What Now? Hobbies For Moms With An Almost Empty Nest
If you’re a mom that’s teetering on the edge of having an empty nest, particularly a stay at home mom, chances are it feels like you’ve been asked “What are you going to do now?” at least 7,863,916 times over the last year. Your standard answer is something like:
“Oh, you know, I’ve got all kinds of projects lined up.”
“I’m finally going to get all the clutter out of my house.”
When what you really want to say is “Dear Lord, I have no freaking clue what I’m going to do with myself! I’ve been focused on being my kids Mom for so long now that I don’t even remember what I’m interested in anymore.”
You know you need to find a hobby but you have no idea how to figure out what that might be or where to start.
I mean, surely to goodness you’ll find things to do, right?
Sure. But eventually, one of two things is going to happen; you’re either going to run out of projects or they’re going to start feeling more like busy work and less like the meaningful, interesting and/or purpose-filled something you’re really looking for.
The truth is, when the kids start taking care of themselves, at least as far as daily routines are concerned, it’s normal to struggle with who you are apart from being “Mom.” And honestly, if you don’t start addressing this now, it’s going to cause problems later. The very last thing you want is to start feeling unhappy and unfulfilled simply because you aren’t adjusting to the new normal very well.
BENEFITS OF HOBBIES FOR MOMS WITH AN ALMOST EMPTY NEST
The almost empty nest years are the perfect time to be intentional about finding something you really, really love to do that has nothing to do with your children.
A hobby will give you something to get excited about and will distract you from all the changes taking place and will help you start building a life you love. Plus, figuring out what you enjoy is a great way to start getting to know yourself again!
Hobbies can also help you make new friends because they encourage you to meet people that share your same passions. And, they can help strengthen an existing bond. You and your spouse have been busy being parents and raising your family and now you have a chance to reconnect as a couple.
Finding a hobby you can enjoy together might be the perfect way for you to get to know one another again without the kids around. My husband and I love to fish and ride his motorcycle. It’s really nice to be able to hang out and have fun doing something we both really enjoy.
FINDING THE BEST HOBBIES FOR MOMS IN MIDLIFE
When you find a hobby you enjoy, you’ll realize how badly you needed one. The problem is how do you find the right one?
Honestly? You just have to try things. That’s why I think lists like this are so valuable-as you read through the options, write down the ideas that spark your interest and look into those. That way you’re not throwing spaghetti against the wall to see what sticks.
I know I tried so many hobbies I can’t even remember them all; refinishing furniture, baking, a gazillion different crafts-now is probably a good time to mention that I do not have a crafty bone in my body. Sadly, that’s never stopped me from trying.
You might be like me and have to try several hobbies before you find the right one. Or, you might try the same thing more than once-which I also did. Sometimes it’s the right idea, just not the right time so if there’s something you’ve tried that didn’t quite work out but it’s always the first thing you think of when you think hobby, try it again.
That’s what happened to me with blogging. I had a blog in 2006, mostly just to keep family updated. I enjoyed writing but it wasn’t the right time; I was just too busy with my family to make it a priority so it fizzled out.
After that, the idea was always in the back of my mind but it was a full 10 years before I circled back around to it and longer still before I knew blogging was the right fit and that it was the right time.
This list has a ton of great ideas to try so hopefully something will jump out at you.
HOBBIES FOR MOMS WITH AN ALMOST EMPTY NEST
- Read – Reading is like breathing for me. My mother says when I was a kid I would read the phone book if I ran out of books (remember those?!). And, when you’re having a hard time, there is nothing like a good book to transport you to someplace else. If you’re looking for a good series, this is my favorite. This book is one of my favorite stand-alone novels. If you like non-fiction this book is fantastic for helping you identify and overcome your fears.
- Travel – This is a great time to start planning trips to all those places you’ve always talked and daydreamed about visiting. My husband and I went to Europe a few years ago and I’m dying to go back.
- Take classes — go back to school to finish your degree or pursue a whole new profession or skill set. If it’s a thing, there’s a class for it, I promise.
- Genealogy – Love to research? Trace your family’s history. There’s no telling what you’ll discover.
