Finnish parents spend an average of 5.17 hours on their children's extracurricular activities, according to a recent Yle-commissioned survey of over 1,000 Finns. The poll targeted parents who have children under the age of 18.
The five-hour average is typical for a family with two children with hobbies. According to the poll, the time devoted to driving, volunteering and/or coaching children's activities does not increase with the number of children, however, as parents of just one child devoted more time to their child's hobby.
Over 80 percent of the respondents said that most of the time they commit to their children's hobbies is spent on transportation.
One in ten said they also worked as a coach, teacher or assistant. Dads made up the majority of these kinds of volunteers.
Half of kids in Finland are active in sports clubs
Maria Ulvinen, a children's sports advisor to Finland's Olympic Committee, says parental encouragement is vital.
"Parents that are active and share in the joys and successes of their children and support them through the challenging moments always improve the children's self-motivation," she says.
The Taloustutkimus poll determined that parents of underage hockey players devote the most time (over 10 hours weekly) to their children's hobby, followed by floor hockey (7), track and field (6), and football, horseback riding and music lessons (5).
The activities that demanded the least parental time in the poll were dance and art classes (4 hours weekly) and scouting (3).
A new study of children and young people's leisure activities in 2018 from the Finnish Young Research Network states that 89 percent of underage residents have some kind of hobby while half are active in some kind of sports group.
Data from interviews with children and parents in the study suggested that regular physical exercise is associated with a higher than average feeling of satisfaction with one's health, appearance and life in general.
Every now and then an article or Twitter thread will pop up asking “What’s Your Dad’s Weird Hobby?” or “What Creepy Hobby Did Your Dad Have?” They’re all fun and games, sure, but it speaks to this notion that the world of hobbies for men is peculiar. In particular, the leisure activities men pursue as dads become, well, pretty strange or goofy. There’s truth to it after all: Who didn’t know a dad who lovingly obsessed over his yard, spent hours assembling model trains, or took on a decade-long quest to make the perfect smoked ribs?
So what happens? It’s not as though new wiring is formed in a dad’s brains that makes men this way. Much of it has to do with the fact that when time is short and money is tight, fathers tend to turn banal experiences into leisure activities. Despite how deeply strange hobbies for men may be, most are excellent for them — and their families.
When we use the word hobby, what we’re really talking about is leisure. In fact, there’s an entire sub-field of sociology dedicated to the study of leisure time and leisure activities. Hobbies are, after all, essential to who we are as individuals and the individuals we envision our children becoming.
“Hobbies are something that people gain knowledge, skill, and experience from by persevering and putting effort into them,” says Bob Stebbins, professor emeritus at the University of Calgary and author of After Work: The Search For an Optimal Leisure Lifestyle.
There’s a Greek term for this called eudemonism: the feeling of fulfillment or profound rewards for having successfully enacted a leisure activity. Those rewards can come in the form of personality development, and their outcomes can offer long lasting social recognition.
“For the individual, that person is a new person once they master, reasonably, the skill and knowledge base of that activity,” says Stebbins.
The Evolution of Dad Hobbies
When men become new fathers their leisure time and hobbies can become threatened. If leisure equals time plus money, then those numbers just aren’t adding up like they used to.
“Men who become fathers struggle and strive to maintain the things that they’re familiar with,” says Thomas Fletcher, senior lecturer at the School of Events Tourism and Hospitality Management at Leeds Beckett University and author of Negotiating Fatherhood: Sports and Family Practices.
Conversely, men aren’t ditching old hobbies for brand-new ones when they become fathers, but they are seeking out alternatives. Team sports are often too time-consuming and structured during valuable weekend afternoons. So dads that jettison their flag-football league might take up a more ad hoc athletic endeavor like tennis because it requires one opponent and you can schedule games at more convenient times.
Sometimes, dads take up interests that aren’t theirs to begin with.
“Men often disregard their own interests and throw themselves full hog into what the kids are doing,” Fletcher says. For some fathers, their kids are resurrecting their own athletic careers. Others might not necessarily live vicariously through their children, but they continue to maintain their interest in the hobby. They may turn to coaching as a way to scratch that itch. It depends from case to case, of course, but the patterns are there. It all depends.
