Motherhood has a steep learning curve. Once you’ve mastered changing the diapers, mixing the formula and taking the onesie down from the shoulders after a blowout, the motherhood skill-set changes again. Your child grows into a toddler, so there’s walking, boundaries and discipline. Then it changes again!  It was in the space of change I took it upon myself to learn a new, non-motherhood related skill: Brush Lettering. I’m a creative person, so picking up a new creative skill for me made sense.

If you are not the creative type, there are still a plethora of things to learn in this world. So, learn something new! There are all kinds of lists discussing the things you learn in motherhood and those lists are important. Here’s my list of why it’s important to learn a non-motherhood related skill and how it can positively impact your parenting.  

Learning a new skill can daunt but you’ve been preparing for it since your child was born.  

You know what else is daunting? Pregnancy. Birthing. Waking up in the middle of the night to change a diaper and make a bottle or (as I learned this weekend) going shoe shopping with a toddler. Parenthood has prepared you to think critically on the fly.  When you’re learning something new, you work that muscle you have honed over the course of however old your child is. Now you can flex that mama-muscle intentionally and great things will happen.

It helps us cope with failure.

All the information we’ve received on parenting and few talks about our parenting fails. Do you remember your first blow-out? What about finding out which formula worked? Did you struggle with breastfeeding? Those are all very serious things but taking the time to learn something new means you’re a beginner. And you will get it wrong, or it will not be not quite right AND THAT’S OKAY! Learning how to fail and deal with setbacks is something that is difficult. When you’re learning something that’s new and interesting, you’re opening yourself up to new ways of learning and failing. Contrary to popular belief failure is a good thing.  

That learning time is a way for you to carve out that ‘me time’ to do whatever it is you want.

No expectations. No one else needing you. It’s just you time for you. And that’s something we ALL want. Picking up a new skill, learning a new hobby or even something simple as reading are all intentional acts. The time you will spend is unadulterated and uninterrupted you time. Mamas deserve that!

You will be more joyful.   

Finding joy in motherhood can be hard. I’m a full time working outside of the home parent. The commute, remembering making lunches, prepping the children, organizing all the things for day care, taking time to be with my husband and remembering to find matching socks for the whole family is overwhelming. But I can take a moment of see the joy in small things because I have been intentional about taking the time to myself to keep my intellectual, emotional and spiritual cup full.  

Those times where I can wake up at the god-awful hour before the sun comes up, and my house is quiet and I know I’m about to spend time with myself by myself doing something I enjoy. I reap those benefits until the next time I am up early enough to spend quality me time learning something new. Girl, you have time for that!

Lina Armstrong, MLIS is a Mama, Maker, Lover of Lettering, Wife, Quirky Black Woman, Children’s Librarian in Chicago. She’s a graduate of University of Illinois at Urbana-Champaign iSchool and has been a life long crafter. She’s been doing brush lettering and modern Calligraphy for two years (the same age as her daughter). She is the creator of all things MightE Made It.