry, and had started doing mosaic work, and I really miss doing those kind of things, because I don't have a creative outlet anymore.   I feel like a loser because I just can't "do it all".  I made the mistake last night of trying to actually read a book and ended up getting so into it that I stayed up until 2:30, and then DD woke up at 6:00 am! eyesroll.gif

post #10 of 48

Hobbies?  What are those?  Mine are on hold until the kids are older and we can do our hobbies with them.  They include rock climbing and kayaking.  We've gone on short hikes with DS a few times, but that's the extent of it. 

post #11 of 48

no....plenty of stuff i liked to do pre-kids, no time now...

post #12 of 48
Thread Starter 

Thanks for all the replies, mamas! I appreciate the support and the inspiration that life outside work/parenting is possible.


Since my original post, I've been giving this more thought, and I realize that I have more fun/leisure than I realize...it just looks really different than it did before I became a mom. I do have a dance jam that I go to on Sunday afternoons. I used to dance 2-3 times a week and occasionally perform, and so dancing once a week feels so much less...but it's not nothing!!! So I have to remember that doing a little is enough for right now.


Tomorrow I'm taking a day off work and spending the day visiting a friend. It feels like a total indulgence...but that's what I need!!! I am really quite fortunate to have a job with very generous leave time, so I can take a day off here and there to do things like clean or visit a friend. I am really grateful for that.


I am looking forward to DD getting older so that I can incorporate her into more of the activities that I enjoy. Like gardening...it's something I really enjoy when I have uninterrupted time to just get in the flow. That's hard to do when I'm getting "help" from a toddler. But as DD gets older, I'm hoping that she can have her own gardening projects and we can enjoy that activity together.


Keep your stories & encouragement coming! Thanks!!!! 

post #13 of 48

Hi OP...good question!  My DD will be five in September and I'm finding more and more time these days for my pre-DD passions.  Pre-DD, I was a fairly serious visual artist.  When I wasn't at work I would actually be doing a punch of different projects, from bookmaking to painting to theatre stuff.  I don't think I'll get back to that level of intensity anytime soon, but what I've found is that I've been able to creep back into it by including DD in some of my projects.  It has been a great way for DD and I to connect while we're at home.  We also recently had the good fortune of acquiring a piano, so I get to play at that again, which is hugely relaxing for me. 

post #14 of 48

I do!  I have two small kiddos and a full-time job and I'm a bit overwhelmed to be honest (I'm still figuring out how to balance it all after a year at full time work as a mother) - but I just signed up for a half-marathon (it'll be my 3rd half, but my first race since starting to work) - so I run 4 days a week and although it's tricky to fit it in, I'm motivated to make it happen, so it does. I get away for a lunch hour on my own about once per week and I bring a book and try to ignore everyone and everything except my noodles and enjoy the book and the quiet.  


I love to bake, but don't do it too much these days.  


Love to read!  And I fit that in every day in some form.  Usually right before bed. 


And that's about it.  Really.  I do spend time with friends and go on dates with my husband - but I don't count that as a 'hobby' - that's just part of normal life. 


:)  When I have more time, I think I'd like to become a post-partum doula, actually, as an avocation.  That's kind of a long-ways out - but someday!  I will also start to take regular yoga and dance classes - when I can afford it.  Running is free and fast, so that's what I've got for now!



post #15 of 48

I have a full time job and commute about 40-45 minutes each way (usually longer during the winter).  I honestly don't do as much out of the house in the winter, esp one like we just had.  It seems like I did nothing but get up early to shovel, go to work, come home and shovel some more. 


I don't do as many hobbies as I did before DD (3) was born, but now that the weather is nicer  I've signed up for some  local classes (not formal things - just fun stuff, like astrology classes, that run about once a week for 6 weeks or so) and once a week I meet with my Circle.  These take place during week nights so DH covers bath and bed times for DD on these days.  I don't have to be there until 730-800pm so we always have dinner together and sometimes I get to do bath time too.    I tend to eat lunch at my desk and that, plus breaks, when I get most of my web time.  There are other stuff - reading, working out, pen pals,  astrology, etc -- that I do at home sometimes after both DD and DH are in bed, but that's when I do a lot of my household stuff (I usually like to cook but I consider meal planning and cooking more of chore these days) or some take home work too so the time I devote to hobbies at home really varies on how a particular week or month is looking.  These days I usually get about 4.5 to 5 hours of sleep a night and I always feel kind of tired, but  I crave a good amount of alone time and it's also really important for me to spend time with DH and DD too so the late nights are worth it. 


Every other month or so, my parents take DD to visit some distance relatives and on those days, she's gone from about mid-morning until the next afternoon so if at all possible we put that aside as couple time.  Weekends, as much as possible, are kept as family time for the 3 of us.


