Sometime around the end of summer, when school and activities were officially in full swing, I found myself in my natural habitat of either the gymnastics or dance studio waiting room. While I was making small talk and scrolling on my phone, a fellow mom casually asked, “So, what have you been up to?” I proceeded to list out what had been going on with my work, as well as list out different activities my daughters were participating in and events from their social calendar. After her wide eyes reinforced my knowledge of exactly how much was on my plate, and while I know she meant no offense, she proceeded to then say, “But what do you ever do for fun?”. I had no response.
What do I do for fun? Or for just me? What parts of my personality are described by something other than my job or my kids? Nothing of note really came to mind other than a never-ending to-do list and I wasn’t especially proud to say, “Well, sometimes I put my Air Pods in while folding laundry and listen to books that I don’t have time to read.” That’s when I decided to make a list of the qualities or skills that I, officially not necessarily a “young adult” any longer, would like to have. What skills do I think of when I think of an “accomplished woman”?
I like to travel, but that’s tricky these days with young kids. I liked to paint while in college, but I haven’t picked up a brush in years. Plus, I thought, I should probably pick something that helps me be more active given that “working out” is not going to necessarily make the list of enjoyable activities. I knew pickleball had recently taken off as a fun social activity, but I was super unfamiliar with the sport and didn’t know anyone who wasn’t already plugged in and playing regularly.
Come to find out, after a few conversations with a couple working mom friends of mine, they had the same desire to do something for themselves — something healthy, fun and all their own! We were unsure about the pickleball craze, but all thought tennis sounded intriguing, so we decided to go in on a joint lesson and hold each other accountable. After a few lessons, we were hooked. So hooked, and proud, that we snapped a photo and posted to social media showing how accomplished we felt after our lesson. We had been social, we had elevated our heart rates, challenged our bodies, soaked up some vitamin D and fresh air, AND we were obtaining a new skill — we were doing something for ourselves which was something that the women we admired had seemed to have already mastered. A few direct messages later and I quickly discovered there were several more preschool-aged moms who wanted to join in on our journey to becoming tennis playing ladies. With that, our Tennis Moms group text began — full of mostly beginners, some of us with moderate skills and backgrounds, pairing up for lessons and casual game meetups, getting the exercise and the sense of community we were looking for.
As women, putting ourselves out there is hard; it’s not easy to make new friends or create community. As “grown-ups”, we sometimes feel like we should already be good at things if we’re going to allow anyone to see us doing them. But why should there be an age limit to being a “beginner”? Why should we spend all our time shuttling our children around to the different activities, all the while neglecting our own interests or passions?
I may still be considered a beginner tennis player, but after a few months of weekly lessons, I can say I truly enjoy the game and even went so far as to buy my own racket. So, if you’re looking for encouragement to get out there and start a new hobby, especially one to improve your health as we enter the New Year, take this as a sign. I am so proud of our group of Waco Tennis Moms, myself, and I’m proud of you too, mama!