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OMG. I'm boring! Boring! Boring!

January 3rd, 2017 at 04:31 am

Welp. It happened. It snuck up on me. Today I realized I am a boring parent. Geesh. No wonder my kids are bored! I'm bored out of my skull! How could I not be boring???

How did I get boring?

I've long had this feeling of malaise about motherhood. I love my kids more than anything, don't get me wrong, and I dutifully do homework, PTA, take them to and participate in enrichment/sports, read to them (lots), and occasionally take them on trips.

But, when we're wiling around the house most days, I'm bored out of my mind. I feel confined to the house because they aren't old enough to be home alone.

It's kind of this terrible sensation of
1. feeling like life 'out there' is passing me by, and
2. Wanting to be part of it,but taking the kids places is such drama. They complain, they never want to do the same thing, they want to leave the minute we get there. etc.

Anyway. Long story short. I either don't go places, or I go without them and leave them home with hubby. (We take turns.)

I'm writing this assuming I am not the only mom who has felt like this or been through it. But also because something changed in me today.

It's like something clicked. I don't know if it's permanent, but it's something. Before I talk about the click, let me back up.

I've been thinking a lot lately about how children learn skills and learn how to be grown ups, and I keep coming back to the idea of the apprenticeship. Kids learn about being grown up by watching grown ups around them. Watching us build, fix, work garden, socialize with our friends. etc.

And then I think.Huh.They're learning to be bored by watching me be bored. They're learning to stay home because children as a hassle. What a crappy life lesson.

I also think a lot about what kind of experiences I'd like them to be exposed to, and what kind of things I'd like to show them in the world. And I think well, someday, I'll.... Then it doesn't come because, you know, they complain a lot and are hard to manage when we're out. It's HARD to take them into the world. So we don't go out into it.

Okay. Back to the click. We've been out of school since Dec. 20. OMG. That is so long. We're out of the 'usual' kid stuff we always do. We've had playdates at our house, and they're bored of that. We've done everything we 'usually' do: Christmas, trampoline park, Chuck E Cheese, eating out, etc.

So, this morning, I called up another mom in the same predicament and declared we were all going roller skating. I'm tired of the same old, I like roller skating, the boys have never done it, so let's do it.

I didn't tell my boys what we were doing until we were in the parking lot, because I knew they'd complain. And of course, all they did was whine when we got there. Then I flat out said. "No whining. All I ask is you have an open mind and try it, and if you don't like it, we won't come back again." They agreed ( I was surprised).

So... Background. I played roller derby. I can run, jump, and karate kick on skates, and I love it. It's my fav thing. But I haven't gone for 5 years, because the kids would never go.

We're at the place. We've all got skates on, and within 10 minutes it was a disaster. The boys kept falling. They couldn't seem to put my lessons into action. They were mad, and sat on the sidelines, huffing about wanting to go home. I felt terrible. I felt that feeling of "Why did I bother? Why did I waste the money? Why can't I ever do anything fun?" That I often have when the boys fall apart at some activity.

Then the click. I told them "Fine. Stay right here and I'm going to skate around for a bit."

So they stayed. They pouted. And pouted. Then something happened. The oldest stopped pouting and tried again. And again. Without my intervention. And after a few more rounds he almost got it. He was so close. Sure, the youngest laid down in protest and refused to talk/walk/skate/laugh, but hey, you can't win them all. At least he stayed put and didn't wander off. Apparently, I just have to put wheels on their feet to keep them still. That's a win.

After I skated for a while, I gave the youngest $5 worth of tokens for the arcade and he went off. And I skated some more. Enough to work up a tiny bit of sweat. And, while I could have skated all day, at that point 30-45 minutes was a coup.

After we were in the car, the oldest meekly said he'd be willing to go with me and try it again. Hazzah! Success!

Pardon the long rant. I bring it up because I think the boredom of my daily life is killing me, and I'm sure a lot of people feel the same.

I've always been an on-the-go cultural/experience/travel kind of girl, and that died when I had kids. I've been trying for a long time to figure out how to add it back in with children, and my answer to always go without them is limiting for both me (timewise) and them (missing out on cultural things).

As part of my new year, I'm determined to turn it around for us. I must remind my children to keep an open mind, and I must remind myself the price of staying home because they get a little complainy when going out, is missing out and being bored.

I'm declaring it. No more boring mom. No more boring kids. It's time for some culture, darn it. And it's time to kiss the comfort zone goodbye.

On that note. I'm taking one or both children to free day at the art museum this Sunday. And, I signed the oldest up for his first ski lesson and ski day. (He's 8. It's cub scout day, so deep discount.) He's nervous, but he'll be a natural. I know it.

