Since you became a parent, you’ve probably put a few of your passions on hold. There isn’t time, like their used to be, to climb mountains, watch every game of tennis in a Grand Slam, or travel to Europe to test out your terrible grasp of the Spanish language.
I’ve been thinking about passions a lot lately, since reading The Happines Project and how Gretchen Rubin spent a month “pursuing her passions” which she’d shelved in recent years. The things I’m most passionate about have been gathering dust too, since I’ve had Henry and Annie.
It has been three years now and I have to admit that my kids have become my main passion, which I’m not unhappy about. They need me so much, they’re heaps of fun and I know that one day I’ll look back and miss these years, as I beg them for a cuddle or to let me read them a bedtime story. The truth is I love my work as a stay-at-home mum and I’ll always be grateful to my husband for happily bringing home all the bacon while I have this big break from traditional work.
Of course, I’m not 100% happy about having no time to pursue my own passions. My days are definitely sucked into the stay-at-home mum vortex, where every minute seems to be spent fixing snacks, cajoling kids to leave the house, refereeing fights or wiping away the marks left by grubby little fingers. I often think about the ways I used to spend my spare time and how much fun I had just being me.
Reading The Happiness Project came at the right time for me, before I totally lost myself within my stay-at-home mum identity. The book made me think about my old passions and how I could rearrange my time to pursue them more each day.
There were a few options. I could get off Facebook and shut down Pinterest and stop wasting time reading about celebrities on People.com. I could stop watching brain-numbing TV shows when I feel too tired for anything else, and go back to watching smart stuff which makes me think. I could put down the chick lit books and read brainy books which actually teach me something.
I could rediscover the music I’ve loved my whole life, and show the kids that before The Wiggles, there was The Beatles and The Beastie Boys and Johnny Cash! I could stop complaining about “having” to exercise and admit that I actually really enjoy it and would still exercise, even if I had a body like Gisele Bundchen.
As you can see, the passions I’m rediscovering are small in scale, and totally do-able as a mum. Sure, I loved travelling the world too but those big things will just have to wait till I’m older and greyer. For now, I’m happy with life as it is, albeit happier since reading The Happiness Project and learning that even when life is busy, there’s always time for a bit more fun… and a bit more passion!
Read Gretchen Rubin’s article “Why passion is so critically important to happiness” here.