Where the Weird Comes In
In the world of hobbies for men, enjoyment is in the eye of the doer. Stebbins offers some examples of seeing hobbies through different points of view. Stargazing or amateur archeology, for instance, is not a weird hobby but engaging in those activities in the dead of winter or the middle of summer is not for everyone. Neither is collecting bugs. However being an amateur entomologist might not be so bad because you’re out in the woods and the environment is pleasant.
“It might seem goofy because of the object (i.e. bugs) but more often it’s about the amount of effort or passion that goes into the activity and the way the hobby is done that makes it appear weird,” Stebbins says.
The more traditional weird or boring dad activities fall into what the experts refer to as “banal leisure activities.” These are the chores turned hobbies. Tending to the garden. Washing the car. Cooking dinner. They need to be done and that necessity often helps them evolve into true passions. A lot of dads, for instance, love lawn care. Mowing the front yard makes their day and upkeep of one’s home shows pride and increases value in an investment.
“It’s these little activities that become a hobby because they are so mundane,” Fletcher says. “They don’t require you to go anywhere, they don’t require anyone’s commitment but your own, and they are things you can do in the presence of your kids. In fact, you’re doing these activities whilst supporting your kids.”
Dads whose leisure time has been significantly decreased will be looking for any opportunity to reclaim some space —the garage for example — or to get some of that time back.
“There is certainly an element of escape,” Fletcher says. “There is also an element of resistance as well, that, ‘I’m entitled to my time.’ That can be healthy and it’s often stated inadvertently. We won’t scream or shout about it.”
The Generational Impact of a Good Hobby
The banal activities that dads do are, most of the time, productive things. They have a cultural value that’s not necessarily the same as playing sports or going to museums, but they instill positive values in our children. There’s generativity to them that these values are passed along. Kids, of course, are influenced by the things they observe their parents doing.
“To me, it’s important that your kids see you doing productive things and however you define productive is very subjective,” Fletcher says. “Ideally, I would like my kids to see me be physically active because it’s a good thing to do. That doesn’t necessarily mean playing sports, but it does mean not sitting on the sofa watching TV.”
Fathers work with what they have. They make the most out of the time or money that is left available to our individual interests, sometimes sacrificing them entirely in the name of providing the best life for their kids. Sure, a dad may feel some guilt when he pawns the kids off to explore his own unique endeavors, but it’s so necessary for everyone he does so.
“We can’t emphasize this enough: Parents need to be told that it’s all right to spend time away from their kids,” Fletcher says.
So these weird hobbies are a compromise, often built out of necessity. But they develop and foster strong values. Because even when fathers are doing something for themselves, it’s still for the good of the family.
The post Hobbies For Men: Why Dads Become Obsessed With Model Trains and Other Activities appeared first on Fatherly.
They said we could have it all, just not at the same time. They were wrong. Drunk Yoga is here to show us that, in this modern world, we can do a workout with a glass of wine in hand.
Launched in New York, the Original Drunk Yoga is popping up in Los Angeles for the first time for a run of seven classes on the roof of Hotel Erwin in Venice. Each session runs 90 minutes, split into three portions: Pre-class happy hour, 45 minutes of actual yoga, then a post-flow “wine down.” And don’t worry, the instructors design the class to be extra safe and chill, so a little wine shouldn’t make you unable to follow.
Technically speaking, calling it Drunk Yoga is a bit of a cheeky misnomer. You won’t really get drunk–most participants down around two glasses of wine over the course of the event–and any actual drunken or unsafe behavior is banned by the organizers. There is also a morning coffee-only yoga session, that has the same structure, but is totally booze-free.
The goal is to bring the vibe and camaraderie of a bar or party to the world of yoga. Many would-be yogis report intimidation at going to a studio for the first time, not knowing anybody in the room, and feeling uncomfortable and self-conscious. Founder Eli Walker realized that the time-honored social lubrication of sharing a beverage and chatting could ease some of those worries and bring more people into the fold.
While the classes are beginner-friendly, everyone from yoga-curious to super-advanced is welcome to join in. There’s even a Drunk Bro-ga option for any self-identified bros to be among their own kind–and yes, that one serves beer rather than wine.