I've declared it. Death to boredom!

(UPDATE: I forgot to tell you we're also FOOD boring. My oldest is soo picky, we pretty much have to eat burgers every time we eat out, And I'm not much of a Betty Crocker, so I have a limited menu of items I make at home. So yes. Earlier this week, my youngest declared we were going to Indian for lunch (yay!). My biggest had a fit, but we went anyway. He ate white rice and a mango lassi. I tried not to 'nag' him about food, but still. It's disappointing. He's missing out on so much good food. But no more burgers! Death to food boredom!)

18 Responses to “OMG. I'm boring! Boring! Boring!”

  1. Kiki Says:

    Do you have a regular babysitter you can use to get away occassionally for you? I had a family i sat for in high school and college where sometimes the mom just wanted a coffee alone. Seriously. She got a coffee and sometimes I would see her sitting in her car across the street reading a book. She just wanted an hour to herself. Also as a babysitter I brought a different perspective to the kids and hanging out with me was not boring.

  2. creditcardfree Says:

    Good for you! I have a teen that doesn't want to go anywhere right now. Although she IS super bogged down with homework for two AP classes. We made her go to a college bowl game on Friday and she didn't complain at all. She only liked watching the marching bands (her sister was in one). But the experience is something she knows about now.

    I'm going to guess it will get better the more you get out and keep trying new things!

  3. Trying to get ahead Says:

    I totally feel your situation. I call that time period of my life when my sons were young 'the lost decade'. As your kids get older, life slowly gets back to where you want it to be. Happy new year!

  4. pjmama Says:

    I think that's a great approach - and an inspiration. I'm nervous to have kids partially because I see so many parents lose themselves in their families and raising their kids. It's always encouraging to see people finding the balance!

  5. ThriftoRama Says:

    Well PJ. My oldest will be nine soon. Trying to Get Ahead isn't wrong when she says it's a lost decade. Babies need soooo much, parents lose themselves because they're in survival mode. There's really no way to prepare for that.

  6. ThriftoRama Says:

    And Kiki. I have plenty of time out to myself. I'm at the point where I'm tired of my kids missing out on life, and I'm tired of being bored when I'm with them. I must break the cycle!

  7. ceejay74 Says:

    Love it! I was uber boring mom this vacation. (Partly because I had to do work most of my days off, and partly just laziness.) I'm OK about taking them to things once in a while but eating out is usually pizza because otherwise I spend the meal hassling them to take bites. You've inspired me to take a harder look at whether I'm giving them enough new experiences. (Of course it'll be easier when we eliminate naps for the younger one, which is coming soon.)

  8. Carol Says:

    I think your new approach is great. The more you take them out, the more they learn how to be out in the world-- and enjoy it. The same goes for new food. Try one bite and that's it for this time. Do they say it takes 28 exposures for a kid to get used to something new? ( if picky)
    When I was young, I learned a lot from a friend's mother. All those activities listed in the newspaper-- you can do them too.

  9. livingalmostlarge Says:

    As a SAHM I've always called my job nanny. I treat my kids the way I would want a nanny to treat my kids. To do all enriching things and have all these expectations. So I don't cook and clean like most SAHM I know. So my house is probably dirtier and messier than most. My clothes tend to sit in the laundry basket and I tend to rarely be home. I was great before about going to library about 3-4x/week for storytimes or bookstores and I have memberships usually everywhere so we can hit the zoo, science museum, aquarium, children's museums and indoor playspaces. Since we've moved I've been worse about it. But it's okay.

    Something I realized happens? That if you don't make the effort to go out it's a lot easier to stay at home and let the kids play and watch tv. All summer I don't let the kids watch tv because we go hiking, swimming, just the whole day at the zoo. I don't have kids that sleep well so that contributed. But there are tons of free activites you just have to look for them. Many working and SAHM say I have to do laundry, dishes, dinner, clean the house, grocery shop, etc. I get it. But at the same time I wonder if it's not contributing to childhood obesity because we let our kids watch a lot of tv?

    For me though it's not being bored with the kids. I feel like I've lost myself and I've been consumed with being mom. I am always doing stuff for them. And only recently as in right now do I have something for me. They always take precendence. Whether you work or not that's how parenting feels. Oh they have a sports activity or playdate or party, etc. But I just started working and I'm getting myself back into trying to work part-time and I'm putting it ahead of the kids in someways. Now my DH has to step up and help me more. I always am feeling like I'm doing it for me. So I don't feel so consumed with being mom. I remember who LAL is. I love my kids but I do worry that when my youngest goes to kindergarten I will have all day to clean the house, shop, cook stuff I hate. But truth is I want to do something for me and I am trying to find it now.

