Whatever it is, baking, cleaning, schooling, quilting, blogging, napping...
I don't know how to answer this question as I really don't find it hard to find the time to do any of those things. Then, the other day, as I sat pondering this question, a revelation came to me. If you are like the majority of SAHMs in America, at least part of your day most days looks something like this:
Even as homeschoolers, there is the joke, "Why is it called homeschooling if we're always in the car?"
For those of you who may not know, I don't drive. I don't even have a driver's license. Why not is a long story but it was my own choice and it doesn't bother me at all.
So you know what that means....I am actually home with my kids all day. We don't spend hours every day driving here, there, and everywhere. We spend time together at home, working and playing. Tony has Wednesdays off so on those days we go places, all of us together, to museums or parks or the zoo or whatever. Sometimes we do our shopping on those days, sometimes on Saturdays. We do it all together, as a family.
Other than that, we only go places if they are within walking distance. We have a park one mile north, a QuikTrip and a pizza place two blocks east, and most importantly, the library one block west.
I think as homeschoolers too often we get caught up in thinking we need to take our kids to this place and that place in the name of socialization. I think this way of thinking is wrong. One of the reasons many of us homeschool is to avoid having to rush and be pressured to do certain things at certain times -- so why do we feel the need to rush our kids from one playdate or co-op class to the next? Also, while getting out into the wider world is great and necessary, getting to know the people who are actually around you in your everyday life and community are just as important, if not more so.
What good does it do if your kids can do community service at the center across town but they don't even know any of their own neighbors' names?
What good does it do them read a map at the zoo if they can't even find their way around their own neighborhood?
I'm not saying you should never get your kids out of the house, please don't think I am! But kids, as well as moms, need downtime. Time at home to kick back and relax and be yourself. Time to devote energy and resources into yourself and your own family.
As for socialization and the need to be constantly involved in one group activity after another, I'd like to share something. All three of my kids have been exposed to the same amount of playdates and outings and group field trips. They have lived the same life with the same parents in the same house and the same neighborhood. They have had equal shares of "socialization." But my oldest would still rather be alone with a good book, my middle child would rather be at the center of everything, and my youngest swings back and forth depending on the day.
Carting your kids here, there, and everywhere is not guaranteed to make them better "socialized." Their personality plays the main part in whether or not they are social (talkative, outgoing) or anti-social (shy, introverted). They are who they are. Of course kids enjoy being with other kids sometimes but not all the time.
If you fear that your kids will somehow not know how to act in public just because they're not out and about every single day, don't. Here's a secret: if a child knows how to act at home, then he knows how to act in public. Don't you use manners at home? Don't you share? Don't you take turns? Don't you use your nice words? Plus, kids get sick of going, going, going all the time. A once-a-week outing is much more special than just another day in the car!
If you find yourself not having time to do those things you miss, like cooking or crafting or reading or even just napping, my advice: Stay at HOME, Mom! I see people posting all the time about how nice it is to have a day when they don't have to go anywhere. Why not make MOST days like that?
The home is the first and most effective place to learn the lessons of life: truth, honor, virtue, self control, the value of education, honest work, and the purpose and privilege of life. Nothing can take the place of home in rearing and teaching children, and no other success can compensate for failure in the home. - David O. McKay
“…children should view the home as not simply the place where they eat and sleep, but where they are taught and shaped. They should view home as the center of their world. They should see it as their primary culture - and always view the larger culture in the light of what they have learned at home.” - Douglas Wilson
“Research clearly verifies that the more people there are around your children, the less opportunity they have for the meaningful social contact ... Psychologists have found, as many parents know instinctively, that peaceful solitude is necessary for mental health and that the less cluttered your children's routine, the more secure they will be.” - Dr Raymond Moore, Home Style Teaching (1984)
“Keep children as much as possible by themselves ... keep them from company, good or bad. ... It will be generally found that the most virtuous and the most intellectual, are those who have been brought up with few companions. ... in fact his mental resources may be considered entirely unknown and unexplored, who cannot spend his best and happiest hours alone.” - Jacob Abbott (1850)