I think more than actually going out and doing a bunch of different things, what I miss more is the opportunity/freedom  to be that spontaneous.  Everything just needs to be so scheduled these days.

post #16 of 48

I am glad to see some of you saying your houses are not so clean and you are not making dinners every night either.  I also WOH full time and commute.  Add dropping son off at daycare and I am gone from home for 12 hours each day.  I take two breaks every day at work and pump during both.  Sometimes I bring a magazine or book for those breaks, but usually I am calling my son at daycare or completing other phone calls or doing bills.


I do read in bed at night after nursing my son to sleep.  I get together with my mom friends once a month, and another mom group once a month.  I get to bring my son to both of those.  We take walks on the weekends. 


I used to love to bake and cook.  My husband does almost all of the cooking now a days.  The one thing I do by myself is to go get a pedicure or haircut, or go shopping for necessities about once a week.  It gives me about an hour to myself to regroup and I am always ready to be back with my son afterwards.

post #17 of 48

I've enjoyed reading all these great posts! Especially since I've been a little sad lately that I haven't made more of an effort to make time for myself since DS was born. But in the last week, I've come to sort of embrace the fact that motherhood is really all-encompassing for me right now. It won't always be like that & it'll go faster than I think! My brain can't juggle too much at once anyway (that's just the way I am... sort of a one-track mind... also a home-body...) so I'm working on including DS in what I can, getting away when I can, and otherwise just dealing with the fact that I can't do some of the things I used to enjoy right now.

post #18 of 48

Ah yes, it's so hard to have time to engage in something just for yourself, isn't it? I surely have days where I feel like all I did was work, cook, get DS to be and collapse into bed. I've been thinking about the need to make changes to feed my spirit. I love to go out but I don't often pause to get something scheduled with people. I'm terrible at that! So, if a friend asks me to go out, I can usually find a way to swing it. I'm just too tired to do the organizingsmile.gif. I do get out with friends probably at least once a month. The biggest thing I do for me is date my DH. We have good friends who watch DS for a couple of hours a week. We're so lucky! So, we do get out...although, that can often feel super rushed cause we don't get home until late from work anyway. Maybe you can look into a childcare swap with a friend? We have friends that we do that with too. Besides that, I read every night before sleep, try to write in my journal a few times a week, play on the computer and go to the movies as I can. Sometimes, when I really need space to myself, I'll have DH watch DS and I'll go to a coffee shop and write and read the paper. It's heaven. I'd like to watch more movies at home, exercise, knit and cook more. I'm hoping I can do more of that this summer!! Self care time is so important!

post #19 of 48

I do. 


Since DS was about 6 months I have arranged with DH to either have him give me the time to do the hobbies I need or get a babysitter for me so that I can.  From 6 months to a year I worked out every single evening for 2 hours (which coincided with his evening nap, BTW) because I was determined to be ten pounds lighter than my prepregnancy weight and toned as all heck and I joined a strict regime at the gym with a trainer.  I even worked out on occassional Saturdays during nap time and on Sundays I strapped DS into the back pack and went on a cross country power walk through park during his nap.  But then wedding was over and I scaled it back to twice a week for an 1 hour and half yoga session with my girlfriends from work.  Once a month my girlfriends and I had a "bowling league" night (read drinking lots of beer in ugly shoes and dishing about our men while occassionally chucking a ball down a lane so we wouldn't get thrown out).  During my vacation I usually pick up a sewing or knitting project and I have always brought my knitting and my current reading to work so that on the commute, during coffee and lunch breaks, I can read and knit a little.  There is a small circle of five women at my job now who also knit and we sit around during the morning coffee break and compare projects and knit while we discuss our students and our personal lives. 


I sing.  At my last school I had a teachers band I was in and we did "gigs" (mostly at school performances but three times in public venues which was very cool since I hadn;t done that since I was in my twenties and I really missed being on stage) which we had once every couple of months and practiced every week or so with the new songs, some of the covers and some of them ones I wrote.  That was fun!  I am trying to start one up again here as I really really miss that creative outlet.  DH used to come along so that kids could dance and listen and then we'd all go out to dinner.


I also draw and paint.  When the kids are in bed or during our longer vacations I bring my sketchbook and my colors and I draw, or when DS is occupied with trains and DD is napping I go out on the roof and draw.  It's really important to me.


DH and I also have a date night every Friday from 6pm-11pm (after DD is in bed)  most weeks we go out with other friends, dance, talk, debate, etc, but once a month we go for an intimate dinner and a film, or a play.  We have done this since DS was about 4 months old.


