Here's a fun excerpt from our new book Mothering Many: Strategies for Sanity from Moms of Four or More.
What hobbies are large-family friendly?
- Having babies is my hobby! We have visited the state capital on behalf of homebirth. We sometimes help at local activities with clean-up.—Sheri
- Blogging and writing. I do these while the kids do school work or in the afternoon while the little ones are napping and other children are outside or playing.—Lissa
- I like reading, scrapbooking, and drawing. I try to do these things with the children—they love them, too. But sometimes, I also get together with my friends to scrapbook (without the children). I like reading before bed to relax. I also like to volunteer for many great causes. I’m the family coordinator for my husband’s Marine Corps unit. This is nearly a full-time job. I love to help in church and school. I do have a hard time saying no and often stretch myself too thin. Even though my kids don’t actually volunteer with me, I think they see the rewards of helping out.—Shannon
- I do enjoy scrapbooking, but that tends to be a twice-a-year two-day get-away that I do on my own. My older daughters also enjoy this with me. We all love sewing. And I love trying new things to cook, but that also doesn’t happen too often with time being of the essence. I also love gardening and this year “hired” my 11-year-old daughter to be my gardener. It has been great to involve her and has given us one-on-one time together.—Karina
- I really don’t have any. There just isn’t enough uninterrupted time in my day. I don’t think this is really healthy, but I don’t know that always looking for time to do something I don’t have time for would make me happy either. Blogging is about as close as I get. However, I do as many church-related activities as I can, and people around here understand that the babies go where I go.—Betsy
- My hobbies are cooking and baking. The kids sit on the counter if they want to watch, and I let them measure and mix ingredients if I’m not in too much of a rush. I like to sew, often with someone on my lap! Also, reading, which I try not to do during the day or I’ll neglect the kids. Music is another hobby. The girls love to dance to whatever I’m playing on the piano. Traveling is also a good family hobby and we all enjoy the adventures that come with nonstop road trips. In addition, I volunteer at church and school whenever I can. Our whole family goes to choir on Wednesday nights because I direct. Other times, like when I need time practicing organ alone, I will go when my husband is home. If it’s a school activity, such as a field trip or Valentine’s Day party, I bring the younger kids along, and the teachers and students think it’s great.—Kate
- I enjoy scrapbooking and have included my children in that hobby. They create a “yearbook” each year of the learning opportunities they have had. This year, I am hosting three “yearbook” classes so other children can create and work on their “yearbook.” The classes are two hours long, with the first 30 or 45 minutes devoted to instruction time and then the remainder of the class is their time to work on their individual books. A light snack is served at the end. This allows a time for them to learn new ideas, create an individualized “yearbook” that is designed by them and a time of fellowship with other homeschoolers. I also love organizing and bookmaking. I enjoy helping friends with scheduling and organizing. I have a wonderful husband who gives me time to do these things, and scheduling, again, helps in this area. Also, we volunteer through ministry at church—for family, neighbors, and friends. My children are included when preparing meals for other people, and sometimes in ministry at the church.—Janet
- I scrapbook. That’s easy to do with the kids. They all love stickers and die cuts and cool paper. My son loves to work on my husband’s old truck with him. My big girls and I will read together.—Amy
- It used to be scrapbooking, but I couldn’t keep up. Now, I crochet with my oldest three daughters. I also read and am studying to be a childbirth educator.—Christy
- I crochet, sew, embroider, read, and do other things, too. I will be teaching my daughter to do the crafty stuff as she is able. We all love to read and spend a lot of time reading out loud. The children who can read take turns, too.—Ann
- I don’t have time or ambition for hobbies these days. Someday, I will get back into doing them. However for now, I’m happy taking the time to be with the children.—Sharon
- I don’t have hobbies anymore! After my fourth child, they went out the window—ha! They became low on the priority list of what needed to be done. Seriously! I used to quilt and sew. I painted our whole house when we first moved and enjoyed it. I used to ride horses. I still read some novels, but that’s about it. There is just no time and it’s too stressful to try.—Tina
- Hobbies are similar to friendships in that there are seasons of opportunity to do this, with children or with friends. There are other seasons when I don’t get an opportunity for a particular hobby for many months. With reading and gardening, also, there are seasons of plenty and seasons with hardly any time.—Laurie
- I used to sew, but don’t anymore. I like to “escape” to my garden when I can. I used to do a lot of crafts, but I guess cooking, baking, and laundry are my “hobbies” now, and reading school stuff!—Reba
- I let my daughters volunteer at the library!—Mery
- I’m accredited as a Leader for La Leche League (*2). This is something that seems to fit quite easily into our life. I only take my youngest child to meetings since the meetings are in evenings around bedtime. It’s easier for me to have only one child to manage when I have leader responsibilities and am trying to reach out to the other moms who come. I have found this to be an amazing way to get into community life here and get to know other moms. LLL also believes in “mother-sized jobs” and working together as a team, so that no one feels overloaded because mothering is upheld as the most important task of each leader. We also like to ride horses and occasionally take my children with me to the ranch where I used to work to teach them to ride. I’m hoping we can find a way to board our own horse, so that we can ride more often. I love music and am teaching piano to my girls. My oldest daughters and I are taking violin lessons together. I like to sketch and paint and I occasionally take up a project, but this is something I would work on after the children are in bed. I’m starting to teach the girls how to paint a little bit with watercolors. I enjoy sewing and I make dresses for my daughters. This is something I can do during the day. I have a big sewing table set up and the biggest girls are learning how to help pin the patterns with me. The little ones love to watch and sit on my lap when I’m sewing. My two biggest girls have little toy ponies with magnets on their feet, so if we ever have pins spill on the floor, they’re eager to use their ponies to pick up the pins as quickly as possible so that the baby doesn’t get into them. When I’m not working on my project, I close off that area so that the children can’t keep “sewing” without me.—Sarah
Editor’s Tip: I love Sarah’s idea of having an area that can be closed-off for leaving projects out. I know I am much more likely to work on a project if I don’t have to constantly clean up after myself. It’s also nice for the older children to have an area to work on puzzles or Legos that the littler ones can’t get into. For us, the area is our guest room that is only seldom used, but I’ve heard of other families getting creative with closets, porches, and baby-gates.
Hopefully this can encourage you to pursue some family-friendly hobbies! But this isn't all the book has to offer! 55 other questions are answered. There is even a wonderful appendix with encouragement and perspective from mature and wise grandmas! Buy a copy today!