Friday, March 9, 2012

On having your own life

I spent this morning as a volunteer knitting and crochet teacher at the Creative Stitches show which is in town all weekend.  Though it made the rest of my day a bit stressful in terms of scheduling, I'm so glad I went out and did something I really enjoy.  The last time I worked at Creative Stitches was three years ago, so it felt great to get back into the swing of things there.  Some things hadn't changed at all.  For example...

As a foreigner in this country, I'm always having to explain my American accent and tell my story to inquisitive Glaswegians, and today was no exception.  It was all worth it though, because I met several lovely women, many of whom approached me specifically to ask about the daisy afghan I brought to work on at the show.  Here's a picture, with Alvin included to help you see the how big it is right now.

You have to is a good conversation starter!

Now here's the point I'm trying to make; having your own life and your own interests is good practice for any woman, but I would argue that it's especially important for a stepmother.  And for stepmothers like me who have moved to a faraway place to live with their new family, it's probably a hundred times more important!  Cultivating your own interests is essential for a host of reasons.  The following are just a few:

• Having a hobby or creative outlet makes YOU more interesting!  And it's a known fact that interesting people are a magnet for other interesting people, so you also stand to benefit by broadening your social circle.

• A hobby keeps your stress levels down and is generally good for your health.  Now don't go take up chain smoking as a hobby and blame me when things go wrong - I'm talking about choosing positive hobbies.  Even just going on a 30-minute walk two or three times a week can lower your stress levels and give you a good thinking space.  And there an easier hobby than walking?

• Here's a tricky one; are you one of those stepmoms who gets way too caught up in your partner's drama with his ex and maybe, just maaaaaybe, you even like to stir the pot a bit yourself?  For goodness sake, take up gardening or tae kwon do and focus on THAT instead of all the drama.  Your family, or at the very least you, would only be the better for it.  A hobby, sport or other outlet can work wonders as a drama diffuser; the drama may still be there, but you can reduce its hold on you by choosing instead to focus on the things you enjoy and can control.

• Absence makes the heart grow fonder.  When you do something for yourself that takes you away from the family for a short time, you may feel guilty or selfish.  Please don't.  Doing your own thing from time to time is really good for you!  Of course you'll need to find the right balance of "me time" and "family time" yourself, but if your partner works with you, both of you can find time for your own pursuits.  And after you've been away, you'll return to your family refreshed and less stressed - and that's something that everybody will enjoy.

• Your passion may lead to something bigger and better, like travel opportunities (for a concert, trade show, 5k run, whatever!) or a chance to turn your hobby into a profit.  Or you may just find that the "bigger and better" light at the end of the tunnel is an increased sense of self worth, which is no mean feat if you ask me.

So what are you waiting for?  Get out there and get a life of your own!

Stepmoms, what are your hobbies?  How do they help you keep the insanity of stepfamily life at bay?


Laurel Ann Walker said...

I have hobbies that I share with my husband, such as my involvement in theatre, and I have hobbies that are all my own, including crafting and DIY and blogging. I do admit that I'm actively involved in my husband's affairs but it's by invitation and acceptance by him and it's working for us so far!

Suddenly Stepmom said...

Good! I have more hobbies and interests than I have time in the day, so it's always nice to hear when someone else is active that way, too.