We also have a little dinner party club with some friends so each month one of them has a dinner party and we take turns hosting.  Next week is my turn (I'll do two or three this year in total) and I am planning a medditeranean themed dinner with grilled veggies and pitas...it's so fun!  Benjamin helps me plan the menu and will help me make cookies. 


I LOVE to cook and bake.  I do as much as I can on the weekends, and if I can involve DS and DD all the better.  I am always concocting excuses for why I NEED to bake 3 dozen cupcakes or a few different batches of cookies.  Drives DH batty when I comandeer the kitchen but it is a real cathartic release for me and I love it and DS loves helping and DD...well she loves playing with the measuring cups in her chair while we bake and loves to eat the mistakes for us and help lick the bowl.


We travel as much as we can.  When DS was 20 months we did a road trip of southern Argentina, driving in a circle from buenos aires, to Punta Tomba to Trelew to Eskiel,up to Barie Loche and back across to Buenos Aires.  It took five and half weeks.  Then when he was 2 and half we drove northward and did a tour of the salt flats and desserts and plateaus of Salta and Jujuy.  Just AMAZING.  We took weekend trips to Parana, Iguazu Falls (if you've ever seen the Mission...that's the waterfall) and The Perito Moreno Glacier down south. When we went back to Scotland to see DH's family, we took DS to the Loch region in Scotland, spent a a few days for Easter up on the bonnie bonnie shores of Loch Lomand, and went up to the Isle of Skye with him.  We went down to York, Haden's Wall, Kent and London (best kids science museum EVER) We went down to Paris on the overnight train and over to EuroDisney, because why not? We travelled all over Costa Rica while we lived there, from Cahuita to Manuel Antonio to Montezuma and all the volcanic springs and safari parks in between.  Just this past week we finally got out and about in Colombia and saw Rio Claro...Astounding beauty and by far the most remote and stunningingly untouched nature reserve I have ever been to.  I love my photo albums and the memories have been fantastic.  If I couldn't travel, I wouldn't want to live.


Oh, and my job?  It is the most fun, creative, engaging job I could ever imagine having.  LOVE my job. I'm a teacher, so I get great holidays(1wk,4wks,2wks,and 5wks scattered across the year), decent money, and I get to be a teacher!


Here's how we do it:


I work in international schools that pay quite a lot of money to foreign hire teachers and pay for most of our accomodation expenses. We live in parts of the world that are very very cheap to live a good quality of life. 


Food at restaurants is fairly cheap.  Gasoline and cars are cheap. Clothing is cheap.  Healthcare is almost always 100% free on the state plus I get really very good private insurance for the family should we prefer not wait in long lines, from 80% coverage to 100% coverage...and they do housecalls here!


Our maid/babysitter has always costs us about 2-4 dollars an hour.  In total we usually spend about 3% of our expendable income (meaning after rent, bills, food, and transport) on childcare and housekeeping.  I do not wish to spend my time out of work working on cleaning my house.  I loathe having to do it and I usually cut corners to make it go faster which is bad for everyone.  I am happy to pay someone else to do it.  If Ilived in the States, I could not afford the life style I am accustomed to.  It would probably take me a while to find a way to make our lives work the way it does now.


We also take turns.  DH has a poker night every Thursday, and teaches private lessons twice a week at night.  And I get a girl's night out on Tuesday or Wednesday...but hopefully I can swap between that and band practice soon.


I also sleep on average about 5 hours a night.  I always have though, even as a small child.


We also take the kids to as many of the things as we can include them in.  Most of the dinner parties for example are with other kids so they can run around and play together, and they always try to get to my band practice, and DS loves to paint and draw too, so we often spend the day doing creative stuff together (since he was about 2 and started finger painting -- we let him finger paint the tiled kitchen walls (since they could be washed down) and I would paint in the hammock on the patio just next to him.)   DD loves to dance so the band thing is perfect for entertaining her.


It can be done, but it is not for everyone.  I just happen to be one of those manic people who can't stop moving and thinking and doing all the time. Drives DH nuts.  He keeps trying to get me to smoke pot again so I will calm down...what he doesn't know is that pot only stops the doing, not the thinking.

post #20 of 48

I didn't mention this because it's not a hobby, but now that DS is 6 I can hang out with another family with kids and the kids disappear to play while we have time to talk and eat and enjoy a glass of wine. It's lovely. We also do that poolside. I absolutely enjoyed having an infant and a toddler but not having to follow him around anymore is definitely awesome and gives me some time to have fun with another Mama.

New Posts  All Forums:Forum Nav:
  Return Home
  Back to Forum: Working and Student Parents
Mothering › Mothering Forums › Mom › Parenting › Working and Student Parents › Full-time working mamas...do you do anything besides work & parent?