If you’ve been around mom blogs for more than ten minutes, you’ve probably seen an article or two that goes something like this:
“I feel like I’ve lost myself since becoming a mom. I used to be involved in so many things, and now I spend all my time changing diapers, sitting in carpool lines, and trying not to step on Legos. I love being Mom–really I do–but I need something to do that’s just for me…”
Every time I read statements like this, I can’t help thinking that the poor mama needs a hobby! A hobby is an opportunity to tap into a different skill set and use your creative energy on something just for you. In time, it can become a defining part of your identity and give you renewed purpose. But not just any hobby will do. A hobby for a busy mom has to fit some specific criteria:
- It can’t be too expensive. Life with kids is expensive enough, and most mamas don’t have a lot of extra room in the budget for something like a hobby.
- It can’t require long stretches of time. Unless you want to hire a babysitter, you’re better off investing in something that you can stop and start at any time.
- It should be accessible at home. There are exceptions, of course, but you’ll be able to spend more time on your hobby if you can engage in it (at least in part) at home.
With those thoughts in mind, I compiled a list of 36 hobby ideas for busy moms. Use these for inspiration and find something you’re passionate about!
With a few supplies easily found at local hobby stores, you can channel your inner Monet. Free resources for getting started are abundant online, particularly on YouTube. For a more casual introduction, check out a local painting class with friends like Cheers to Art!
Turns out colored pencils aren’t just for kids! Check out the Beginner’s Colored Pencil Course by Sharpened Artist to try your hand at developing your artistic skills.
You’re already taking approximately 1.5 million pictures of your kids on your phone–why not take the time to learn some professional techniques? If you have a DSLR (or as I call it, a Fancypants Camera), check out this post to get familiar with how it works. No DSLR? No problem! You can improve your iPhone photography or point-and-shoot photography as well. Another resource I personally love is the book Shooting With Soul by Alessandra Cave.
Calligraphy is really making a comeback these days! You’ve probably seen the swoon-worthy hand-lettered quotes floating around Pinterest, but have you thought about learning to create them yourself? I love this comprehensive guide from Julia Bausenhardt.
If you want to crochet a blanket, knit a scarf, or weave a tapestry, this may be the hobby for you. You can get started with online tutorials or search for books and magazines with patterns at your local library. For a more modern decor take on weaving, A Beautiful Mess has some fun posts.
Project Life Scrapbooks
A cross between photo albums and scrapbooks, the Project Life pocket scrapbooking system (and generic equivalents) is the perfect way to archive your snapshots. You can purchase kits at any hobby store, and I’ve seen them at Walmart and Meijer, too.
You can buy charms and chains to create your jewelry or take it a step further by using separate beads, wire, and clasps. This hobby is better suited to moms with older children–turns out babies and stray beads on the floor don’t mix. Who knew?
If you love the soft glow of candles in your home but can’t stomach the price, try making your own! This article is a good starting point, but you can play around with scents and colors as much as you want. Your local library is sure to have some inspiring books with ideas.
There are several different methods to make soap and, like candle-making, endless variety in scents and colors. An added bonus of soap-making is the ability to try different molds as well.
In an age of text messages, Facebook statuses, and emails, a heartfelt card can be more meaningful than ever. It’s a cost-effective option, too. Check out your local thrift store and you’re bound to find an assortment of paper and embellishments.
If you’re anything like me, you love graphic tees but have a hard time finding ones you love. Learn to make your own by screen printing! This can be a very expensive endeavor, but it doesn’t have to be. This tutorial shows you some hacks to make it more affordable.
Needlepoint is fairly easy to learn and can be quite relaxing. It’s also a great option if you only have a few minutes at a time. You can easily stop and start your project as needed. The Spruce is a good resource (If you have an older child who wants to learn with you, this needlepoint kit from Land of Nod is adorable!).
Many moms turn to running as a way to lose the baby weight and then stick with it long-term because they fall in love. You can read CMB contributer Jamie’s story about running post-baby here, and contributor Danielle’s tips on turning it into a family affair here. If you’re just getting started, I highly recommend downloading the Couch to 5k app.
Did you know that Cincinnati is home to the first public observatory in the entire western hemisphere? Perhaps you’d like to learn more about the night sky–the Cincinnati Observatory is a great place to start. When you’re at home, the Sky Guide app is your best friend for identifying and learning about constellations, individual stars, planets, satellites, and more.
Whether you’re flying solo or bringing along the kids, hiking is a wonderful way to get up close and personal with nature while burning a calorie or two. You can check out this post on hiking with Cincinnati’s Great Parks system. I also love AllTrails (an app version is also available) to find the perfect hike by location, difficulty, and interesting features.
Okay, I know this one sounds a little…out there. But birdwatching (or “birding,” as it’s called by the experts) can actually be a fascinating hobby. Think of it as grown-up bird Bingo with a dash of I Spy. The Cincinnati Nature Center has a wealth of information in their visitor’s center about local species and a wall of windows with binoculars specifically for birdwatching. You can also find a bird blind on a nearby trail.
