I Don’t Have a Hobby

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I’ve been seeing the following bumper sticker gracing the backs of minivans around town:

“I used to be cool.”

I’m sure it primarily pertains to the drivers’ surrender (or upgrade, depending on your position) to a family truckster, but it got me thinking. Not that I used to be cool–pretty sure I could never really claim that–but rather that I used to do cool things. 

I used to travel. A lot. Big trips all over the world during my summer breaks from teaching, but also weekend getaways to nearby locations. One year, my husband and I weren’t home a single weekend during the month of February, partially living out of an overnight bag.

I used to dance. Once, and sometimes twice, a week, I took tap classes at a studio with other adults, practicing choreography for upcoming shows, recitals, and competitions. I still can’t hear the song, “If the House is Rockin'” without running through the opening steps in my head. One time I even performed a hip hop routine before a professional basketball game.

Yes, those are fishnet tights

I used to play roller derby. For one shining season before I was taken down by the “nine month injury” (pregnancy), I was a proud member of the Angels of Death, one of the Memphis Roller Derby League teams. It was a thrill to put on my skates/helmet/knee pads/wrist guards and adopt my alter ego, Hip Czech, as I jostled for position around the track.

Intimidating, right?

But I don’t do any of these things anymore. I know a lot of that has to do with this season of motherhood, but I also know plenty of moms–and dads–who make time to knit or make beer or run marathons. Perhaps that’s the key: make time.

My husband is a shining example of this. Even though he basically works two full-time jobs due to his extra military service, he still manages to have hobbies. The man has planted a garden in our front yard, taken up archery, and re-taught himself cursive writing. That last one really gets me because last spring I took a hand-lettering class as part of a mom’s night out, and do you know how many times I have practiced this new skill? Exactly zero times.

I really yearn for a creative outlet that allows me to produce something tangible (I think the buzzword is to be a “maker”), but I just can’t bring myself to begin anything new when I know that there is still work to be done. The mantra “work before play” is deeply ingrained in my mindset. The thing is, I will NEVER be done with all my work. 

I do take time for myself–writing for this blog is one example of that–but I really wish I had a more interesting answer when someone asks me what I do in my spare time.

One evening while lamenting (again) to my husband that I wish I was able to participate more in the aforementioned garden, the thought occurred to me that I am supporting his ability to do so. He is able to putter around in the yard or shoot his arrows precisely because I am supporting him by watching the kids or taking care of indoor chores. (Before you jump on my husband’s case, please know that he would do the same for me…if I had any hobbies to support.)

Really, it’s up to me. Do I settle for being a “hobby supporter” all the time, or do I need to try something new even though I don’t have time for it? Is there a way to balance personal growth and creativity with all of the daily tasks of motherhood? Does it always have to be a balance? Should I stop thinking about it and in the immortal words of Nike “just do it”?

So, anyone want to teach me how to crochet? 

 

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Originally from Kansas City, Kristin met her husband, a Seattle native, in Germany. The military brought them to Memphis, and they chose to stay after transitioning to Reserve duty. While it is hard to be away from family, they love this city so much that they bought a house in Midtown where they are raising two spunky daughters, E (May 2013) and L (January 2016), and a curious son E (November 2019). Kristin considers herself to be primarily a stay-at-home mom, but she occasionally escapes the shenanigans to teach college-level writing classes. If she had any spare time, she’d spend it curled up with a good book in a blissful state of hygge. Her family is happiest when on an adventure, especially camping, riding bikes, or enjoying all Memphis has to offer.