    I even traded babysitting so I can start working nights without inconvenening my DH too much. Sigh.

  10. fern Says:

    I think this is a really great realization. I can understand why you responded the way you have in the past, but maybe if you could just be more sure of yourself, and your decisions, and not let their initial whining or complaints cause you to give up on introducing them to new experiences.

    Becus it seems that when you decided to go back to skating, it caused your older boy to see how much fun it could be, spurring him to get up and try again. So you may have more leverage than you think!

    When they whine and complain and act disinterested, it just means that in their very young years, they don't realize what this new thing called skating (or something else) is all about, and it's up to mom to show them how great it is, which you did.

    I agree, the solution is not to just leave them at home. Exposing them to many new life experiences can only benefit them.

  11. My English Castle Says:

    My now 14-year-old has gone through phases where she wouldn't go anywhere or try anything new. But I try to take her everywhere--even if I have to bribe her with ice cream or Starbucks. Or I invite her friends to come with us. I can't say it's a constant joy, but I think we're kind of boring parents. In the summer, I give DD a bucket with day trips--local beaches, museums, farms, etc and she gets to plan the day. That helps--sometimes. Good luck!

  12. s nafu Says:

    I'm from a different generation with different experiences. DBs and I were always tasked with looking after gran and she liked to try new experiences. Until I had kids, I never realized that 'looking after gran,' was our family's way of introducing us to new, age appropriate experiences. Gran didn't drive so we kids had to work out how to take public transportation and get us back home. I still, vividly remember taking gran to the circus. It was a huge treat. Fast forward multi year...when my mom visited, our sons worked weeks to figure out how to entertain her. I was only tasked to drive and pick up mostly because it gets dark so early.

    I wonder if your children can express interest in any specific activities. Possibly starting with sports. I know there will be a total eclipse next August 17th, is there a program planned in your community? I would visit the library for books/maps of the sky for them to replicate to get familiar with a phenomenon. Do you do bike rides or nature walks? If you like cultural experiences, Chinese New Years January 28th. What events does your Asian community host? Lion dance? beautiful costumes? They call it Year of the Rooster. Will your children eat chicken tenders? Zipper skin oranges? Clementines? tapioca? ...just a thought

  13. Dido Says:

    Fantastic liberating approach and congrats on your success and keep it up. One of the most important life lessons I have ever learned is not to treat feelings as causes of behavior. Feelings are the RESULT of behavior and can be useful information, but we do things not because we want to do them but because they need to be done. Being bored is good for your kids: it's the only experience that will foster their independent initiative to find and create things to do for themselves. We have become such a stimulus-driven society that we are stealing kids own initiative because they expect to be entertained all the time rather than learning to entertain themselves. So you go, girl!'

  14. Dido Says:

    http://www.metrokids.com/MetroKids/July-2013/Bored-Kids-Good/#.WGw8tFpNYPw.email

  15. alice4now Says:

    Great post, and inspirational to me. My kids are in a "don't want to do anything" stage, and they used to love doing stuff. Thanks for the reminder to "push through" the initial resistance and give fun a whirl!

  16. Bluebird Says:

    Thrift, first I have to say I was totally floored that you're a roller derby expert! That is so cool! I can relate to where you are, my boys are 9 and 11, and it's only recently gotten easier to take them to different activities. The other obstacle is that Sunday is the only day I can take them to do things, and it's the only day I can be home all day and we can sleep in. Every other day is sports, lessons, I work full time, it's exhausting. But I agree that I need to make an effort and do more when we can. Thanks for the post, as I'm committed to doing more with the boys, too!

  17. ceejay74 Says:

    This'll crack you up. So my 4-year-old was super grouchy one evening and I needed to get more steps in, so I suggested we dance to some Youtube videos. They took turns choosing stuff (mostly Disney and Kidz Bop) and we ended up dancing for about half an hour. I felt all proud I wasn't being lazy boring Mom for once. Then my 6-year-old had a meltdown at bedtime because she'd "barely gotten to play at ALL." Whereas if I'd been boring and ignored her, she probably wouldn't have said that. LOL. Oh well, I know she loved it at the time and I'm glad I did it.

  18. VS_ozgirl Says:

    I loved reading your post! It's true that we can get ourselves into a rut because others around us don't want to do stuff and it's easier to just stay home to be accommodating. But it is a crappy lesson to others that if they don't want to do anything they can stay home and be inactive, it just takes a long time to realise this. Good on you and happy you had a great result!

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