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things I like to do in my spare time

question meme day

lantairvlea asks What do you like to do in your (I imagine often hypothetical) spare time?

I feel like it's a requirement of motherhood to joke about our lack of spare time. You'll get friendly nods if you stand up in a meeting and say "I have two children under the age of 5. So my hobbies are... I don't know, showering?"

But I've also always had a notion that when it comes down to it, people make the time to do the shit we want to do.

Maybe I started this notion when it I took six sigma training. There's this exercise you're supposed to do when you start a project... in scope, out of scope. You clearly define what's in scope, for example we're going to redesign the wing of this airplane. And you clearly define what's out of scope... we're not going to redesign the fuselage. The joke is always "scope creep"... someone adding a bit of work you didn't plan on. Clear definition should prevent that.

But I've found that at the end of the day, whoever is in charge finds a way to get some extra stuff done if he just finds it interesting. And that's what life seems to consist of... the shit we want to do.

Oh but back to the happy nods. If you ask me, in a professional corporate setting, what I like to do in my spare time, I will say the following:

1) I love to read, even built a little free library in my front yard so new books are always available to me 24/7.

2) I love to fly airplanes, schedule a plane to rent once a week these days, which I cancel 75% of the time or more for shitty Kansas weather.

3) I am heavily involved in the Society of Women Engineers. Because I need those ladies. And I also really do like encouraging kids towards engineering, and SWE is who does the research to correctly do that.

4) I have two small children. The littlest one is two and loves to curl up and read. The biggest one is almost five and loves crafts, riding her bike, and trying to kill herself climbing things. I accompany them through all these hobbies.

These are socially acceptable hobbies that are easy to for me to talk about. Here's the stuff I don't talk about.

1) The internet, dammit, I love the internet. I love blogging, twitter, discovering new social networks, keeping spacefem.com up and running and active and weird.

2) Writing php. playing with code. getting weird ideas for mysql-drive website algorithms.

3) Running non-profit social media campaigns. For my SWE section, for my church.

4) Etsy. I design and sell fabric. this is no one's concern except the people who are shopping for fabric on Etsy, so I don't feel the need to talk about it much, if I talk about it I feel like I'm self-promoting in an annoying way.

5) activism. I still get pulled into it - the annual picnic for the gay rights organization, fundraisers and art auctions to help survivors of domestic violence.

my spare time is what it is. I come home from work, and tell the kids I want to sit on the couch, just for a minute to relax. then sometimes I'll play with them for a while and see what they did. after dinner, there's bound to be couch/internet/reading time, where I tell them go, child, play by yourself, learn independence, it's good for you. and once a week or so I've got some other thing that I go to. Marc supports this. I was really hesitant to turn his 9 hour day as a stay at home dad into a 12 hour day so I could do some after work thing... but he pushed me that way, to be honest. mostly so that the next night, he could go do some after work thing, meet coders, go do work, we need that and it feels healthier when it happens.

we have to make spare time, not just be in this contest about who's got less of it.


( 13 comments — Leave a comment )
May. 11th, 2015 09:48 am (UTC)
people make the time to do the shit we want to do


You might think that between having a 3 year old and a full-time early-career academic post, I have no life. But that's not true at all. I have quite a bit of life. My husband and I eat pizza, drink beer, and watch Sci Fi every Saturday (that we're home). We travel regularly. I read every night before bed. I spent the weekend dyeing fabric and sewing new clothes out of it. I recently published a book of academic research wholly unrelated to my "day job". I've got plenty of hobbies, and I think that my ability to handle my academic responsibilities AND my parenting responsibilities is all the better for it.

[I also never understood the new-mother-not-showering trope. I never missed a shower; I figured no matter how unhappy she was (and she never was!), it wouldn't kill Gwen to roll around on the bathmat for 10 minutes until I was done.]
May. 11th, 2015 08:09 pm (UTC)
I don't get the not showering thing either. It doesn't hurt a baby to have 10 minutes of tummy time by the shower or even hang out in its crib.
May. 11th, 2015 08:14 pm (UTC)
That's awesome you have your hand in so many things and keep fairly active in them. Sorry the weather doesn't usually cooperate with your flying.

I know I don't out the time I used to into my hobbies (except for the horses at this point), but I am trying to do better about that and even getting the boys to take part in what ways they can right now.
May. 12th, 2015 01:47 am (UTC)
Do your kids cry and scream and clutch and beg and whatnot though? It seems like the "go off and play" thing would work better with some personalities of kids than others. Sometimes I ignore their crying so I can do the dishes or whatever but it doesn't necessarily make them go off and play.
May. 12th, 2015 02:32 am (UTC)
I'm pretty determined on it though. Yes they do whine cry complain, but as long as I've spent or will spend some time with them that evening I don't feel terribly guilty.
May. 12th, 2015 06:04 pm (UTC)
I actually have time to myself now, but have trouble finding things to do. When my daughter started school last fall, I realized I have no hobbies.

But over the school year I re-taught myself how to crochet, I've done some sewing, gotten back into icon making a bit, and tried to make more of a social life for myself online.

I've also tried to learn/understand things that go on in society that I was unaware of before. Things like feminism and equality for ALL so that I can be a better person and so I can pass on the things I learn to my daughter.
May. 12th, 2015 07:18 pm (UTC)
May. 13th, 2015 04:52 am (UTC)
There is a "cult of busy" in our culture. If you say you are "soo busy" people shower you with sympathy and attention (and some competition to be the busiest). But if you say, "screw it, I manage my time to make time for the things that matter and no I am not doing that thing you want me to do", then you are a colossal bitch.

(Also, having a supportive partner makes this so much more doable.)
May. 15th, 2015 10:12 am (UTC)
ooooh, I just realized that that would be a fun thing to do with my fractals! making fabric designs! Would you be willing to explain your process or give me a good phrase to google?
May. 15th, 2015 11:29 am (UTC)
Oh totally, I use http://spoonflower.com - upload and order, they're really great!
Jan. 15th, 2016 08:52 pm (UTC)
Re etsy & fabric: are you using spoonflower or some other printing method? [oh, i see, you said you do!] Do you worry about the new etsy rules around producing things? I'm pondering whether i need to get the place that prints my photographs etsy approved in order to sell the photographs on etsy.
Jan. 17th, 2016 03:25 am (UTC)
I sell my fabric in the "supplies" category, not handmade, so it's never been an issue.

I did get a "manufacturer" approved when I was getting help making zipper patches, etsy's approval process was a snap and they got approved right away. It's just a matter of being honest and transparent about your part in the process, that's the big thing.

I actually like the new rules. They're admitting that there's a spectrum of handmade... I don't have to grow the cotton in my backyard, spin my own threads and make my own fabric to make a zipper pouch.

I personally don't buy an item on etsy if it's just, say, a store-bought charm on a store-bought chain, even though etsy calls it "handmade". But requiring artists to tell their stories means I can make that call.
Jan. 18th, 2016 03:08 am (UTC)
Thanks -- i haven't started any real research into handicrafts, having only panned to sell in vintage. However, i don't think i can start selling the china cold, so i want to develop some reputation. Glad to hear it is a straightforward process.

( 13 comments — Leave a comment )

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