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If you’re a mom that’s teetering on the edge of having an empty nest, chances are it feels like you’ve been asked something similar to “What are you going to do when the kids are gone?” at least 7,863,916 times over the last year. Depending on how you’re feeling and who you’re speaking to, your standard answer is probably something like:
“I’m not sure, I haven’t really thought about it yet.”
“Oh, you know, I’ve got all kinds of projects lined up.”
“I’m finally going to clear all the clutter out of my house.”
When what you really want to say is:
“Gooood question. I have no freaking clue what I’m going to do. Honestly, I have no idea what I’m even interested in thinking about doing. I feel like I’ve been focused on being my kids’ Mom for so long now that I don’t know who I am anymore.”
I absolutely understand because I have been exactly where you are. I know how sad you are that this chapter of your life is coming to a close, long before you’re ready. I also understand exactly how much anxiety you’re feeling about the future. How you’re feeling is normal, but it’s miserable, and I’m sorry.
I want to help, so I’m going to share what has helped me more than anything else. It’ll probably sound hokey no matter how I say it so, I’m just going to put it out there…
You need to find a hobby.
Actually, what I really want you to find is a meaningful, engaging, purpose-filled passion project to throw yourself into but, we can start with finding a hobby. We’ll save the passion project conversation for another day.
WHY ARE HOBBIES FOR MOMS IN THEIR 40’s AND 50’s SO IMPORTANT?
There are a whole bunch of reasons why having a hobby is a good idea for everybody but here are a few good reasons for why hobbies for moms in their 40’s and 50’s are particularly important and why it’s a good idea for us to find one sooner rather than later:
- Hobbies are a great way to start rediscovering who you are as an individual.
- The sadness and anxiety we feel about the upcoming empty nest isn’t only about the empty nest. It’s also about how to fill the empty next and, a hobby is a great jumping-off point for figuring that out.
- When the time comes, and you’re feeling sad about all the changes that have taken place, a hobby is going to give you something to get excited about and get your mind off everything that is going on.
If those aren’t quite enough to convince you, here are a few more: hobbies can help you make new friends because they’ll help you meet people that share your same interests. By the same token, they can also help strengthen an existing bond. You and your spouse have been busy being parents and raising your family but, 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 and being able to hang out and have fun together is really nice.
I realize mentioning hobbies for couples might seem out of place when we’re talking about why hobbies for moms in our season of life are so important. But, since you’re going to be thinking about them anyway, I figure you might as well have hobbies for you and the hubs in the back of your mind while you’re at it.
HOW DO YOU FIND A HOBBY?
When you find a hobby you really enjoy, you’ll realize how badly you needed one, I promise. The problem is, how do you find one?
Honestly? You just have to try things. But, it’s essential to come up with a plan so you’re not wasting money trying random things. That’s precisely why there’s so much value in looking through lists like this one. You get to go through a lot of different ideas all at once and, as you read through it, you’ll be drawn to some more than others. Make a note of what sparks your interest because those are the ones you’ll want to look into a little further.
Sometimes finding the right hobby takes time and, you may find you need to try several ideas before you land on one that feels right, or you might need to try the same thing more than once. My suggestion is to commit to trying something at least a couple of times before you decide to ditch the idea altogether.
I know I tried so many hobbies I can’t even remember them all; refinishing furniture, baking, and a gazillion different crafts. This is probably a good time to mention that I don’t have a crafty bone in my body, but sadly, that’s never stopped me from trying.
Sometimes it’s the right idea, just not the right time. If there’s something you’ve tried that didn’t quite work out, but it’s always the first thing that pops in your head when you think about hobbies, maybe it’s time to try it again.
That’s what happened to me with blogging. I had a blog in 2006, mostly just to keep family that didn’t live nearby updated on how we were doing. I enjoyed writing, but it wasn’t the right time; I was just too busy to make it a priority so it fizzled out.
After that, the blogging 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 it was for sure my thing and that it was the right time to dive into it.
This is the perfect time to find your thing too!
HOBBIES FOR MOMS IN THEIR 40’s and 50’s
I need books like I need air to breathe. I have always loved to read; my mom says when I was a kid, I’d read the phone book if I ran out of reading material (Remember phone books?! Do they still make them?). When you’re having a hard time, there is nothing like a good book to transport you someplace else. If you’re looking for a good series, this is my favorite. And, this book is so good-it’s one of my very favorite stand-alone novels. If you like non-fiction, this book is fantastic for helping you identify and overcome your fears.
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.
One of the best ways to help yourself is through giving back, especially if you’re working with a program that involves something important to you. Love animals? Volunteer at an animal shelter or to take dogs to visit patients in nursing homes and hospitals. Love reading? Volunteer with your local library or community literacy program.
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, and chances are, you can find it free on sites like edX and Coursera.
Love to research? Trace your family’s history. This is something I could easily hyperfocus on and lose days doing!
Write that book you’ve always wanted to write! These are my favorite books on writing.
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!
Classes and kits are great because they allow you to 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.
KITCHEN RELATED HOBBIES
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.?! I love to cook, and while I say I only collect vintage and antique cookbooks, just between you and me, I can’t seem to resist new ones either. These are a few of the newer cookbooks I use all the time:
There are some really interesting kitchen-related kits these days as well.
POTENTIAL INCOME GENERATING HOBBIES
Blogging is an excellent option for anyone that loves writing, and it can become a great side-hustle if you decide to go that route. If you’re interested, 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.
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.
You’ll need to know Photoshop (the monthly fee runs as low as $9.99); if you aren’t already familiar with it there’s a bit of a learning curve so you’ll likely want to take classes on Udemy or CreativeLive. Membership sites like Canva or Picmonkey are a good alternative, they’re much more user-friendly, but they can’t quite do everything Photoshop can do. You can advertise your services and sell your designs on sites like Creative Market.
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.
If you love interior design, offering design services online might be your thing. You’ll need a website, which costs as low as $3.95 per month through Siteground.
You’ll definitely need a good camera that takes high-quality photos. That said, you may be able to get by with just your phone if it’s a newer model-I know for sure that the iPhone X takes beautiful pictures. If you’re a beginner or need to brush up on specific topics you can take classes from sites like CreativeLive or Udemy. You’ll likely also want to check out photo editing software Adobe Lightroom and Photoshop or membership sites like Picmonkey or Canva. Options for making money from photography include personal sessions, product photography for businesses, and stock photography.
Many of these are excellent hobbies for couples to explore because they’re a perfect way to spend some quality time together without any distractions
EXERCISE/PHYSICAL FITNESS HOBBIES
FINAL THOUGHTS ON HOBBIES FOR MOMS IN THEIR 40’s and 50’s
Your 40’s and 50’s, aka the almost empty nest years, are the perfect time to be intentional about finding something you really, really enjoy doing that has nothing to do with your children. This is by no means an exhaustive list, but I hope one of these ideas caught your attention or one of them sparked another idea for something you’d like to pursue.
You’ve still got a lot of life to live and there’s no time like the present to start figuring out what you want this next season to look like!
Do you have a hobby that isn’t listed? If so, I’d love to hear about it so be sure to let me know in the comments section!