When you want to get to know somebody, your two first questions are usually “What do you do for a living” and “What do you do in your spare time?”
Having recently moved, I’ve been asked these questions a few times, as I meet new people. The first answer is easy-peasy. I stay at home with the kids! The second answer? It always causes me to pause. What do I do in my spare time? I could easily say “Oh, I have four kids under 6! I have no spare time!” But really, I can quite easily carve out an hour or two a day if I had something specific to do in mind.
There are so many options these days, surely I could think of something! One could make crafts, make or listen to music, make or grow food, exercise, socialize, travel, write, act…the list goes on. The market is so saturated with companies catering to these hobbies and hobbyists selling their crafts or trades. It can make a person who can’t or doesn’t do these things feel like they are less of a person for not having that Thing to do that gives them joy or refreshment after a hard day. Parenthood can’t even be used as an excuse because I know many parents who make time for their special thing. Hey, my husband even spent so much time on his hobby that he got a full time job out of it!
In my pondering of why I can’t seem to find that hobby that fills the void, I’ve asked myself “what in the past has given me this feeling?” The answer comes easily. I’ve loved my jobs. I loved slicing that 80g of German salami so thin it falls apart for that lady every Sunday. I loved working the till and making the same small talk as I folded purchases neatly into bags. I loved handing coffees over the counter to smiling customers. And I loved getting to work at 7am, greeting well-rested guests as they came down the stairs for their breakfast, later helping them find the best places to eat and the most fun things to do in the city.
In my years since becoming a mom and not having a paying job, I can think of a couple things that gave me this feeling also. I loved having our church parents and tots group at our home when the church building was unavailable. I loved helping friends tidy and organize their homes. I loved helping friends in a bind by watching their kids. And in a very specific event, I loved volunteering for Calvin’s soccer tournament. A couple months ago Calvin’s school had a fall fair and I signed up for a two shifts of volunteering at the volunteer table, to tell them where to go, etc. Tim and his parents had to attend a family funeral out of town, so I unfortunately had to back out, and I was more sad to not be able to volunteer than I was glad about being able to do the fair things with my kids (but we did all have fun!). This week I get to help set up a house for a new family in town and show them how to use the appliances and such. I am incredibly excited for this!
What is the link between all these things?
I’m a service girl. I’ve known this for a long time, but it’s just not something that comes to mind when you are making a list of what can be a hobby. Nonetheless, serving is my hobby. Unfortunately it’s not something easily done out of the home when I have a couple spare hours in the evening. I can still do those things I listed above, and that will come more and more as we find our place in this community. I look forward to that. I look forward to maybe volunteering somewhere a few hours at a time, or one day returning to work. For now, it’s really nice to know I’ve got myself figured out.
I love this!! It is very timely, as I have been thinking a lot about service and my role in it. Does it give me life? Does it burn me out? Sometimes one and sometimes the other. I love thinking of this as a hobby because I am often looking at others who create and think–I should learn to do that because that would be fulfilling. Maybe it would be–but maybe it is also fulfilling to just love others and to be our genuine selves. It isn’t really a comfortable answer to the question, “What is your hobby” but it is comforting to my often busy mind, pining for others gifts rather than recognizing and resting in my own.
It’s a good feeling to figure out your happy place! I think it took me till a lot later in life. To find joy in serving others is a special gift and I appreciate that in you.
I hope you’re able to find the right spot to explore your new hobby! I get asked sometimes how I can read so much with little kids but, as you say, it’s not too hard to carve out the time, if you really want to. I imagine there will be more time/opportunity for volunteering as your kids get into school ages.
Hi Larissa, I resonate with your blog today. It is hard when there are so many little people that need you, let alone a home to run and a husband that also needs a wife! This is a good thing to ponder because you will NOT always be so needed by your kids and it’s good not to lose yourself in the process of raising these amazing humans 😉. It has been amazing for me to push myself and grow in my 50’s (!) with my virtual, online business. Never did I think I would be doing something so new at this point. AND loving it!! So good for you to be asking these questions of yourself now; you’ll be ready to go when you see the opportunity! Blessings to you💕