One of the coolest side effects of having a blog is meeting people. I met awesome runners/ dads Mark, Derek, and Ryan this way. We’ve all become great friends and they have been so inspirational for me to work this balancing act of baby+work+running. Well, recently I met Jules, and she did an awesome post (and gave me a shout out!) about trying to keep up hobbies while you have an infant. Hello, the girl is trying to find time to run and ride her horse! How is that for being an active mama!?! I can sooooo relate. While I write a ton about running, I have about a billion other things I want to do that just don’t happen any more. Just a few: yoga (well, I get some but not 3 classes a week any more!), riding PeeWee (my bike), mountain biking, hiking, taking photos, baking, reading (got 2 books right now I am dying to get into), multiple TV series, movies, well you get the idea. As a mom of an infant, the only time you can do anything productive is when that baby is asleep. Now I also like my house clean, so I tend to have a long list of chores I want to get too also. I also have the Little Owl in day care, so when I am home with him it is the precious little time that we have together, and I feel terrible if I am not spending it with him. And, oh yeah, I have a husband it would be nice to spend time with other than tag teaming the Owl.
So here’s what has worked for me so far. And, I totally welcome tips from anyone on how to create a little more time for hobbies. Ok, here goes:
1. Pick a time of day when the baby sleeps that will always be your time. For me it is early, early morning. Really I think it is this or late night. And, on either one there is still the risk of baby waking. Now, both times are optimal for sleep, which most moms need, but I forgo some of it to get my run, which I have deemed non-negotiable. There are a lot of days I am exhausted, but I really want my run, so this works for me.
2. For other times, don’t plan anything. Any time that comes your way is a gift, and you can enjoy it. But plans that don’t happen get very frustrating, so why set yourself up. This took me forever to figure out. If I want more time to stretch, or answer friends’ emails, I just have to get up earlier. If I leave it for the evening it may not happen. The only plans I make in the evenings now are feed the Owl, bathe the Owl, love the Owl. If he falls asleep easily, then any left over time is for Mike and I and a rare treat.
3. For my running, having a goal helps. My goal is to run a Boston qualifying time this fall. It keeps in line when I want to skip hard runs.
4. I try to make my chores into playtime for Jasper. I’ll wear him in the Ergo while I cook dinner and sing to him. He really doesn’t know that I am doing a “chore” and to him it’s all fun. This way I get something I need to done without sacrificing time from him.
5. Finally, if at all possible, I try and do my hobbies with Jasper. So far this has worked for yoga, and I confess he has watched an occasional episode of the Tudors.
I welcome anymore tips. I confess there are times I wish I was a stay at home mom for selfish reasons. I would join a gym with childcare and hit the yoga and spin classes. But I don’t feel like I can stick Jasper in anymore childcare than he already has.
Also, I have to constantly remind myself he won’t be this little forever. One day we’ll mountain bike together, go hiking together, bake cookies together, etc. Yesterday one of my coworkers told me that on his first birthday I can look back and say that I survived the hardest year of being a mom.
It’s really not so bad…