- Go to Museums
- Learn to play an instrument
- Solve Puzzles
- Bullet Journaling
- Creative Writing – Write that book you’ve always wanted to write! (If you’re interested in creative writing you should really check out nanowrimo.)
CRAFT RELATED HOBBIES
Like I said, me+crafting=a hard no. But, so many people are super talented and I love the idea of making pretty things. Crafts of any kind are perfect hobbies for moms.
In recent years, craft stores like Hobby Lobby, Michael’s and JoAnn’s have started offering classes on everything from decorating cakes to calligraphy to making clothes. A lot of them seem skewed towards beginners so this would be a great way to try things out. The classes vary by location so check with your local stores.
If you aren’t interested in the in-store classes, CreativeLive offers free online classes each week.
There are also some really amazing kits available to help beginners get their feet wet. Some kits seem simple enough that even I could make something I wouldn’t want to hide or explain away as my child’s kindergarten art project when we have people over. Not that I have ever done that or anything.
Class or kit, both mean you can try several things without spending a bunch of money accumulating a metric ton of junk you’ll never use again if you decide you don’t enjoy it.
- Scrapbooking or Digital Scrapbooking
- Jewelry Making
- Card Making
KITCHEN RELATED HOBBIES
There are some interesting kitchen related kits these days as well.
- Cook – If you love being in the kitchen why not have fun trying all those recipes for things your kids would never have touched with a 10 ft. pole.?!
- Cake Decorating
POTENTIAL INCOME GENERATING HOBBIES
- Blogging – Blogging has been an excellent way for me to combine things I love and still earn an income. If you’re interested in blogging you can start one for as little as $3.95/month with hosting through Siteground and there are a plethora of free resources to help you get going.
- Freelance – Writing, Editing, or Proofreading: There are tons of groups on Facebook you can join to advertise or look for work. You can also use sites like Fiverr or Flexjobs.com-just do your homework.
- Graphic Design – You’ll need to invest in software like PhotoShop-the monthly fee runs as low as $9.99 but it has a steep learning curve so you’ll likely want to take classes on Udemy or CreativeLive. You could also use membership sites like Canva or Picmonkey-they’re much more user friendly. You can advertise your services and sell your designs on sites like Creative Market
- Sell Crafts, Printables or Vintage items on Etsy – $0.20 per listing on Etsy + 5% transaction fee
- Refinish or restore furniture – Use a piece you own or find a low-cost piece of furniture on Craigslist, Facebook, at a yard sale or thrift store + paint and/or other supplies.
- Interior Design – If you love interior design then offer design services online. You’ll need a website, which costs as low as $3.95 per month through Siteground.
- Photography – Initial cost could be pricey, depending on your camera or smartphone. You’ll definitely need to be able to take high quality photos so the camera quality matters. If you’re just starting out you can take classes from sites like CreativeLive or Udemy. You’ll likely want to check out Adobe Lightroom and Photoshop as well or a membership site like Picmonkey or Canva. Options for making money from photography include personal sessions, product photography for businesses and stock photography.
Most of these are excellent hobbies for couples explore because they’re a really good way to spend some quality time together without any distractions
- Motorcycle Riding
- Boating/ Kayaking
- Metal Detecting
EXERCISE/PHYSICAL FITNESS HOBBIES
- Sports – Depending on where you live there are adult leagues that are just for fun. I know soccer, softball and basketball are popular choices in the southeast.
- Yoga – I’m dying to try aerial yoga!
- Tae kwon do
- Book Club
- Bridge Group
- Game Night – Play Canasta, Mah Jong or other card or board games.
- Supper Club
- Get involved with your local theater group
- Movie or Video Game Nights
- Dance Lessons
FINAL THOUGHTS ON HOBBIES FOR MOMS
This is by no means an exhaustive list but hopefully one of these ideas caught your attention or one of them sparked another idea for something you’d like to pursue. If so, or if you already have a hobby, I’d love to hear about it so be sure to let me know in the comments section!
At the end of the day, what matters is that you find something you enjoy doing that motivates you to get out and have fun. You deserve a rich and fulfilling life that makes you happy.