Getting More Out of Hobbies As an Adult

I love hobbies! As a current member of the tired-mom-club, I have more of a need for hobbies and “me time” than I ever have before in my life.

I also have lowered my standards quite a bit in order to make it all work. In this post, I’ll share how I’m getting the most out of my hobbies at this current stage in life.

I’ve always been a hobby person! Since I was a young child, I’ve been collecting hobbies and obsessions.

In junior high, we learned to sew pillows for our first sewing project and I sewed dozens of tiny pillows (all with sunflower print fabric, lol) to give my entire extended family for Christmas.

One year, I made dozens of birdhouses. I spent my weekends baking cookies and muffins.

My astrologist recently asked me, “Did you feel old when you were very young?” and I was like, “Yes! Oh my gosh, YES!”. I was the most grandma seventh-grader of all time.

Through the years, I’ve tried almost any hobby you can imagine. Many of them have made appearances here on the blog. I’ve been obsessed with jewelry making, scrapbooking, and I tend to have a painting phase about once every five years.

I’ve had fashion phases, e-courses, baking, making cocktails, thrifting and decorating, art journaling and sewing.

I grew up as one of those kids who could never run a whole mile in PE class, but as an adult I taught myself to run and grew to love it. I’ve had epic fails and surprising successes. The joy of hobbies is one of life’s greatest joys!

Currently, I’m learning to make pasta, writing a book, and taking a painting class in my spare time. I’m a mom with two businesses and two kids at home for the summer, so I don’t really have “spare time,” but I squeeze it in because it’s essential for me.

Here are my three tips for getting the most out of adult hobbies.

1. Lower Your Standards

One of the most common questions I get is how I have time for *insert anything here* as a mom of two young kids. Let me first say that if it looks too good to be true on the internet, it probably is.

The truth is, I am very tired. A lot of days I am not caught up on my to-do list, and I cry from being overwhelmed pretty often.

In my perfect world, I would block off whole days (or even half-days) to work on my creative projects. As a working mom, I have lowered my standards WAY below that.

At this phase in my life, I squeeze in creative stuff whenever I can. It’s a half hour here, an hour there, and a half hour here. I try to keep the attitude that anything creative is better than nothing.

The 30-minute mini sessions add up and are sustaining me for now. I know that someday I’ll have more free time, and at that point I will do things I can’t do now.

If you are in a busy season of life, don’t pressure yourself to do more than you can. Just enjoy the little bits of hobby time you can! It’s so much better to have small scale hobbies than to go years without any hobbies.

2. Remove Guilt From Hobbies

Maybe you start a new hobby and then don’t work on it for six months. Maybe you buy supplies and don’t use them all. There are so many reasons you could attach guilt to your hobbies, but I have found it so helpful to remove guilt altogether.

The point of hobbies is usually not some kind of end goal, it’s usually a creative experience. It helped me to think of my hobbies as an ongoing lifelong project.

If I don’t achieve the goals I set, I make new ones and move on. My biggest goal is to live a creative life—not to bake cookies for every single party, or to do a craft from scratch with my kids every day. It’s OK to be sporadic and imperfect with your hobbies.

3. Keep Learning and Keep Making

As we age, it’s likely we will have more time for hobbies and more time alone. In my current tired mom phase of life, it’s easy to feel like that time will never come (what is alone time?).

One of the reasons I keep my hobbies alive during these really overwhelming years is that I want them to still be there later in life.

We’ve all heard stories of people who retire and immediately have a diminished quality of life because they realize having a job was giving them a sense of purpose. As I get older, I hope to continue adding more hobbies and interests to my life.

I don’t want to get out of the habit of learning, making, and trying new things. Keeping it a priority in my life now is an investment in that future.

If you’re feeling like you can’t make time for something that’s just for you, I encourage you to take small steps. Get your supplies prepared, set up whatever space you can, and find those 30-minute lulls where you can sneak away.

You don’t have to finish anything big. Instead, simply focus on giving yourself a little bit of creative time as it become a part of your life again.

If you have tips for cultivating new hobbies as an adult, we would love to hear them in the comments! xx- Elsie

P.S. If you love this post, check out our podcast episode, The Importance of Hobbies as an Adults, with Elise Blaha Cripe.

  • I think there was a post mentioning collage-making a while back, and I have been doing that with my 4 and 2 year old! They enjoy it, but I probably get the most out of it. It can be the silliest collage (I am no artist) and they think it is great! We make cards together too for far-flung extended family at Christmas, Valentine’s, and Easter or during the summer—simple things like I have them paint on cards one day and then sticker them another, and I will glue in a current photo—the kids like it, the recipients LOVE it, and it helps me feel creative and connected to our extended family. Someday maybe I will have more “me” time, but for now it is nice being able to be a bit creative with my kids (once they are down at nighy, let’s be honest, I should be freelancing but I am too exhausted for much more than an episode on Netflix…if that).

  • Such a good post. Creative Lifestyle makes everything seem so simple. Love this mantra. Also love the blue jumpsuit. Can you share the source? I’d love to know! Thank you!

  • Love this post! I don’t have kids, but a hubby and a kitty. Plus I work full time and go to school and yes I am tired. How do people with kids do this? LOL. Even though I’m older and want to finish school as soon as I can, I realized that I just need a semester off because I’m very tired and mentally just out of it. I think a good tip is maybe see what you can eliminate for a period of time to make a little more room for yourself or your hobbies. You can always kick back into high gear at any time.

