A Mom in Search of a Hobby

I went to an allergist appointment a while back and he asked me a series of questions about home, work, and life. They were all things I expected, but near the end of the interview, he asked, so other than working and caring for a toddler what do you do, what are your hobbies? (apparently, people have hobbies that can introduce allergens) Hobbies? Who has time for hobbies? I think I muttered something about going to the gym, but it got me thinking.

Here are some hobbies I’ve tried and how they went, or didn’t, as well as some reasons to give them a try.

  1. Photography– I loved taking pictures as a kid and took photography classes. I had a nice camera that used…gasp…film. We developed our own film and printed our own black & white photographs. It really was fun; It was also expensive and isn’t realistic now.
    Digital cameras/cell phones and technology have made photography more accessible & more affordable.
  2. Scrapbooking– I had a ton of photos (see above) and a bunch of paper and souvenirs from traveling. Putting it together in a scrapbook just made sense. I decided to start with the first vacation my now husband and I took together. I bought basic supplies and kind of got obsessed with finding the right paper and cutting tools. The trip was in 2008, I started this scrapbook in late 2009…I’m about halfway through. I got stuck on finding the “perfect” layout or something and then life got in the way and I never went back to it.
    This can be a great way to preserve memories, but with digital photography, it may be easier to work on “digital scrapbooks.”
  3. Gardening– I’ve tried this several ways through the years. When I lived in an apartment I had a small container garden. It was a few vegetables that were growing in pots, until they didn’t. When we bought our house we dug up a section of the yard and planted a vegetable garden it was mildly successful, mainly peppers and cherry tomatoes…until the fence literally fell on the garden. I should have known better…I couldn’t get my chia pet to grow when I was 11. A return to a container garden a few years later was successful when I planted a “salsa garden.”
    Gardening can be a great family hobby and you can even start a garden from cooking scraps/seeds.
  4. Knitting– there were some stops and starts here. I bought a basic “learn to knit” kit and tried to read the book. It didn’t go well. A few years later a friend and I took an in-person knitting class at a local craft store. It was a fun bonding moment. I made a baby hat, a cozy for coffee cups, and a headband that I was never able to make into a ring. I also have a ton of yarn and the vague idea that I’ll return to this when my toddler gets a bit older.
    The initial investment wasn’t a lot financially, but it does take time and patience to learn. There are tons of free resources/patterns online.
  5. Learning a second language– I downloaded an app. The plan was to be able to hold basic conversations in another language: order food, ask for directions, and understand responses. I liked the idea, but after a time, if you don’t have someone in real life to practice with it becomes difficult. Also, I probably shouldn’t have started with German.
    There are so many free apps and options to learn online, this may be a good thing to do with a small child or as a family. You can all learn a language together.
  6. Yoga- for exercise and mental health. All you need is a mat and some time. I’m a class person and I really like the community feeling of group classes, but this can be done at home or at a studio. The moves can be modified for all levels and you don’t have to be “flexible” to do yoga. One of the things I love is that yoga is a practice, so there is no need to be perfect.
    There are great classes available in our community and online, usually free, via YouTube, Prime Video, or other fitness apps.

I like to challenge myself to try something new every year. This year I have plans to learn hand-lettering/calligraphy. I got a set of pens and two books for less than $20. I’m starting small and hoping it will be a fun way to address my Christmas cards. There are so many other things: sports, painting, musical instruments, coding, maybe I’ll give some of those a try one day. Of course, there are my tried and true hobbies: reading, our digital library is amazing, binge-watching sitcoms, and hopefully, one day soon, traveling.

Melanie grew up in the New Orleans area. She has lived in Baton Rouge since starting her bachelors degree at LSU. Melanie has a BA in Mass Communication and a master’s degree in Social Work both from LSU. In her professional life Melanie focuses on women’s mental health. She also has a passion for group therapy. Melanie and her husband Adam have been married for nine years. They have a one year old son. In her personal life Melanie can be found trying out a new hobby, trying to “get organized” and avoiding the laundry. She loves sitcoms, traveling, iced coffee and carbs.

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