There’s no denying that family life is one thing above all else: busy! If you work full-time, raise small children and try to maintain some sort of a social life, you’re bound to feel time slipping through your fingers. There never seems to be enough hours in the day between completing that urgent report, ferrying kids to their after-school classes and doing a few jobs around the house. Time for your own interests can seem to slip to the bottom of an extremely long list.
The truth is, that having interests and passions in life is highly important – not just for our own wellbeing, making us a more balanced person and giving us a sense of calm and a creative outlet – but also in our capacity as role models. We dream of our children pursuing what they love to do, but do we show them that in our own lives?
Some people are fortunate to have nurtured a career which makes the most of their talents and fulfills their personal passion, but for the rest of us, who may like our jobs even if they aren’t quite what makes our hearts sing, we want a hobby to allow us to pursue a little bit more than the typical nine to five allows.
Having something outside of the office that you look forward to, and that you use to relax can only be a positive – whether that’s something active like scuba diving or simply fitting in some gaming around other commitments. How do you make time for this when you have a family who also need your attention? Is it possible to meet your own needs and those of everyone else?
Find Your Why
We all have a logic internally that drives us, and when we find that activity that fits right, it gives an enormous sense of purpose and wellbeing. We get into what’s referred to as a ‘flow state’ when we do it – a process of being pleasurably immersed in a task that is extremely good for us mentally. It might be playing the guitar, painting in oils or fitting in a game of football – you’ll know when you feel the flow! Usually, it’s something we’ve been passionate about since childhood, although there are times when we find our ‘why’ as adults. If you don’t already know what passion drives you, it’s a good idea to try a few things out and see what feels right.
Share Your Hobby
Doing what you love certainly doesn’t have to exclude your family – most hobbies have a way to include them in what you’re doing. In fact, it can become a really valuable way to connect with your kids and share time with them. If you love road biking, take the kids along to explore the great outdoors. If you like to paint, set them up a canvas and let them paint alongside you. Doing some of your activity with your family will help them to understand what it is you love about it – but remember to take time to do some of it alone too.
Balance The Budget
There’s no denying that some hobbies can involve a fair amount of kit – but be careful that you don’t allow the cost of equipment, clothing or trips away to take away from family life. This could mean revisiting your personal budget and looking at things such as finding cheaper utilities or getting rid of unused subscriptions to find the cash for your activity. When it comes to buying kit for a hobby make sure you’re getting the best price. You can look for pre-owned diving equipment on listing sites or even better, through a dive club. You can search for specialist suppliers of discount golf clubs. You can hire some kit rather than purchasing outright. Just make sure you aren’t taking away from the family budget so that your partner and kids don’t end up resenting your costly hobby.
Schedule In Some ‘Me-Time’
Having a little bit of time to yourself is no bad thing. Make it happen by scheduling in a certain day – even if it’s only once a fortnight – to dedicate to your hobby. Think of it as recharging your batteries, which in turn will make you a better parent. Just a couple of things to put in place – first of all, make sure your partner also has their own scheduled time to follow their interests, too. And balance your hobby time by making sure to stay very ‘present’ in family time – if that means downloading some social media blocking apps or locking your phone away in a drawer so you can be fully engaged with the kids, then make sure that’s what you do. With a little planning and compromise, you can make your passions and your family life balance.