  • This was so relatable, and I remember struggling with this when I became a mom too. I was also dealing with post partum depression, and one of the few breaks I remember feeling I got from that was when I managed to squeeze in some time to sit on the couch and crochet a Douglas Adam’s inspired mobile for my newborn son. (I crochet some clouds, a whale and a little petunia flower pot 🙂 )

    So my tip for this season of life is to focus on hobbies that are easy to pick up and put down. I got really into knitting at this point in my life, because it’s something you can pick up and work on for ten minutes and put down if you need to. There’s no elaborate set up, no big mess to clear after (and every technique is on youtube!). Even little 15 minute creative me time breaks help!

  • I love this post. I think a lot about something Elsie wrote once, which was something like: ‘in just five years or so, I will have so much more time than I have now, so for now I’ll try to enjoy this phase, knowing that time will be there waiting for me.’ That helped me relax a bit when my daughter was little and I had no free time. And whenever I’m feeling guilty about unfinished projects or unused supplies, I think of this quote: “Every strange thing you’ve ever been into, every failed hobby or forgotten instrument, everything you have ever learned will come back to you, will serve you when you need it. No love, however brief, is wasted.” -Louise Miller

    • Oh Christy, what a wonderful comment! I have an 8-month-old and finding time is slim, that Louise Miller quote really hit my heart. Thank you for sharing such light!

  • Urgh, I so feel this. I too find myself in the busiest time of my life yet. I remember being able to finish an entire book in 2-3 days because I would have the time and energy to stay up at night and read through the wee hours. I haven’t read more than 3 pages in the last year…..I can’t even concentrate because I know I’ll be interrupted by a child, dog, cat, husband. I have a busy full time job (and work in the office 3-4 times a week which is a 30 min commute each way), 2 kids, 2 cats, 2 dogs (high energy large dogs who require 4 walks a day), I’m also a part time (on my own time) University student……I’m friggen tired, all the time. The only “hobbies” I actually have the energy to “pursue” is watching tv when I’m not studying or just “vegging” on my phone (which I feel is a waste of time but it’s the only thing mindless enough that makes me feel like “me time”). Can’t even enjoy my walks in the forest with the dogs right now because deer fly season (I venture in the woods just a little bit and there’s 20 on each dog’s head and another 20 circling my head…..vampires). My idea of a great leisurely day of absolute me time is spending the day by the water and reading a book…… myself…..but I love all my creatures and one day, they won’t be around anymore and I’ll have all the time in the world so I’m just living this part of life and soaking in all it brings me.

  • Thank you for this post! I’m sure it resonates with so many people, including myself! I have been trying to find my way back to my creative hobbies (watercolor painting, cardmaking, jewelry making, embroidery, art journaling etc) for many years now (my son is 12). I have times where I am more successful at that than others. I tend to make more time for it when it’s a gift or card for someone else, but it’s harder to make time for projects for myself or just to create. I tend to fall into the thinking of ” once the house is clean and everything is in order” then I will make time for my creative hobbies. Well of course, that time never comes! Thank you for encouraging me to take small steps towards making time for my hobbies and not waiting anymore for that unobtainable “perfect” state of the house. Thank you for reminding me that I don’t need to earn time spent on myself or hobbies!

  • This post is a life saver, more, more of such! You can so good describe how many of us moms feel. I’m having a girl with autism and most of the days in the summer holiday have barely time for anything. Before becoming a mom, I had many creative hobbies, and your tips gave me the feeling I can get nach to them though the circumstances now. Thank you, Elsie!!

  • It’s so good for our kids to see us trying new things and setting aside time for learning or having hobbies that we enjoy. My son sat next to me on the couch while I learned to crochet via Pinterest and YouTube, and it (unexpectedly) become a great talking point for us on how he learns and makes mistakes and everything takes practice. Now our Sunday mornings are spent watching cartoons while I crochet… and I like to think that one day he’ll remember being snuggled up against my arm while it gently rocked back and forth on some project.
    I also saw a great post recently on not feeling guilty about WIP’s or starting a new project before finishing a current one – sometimes the act of creating is more important than the finished project. It reminded me to allow space to just create for the fun of it and let go of all the self imposed pressures.

  • Thank you, as always, for your honesty. I love the framing of living a creative life instead of trying to accomplish lots of projects!

  • I love how real you are about the demands of motherhood without being super negative about it. Motherhood is very demanding and challenging, but also so incredibly fulfilling and you’re right, it only lasts so long! It is forever a balancing act, finding me-time and doing our most important jobs as moms. Thanks for the tips! I definitely find I have to carve out even just ten minutes at a time for my sewing or journaling projects, but it really does add up.

    • 100%! It’s so confusing how I can long for a life I don’t have (lots of “me time”) but also never want this part of life to be over. It really is both- at all times. 🙂

  • Great post Elsie! I can so relate and so can a lot of my friends but as you point out, it is essential to be creative. I am retired and missed the social aspect of my job but jumped right into painting and crocheting and that opened up a whole other
    social avenue as I reached out to others to learn new techniques and share projects. If we ever meet, you will know it’s me by the paint marks on my hands and wool fluff on my shirt! Cheers!

  • Thank you so much for this post Elsie! As an epic ‘dabbler’ in many creative avenues, and new Mom, I wonder how I’ll ever get the headspace, and physical space, to explore hobbies and my art practice again. Great advice thanks 😊

    • Being a mom with young kids is the most overwhelming time in my life. I think if you can keep those creative flames burning (even barely) it will be so worth it later on. Sending you a big hug! XX

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