There’s something inherently satisfying about planting a seed and watching it grow. Even if you don’t have a yard, you can try your hand at container gardening. I love this City Moms Blog guest post by Lara Casey about gardening with your kids. You can read the full 3-part series on her personal blog, too.
While you probably can’t go camping frequently enough to consider it an easy hobby, you can certainly make a hobby of scouting out the perfect location, selecting the very best equipment, and planning out an ideal campfire menu. Camping books and magazines abound.
Geocaching is a giant treasure hunt all around the world–and it doesn’t cost a dime! Just download the app, search for a geocache near you on the map, and get hunting! When you find it, you can sign the logbook and re-hide it. More information is available on the Geocaching website.
Many women are afraid to look silly trying yoga for the first time, but the internet makes it easy to get your downward-dog on from the comfort of your own home! Search YouTube for “Yoga for Beginners” videos that will help you get familiar with some of the basic poses. If you’re feeling more confident, consider attending a class.
No, I’m not referring to that box of mac n’ cheese you whipped up for lunch. Make a point to try a new recipe, new ingredient, or new cooking technique per week. You may discover a few new family favorites!
Fresh baked goods are the quintessential comfort food, aren’t they? If you’d like to do more baking but are worried about the health factor, try a healthy baking cookbook like Chocolate Covered Katie.
Are you a coffee snob? Why not embrace it and roast your own beans! I’ve never done it myself, but I’ve tasted home-roasted coffee and it is divine. Visit Sweet Maria’s for everything you need to get started.
From poetry to fiction, essay to memoir, creative writing can be an excellent outlet. If You Want to Write by Brenda Ueland is an encouraging resource for new and seasoned writers alike. I love using the Ommwriter program on my computer for distraction-free writing–it plays ambient music with nature sounds, and I’m fairly certain it lowers my blood pressure as soon as I hear it!
Blogging is another writing outlet that is extremely rewarding. The technical side of things can seem overwhelming at first, but Suzi from Start a Mom Blog covers all the bases of what you need to know to get started and grow your following.
Playing an Instrument
You don’t have to pay for expensive lessons to start learning an instrument. Yousician is an app that allows you to learn piano, guitar, bass, or ukulele through step-by-step modules and live feedback. Start with the free version and go premium if you decide to make this your hobby of choice. If you need an instrument, Craigslist always has inexpensive options.
If you’re a beginner, go outside your comfort zone and take a few voice lessons. If you have singing experience, you might be interested in auditioning for the May Festival Chorus (the group that sings with the Cincinnati Symphony Orchestra) or the Cincinnati Sound Chorus (a local competitive barbershop group).
Instructional videos are available on,line as well as at your local library so you can learn specific dance techniques in your living room. Dance classes in a wide variety of styles are often offered as inexpensive community enrichment programs, so do some savvy Googling and see what you find!
Motherhood can put a hitch in your travelbug lifestyle, but that doesn’t mean you have to stop planning luxury vacations. Half the fun is in the planning, anyway! Pick a destination and research everything that city has to offer. Save your plans so you can actually take the trip someday.
Learn a Foreign Language
While you’re at it, why not start learning a foreign language? DuoLingo is an app that teaches 22 different languages in small chunks–perfect for mamas who don’t have long stretches of time to devote to the task. The lessons are presented more like a game, and it’s completely free.
For the tech enthusiasts, computer coding is an exciting hobby possibility. This is also a valuable skill for mamas who blog and want more control over their website. Free interactive lessons are available at Code Academy.
They say you don’t know where you’re going until you know where you’ve been. Do you know your family history? It can be a long process, but tracing your genealogy can yield fascinating results. Maybe you have a relative involved in a major historical event! The USA.gov website gives some guidelines for tracing family history through government records here, and Ancestry.com is an old stand-by.
I’ve listed reading as an educational hobby, but that doesn’t mean that you have to read nonfiction for it to count. Reading a wide variety of books opens your eyes to different perspectives and ideas. If you’re a Gilmore Girls fan, you might want to dive into the Rory Gilmore reading challenge–it lists the 300+ books that Rory reads throughout the show.
How about a Harvard education–for free? You can enroll in a wide variety of free courses from top-notch schools around the world through EdX. It’s online and self-paced…and did I mention it’s free?
Personal Care Hobbies
Yes, playing with personal style can be a hobby. Give yourself permission to develop your Mom Style and enjoy the process! You’ll feel more confident if you love what you’re wearing. My favorite resource for this is The Curated Closet by Anuschka Rees.
In conjunction with style discovery, you can take the time to experiment with new hairstyles as well. Pinterest is a gold mine for hair tutorials, but they can be hard to follow. My personal favorites for clarity and variety are Missy Sue and The Freckled Fox.
I’m sure there are plenty of other hobbies I didn’t cover here (stamp collecting, anyone?), but I hope I’ve given you enough ideas to get started. It doesn’t matter what you choose as long as you find something that keeps you motivated and inspired. That’s what hobbies are all about!
Do you have a hobby I didn’t cover? Tell us in the comments!