By Corrie Properzi
In my pre-baby life I was an interesting person. I could go to a social gathering without my hubby and make thought-provoking conversation with a variety of people all evening. I watched the news, had hobbies, and a reasonably stimulating job.
And now I’m pretty much a stay at home mom. My dinner conversation revolves around funny things my toddler says, trouble she gets in to, and how wonderful our new baby is. So pretty boring stuff to anyone who doesn’t love me enough to indulge my kid stories.
But in the midst of this all-kids-all-the-time life I’ve got at least one thing figured out…against all odds I have maintained some of my hobbies! The secret is simple: include your kids!
Certainly there are things that are not appropriate or feasible to include your children in due to their height, ability to sit still, and need for nourishment and sleep at very set times. But, to the creative mind, there are hundreds of different ways to include them.
- Photography – buy your child an indestructible camera and do mini photo shoots in your neighborhood
- Music – make up silly songs together, make a CD with songs that you both enjoy and listen to it in the vehicle, buy or make some musical instruments
- Gardening – my toddler will play for an hour with only a bucket of water, watering can, strong plastic shovel, a few small boats, and an occasional intervention from me. Finding worms and lady bugs are staples of our summer days. For older children, give them a small patch of garden to plant what they choose and maintain it all summer
- Horses – I have a friend whose toddler takes riding lessons and loves it
- Poetry/literature – buy books with literary merit that are appropriate for children and read them together. I have a couple collections of poems geared toward children and my toddler can recite many of the lines from memory
- Hiking – take your children on nature walks, then as they grow graduate to longer treks
- Cooking – include your child in determining the menu, grocery shopping, and meal preparation. Cook “grown-up” food for her. We have a caveat in our house that if our children try something new and don’t like it they can have leftovers instead. It’s only backfired on us once, the rest of the time we have a very adventurous toddler who is on her way to becoming a foodie!
Whatever your interests there are many different ways to include your children. The key is to make it a fun, no pressure activity.
This strategy is beneficial to everyone. It allows you to maintain some semblance of your self, because at the end of the day when children are finally in bed most parents will rarely indulge a hobby. It also enables you to potentially pass on your enjoyment. But ultimately the benefit will be to show your children that there are many interesting things in the world. Perhaps they will spend less time in front of the TV in their later years because you’ve fostered other interests while they are young. And perhaps they will have something interesting to talk about at dinner parties rather than indulging in gossip or discussing the latest reality show.
Corrie Properzi is a part-time accountant and full-time mom to a toddler and an infant. In her “spare” time Corrie enjoys jogging, gardening, and photography. Corrie’s motto is “why walk when you could run?”.
Photo Credit: Mike Baird on Flickr