Get Me Some Hobbies
June 9, 2014 8:12 PM   Subscribe

As per the title, but with a lot of restrictions: I have a 4mo baby so I can only leave the house for about an hour before she needs to nap again. The baby also has us down to one income so the hobby must be cheap. The baby is also unpredictable with naps, so anything that requires long intensive periods of concentration won't work. I have to be able to drop whatever I am doing with no notice. I also have a very chewy puppy, so I can't lay things out on the floor (or even on the table, really) or she will eat them. I am not keen to go outside while she sleeps as I can't hear her crying. What can I do with my time?

I am already doing yoga and walking and my house is a fair bit cleaner. The latter is fairly banal though. I am a reader, but I'm finding it hard to immerse myself in something enough to really get into it. So what can I do with my limited time that will give me some sense of achievement? What did you do, if you were in my situation at some point? I am really open to a range of possibilities. Note: I am in Australia; it is Winter.
posted by jojobobo to Sports, Hobbies, & Recreation (17 answers total) 9 users marked this as a favorite
I think the classic thing to do in this situation is knitting.
posted by empath at 8:23 PM on June 9, 2014 [6 favorites]

Put her in a carrier, go for walks, possibly with a camera to do photography, or binoculars to do birdwatching. This worked very well for me since baby can feed, nap & have fun in the carrier.
Knit (yarn can stay in a bowl in the table).
posted by The Toad at 8:25 PM on June 9, 2014 [2 favorites]

edit wikipedia articles
zentangles or other types of drawing
learn a new language with Duolingo (the lessons are *very* short)
posted by belladonna at 8:36 PM on June 9, 2014 [1 favorite]

Blogging! On any topic that interrsts you, not necessarily mommy blog stuff.

I did some machine quilting the first year of my daughter's life. Any kind of simple straightline sewing would work well.

Podcasts. Embroidery. Sudoku. Crosswords. Words With Friends. I even managed to get in some pc gaming but that might have been a bit later when naps were more consistent.
posted by peanut_mcgillicuty at 8:38 PM on June 9, 2014

I used to love fiddling with the plants and fish in my aquariums. Odds are you can get a used aquarium cheap or even free. Maybe even one with fish in it! Rocks and wood can be found anywhere, and a naturally landscaped tank is really beautiful, and soothing to look at and poke around in. You can invest a lot of time in an aquarium, but you can always drop what you're doing. It'll wait for you.
posted by hairy terrarium at 8:42 PM on June 9, 2014

I think most people blog about being moms. ;)

Right now, from the perspective of a working mom of a 3-year-old, I suggest you lay on the floor and enjoy the quiet. Heh.

It's a tough time -- hard to focus, tied to the house/baby, often sleep-deprived. Are you getting a nap during the day?

Knitting and crocheting is a pretty good activity -- have a Rubbermaid that you can just stick your knitting or project in when you need to put it down to keep it safe from dog (and eventually baby).

You could listen to a language instructional and then use your foreign language on the kid. :) Learn baby sign language and baby massage techniques.

This is a tough one given all your parameters. Pretty soon, baby should be rolling then crawling and taking longer naps and going longer between feeds. It's a short period of time for a new hobby.
posted by amanda at 8:45 PM on June 9, 2014

Best answer: Yes, crochet!

I love knitting and crochet, but crochet is far more forgiving. If you make a mistake -- or if the dog grabs hold of the yarn and pulls -- you can simply unravel back to the affected area and redo it.

Start by buying a crochet hook and some cheap acrylic from Lincraft or Spotlight. With an 8ply yarn you probably want around a 5mm hook. The cost will be well under $10. As you progress, you can move on to better yarns, although the very nicest yarns are generally found online. Bendigo Woollen Mills is an excellent place to buy good-quality Australian wool at good prices, and there's a number of online yarn stores that import gorgeous skeins from around the world.

Join Ravelry for access to thousands of free patterns.

You have an excellent target for crochet items in your home: a baby! You can easily crochet a baby hat in a day, which should give you the sense of achievement you're looking for. Other things that are quick to make include baby jackets and socks. Baby blankets will take longer, but they're good for mindless busywork in front of the tv or sitting in a doctor's office as they're usually just back and forth.

Feel free to memail me if you have any questions.
posted by Georgina at 8:50 PM on June 9, 2014 [5 favorites]

Start building a dollhouse. Here is the one I made.
Make no mistake. It takes some time. This is a full year project. The outcome is having built something beautiful that your child will be able to play with for years to come, and is also a newly created family heirloom. Also think-it's going to have a final cost of $500.00.

Read. Read a book about dog training. Learn a new language. Indoor Plants. Devote that hour to NetFlix.
posted by QueerAngel28 at 8:59 PM on June 9, 2014 [1 favorite]

Best answer: Make flashcards, then use them to learn the the locations and capitals of all the world's countries.
posted by Herr Zebrurka at 9:15 PM on June 9, 2014 [1 favorite]

Best answer: Arduino/DIY electronics programming! Make her a light up interactive toy! Break gender norms!
posted by miyabo at 9:37 PM on June 9, 2014 [5 favorites]

Put together puzzles. Scrapbook, but creatively, with actual scraps. Digital scrapbooking is also a thing; people either make websites, or arrange all their pieces on a page and print it out. Sew sock creatures out of lone socks, or make weird rag dolls out of old clothes. Rock balancing/cairn building. Carve erasers into stamps. Teach yourself Photoshop (or open source equivalent.) If you get good at crocheting baby hats, many hospitals need preemie hats donated, and crochet is pretty easy. Get one of those "100 Crafts for Kids" book from the library, ideally one that mostly uses household items or recycling, and try out the crafts (for later use, or for a blog.)
posted by blnkfrnk at 9:56 PM on June 9, 2014 [1 favorite]

Best answer: Hand patchwork. Requires nothing more than scraps of fabric so cheap, and if you do English Piecing, it's very calming and portable. You could do a quilt over time from your baby's outgrown or damaged clothes, and you'll have something beautiful and meaningful.
posted by viggorlijah at 11:04 PM on June 9, 2014 [3 favorites]

If you are in Melbourne, and would like to learn to knit (or crochet, but I'm much better at knitting), memail me and I can travel to you and teach you.
posted by third word on a random page at 5:05 AM on June 10, 2014 [1 favorite]

Not sure if you're looking exclusively for solo activities? If not, I suggest joining one or more local "Mommy and Me" groups/classes and then scheduling "playdates" with other mothers. These things exist for the sanity of the parents, not the entertainment of the babies. :)
posted by Jacqueline at 8:06 AM on June 10, 2014 [2 favorites]

Learn to sing with audio lessons. Practice different voices like you are a voice over artist.
posted by WeekendJen at 11:04 AM on June 10, 2014 [1 favorite]

painting! with non toxic paints. there are free online painting tutorials. Just spend $10 for some basic supplies to see if you like it
posted by puertosurf at 11:11 AM on June 10, 2014 [1 favorite]

Family history/genealogy! Many, many materials are searchable online and you can keep all your information online as well. usually offers a free two-week trial; if you don't like it you don't have to join.
posted by That's Numberwang! at 9:51 PM on June 10, 2014

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