Thursday, March 7, 2013

Mommy Boredom!

It has come to my attention that there is a pervasive issue in the Mommy community. Yesterday, I saw a post on "Code Name: Mama" that read like this:
A reader asks: HELP! I am just bored being with my kids sometimes. OK, at the moment, most of the time. What is wrong with me? Keep berating myself; I "should" be happy, loving doing unschooling stuff or God knows what. But actually I secretly want to scream. All. The. Time. And yet, when I am not with them, I miss the crap out of them. I feel stuck, and like an addict without the alcohol (because I feel like I crave distraction).

What do you do, readers, to get out of a rut?

(And as always, please be gentle - it's hard to be vulnerable and put yourself out there.)
I then used The Almighty Google Machine to check out whether or not this was a common sentiment among mothers. As it turns out, it's so ultra-common that the feelings of guilt and shame echo across hundreds of blog posts. As a mother, I have never felt this situation, but that isn't because I am a Better Mother Than Thou, but because I just have never felt bored, even for a minute, in my life. Maybe it's a neurological mishap, maybe I'm too much of a daydreamer, maybe I'm a psychotic thinker, whatever the case may be, I don't get bored. Sorry, boredom, hit the next guy. But, since I am no stranger to feeling unfulfilled and physically restless, I can give some suggestions for solving this issue. (Also, if you recall, I'm a homeschooler who has never had a babysitter other than immediate family members and my daughter's never even seen a daycare from the outside. - again I'm not saying you're wrong if you do these things, I don't judge and I don't feel superior to people who make different decisions from my own - my point is... my daughter and I are together 24/7).

Attempt #1: Browse the internet for a couple of hours when your kid's asleep (or your kids, plural, are asleep). Yes, that may mean giving your giant load of dishes the finger (or your laundry/meals/etc). Do this as a preliminary step, and the reason for this... figure out something you like. If you browse Volunteer Match, sometimes even seeing the subject matter can make you a passionate believer in the cause. Rape Crisis Center Advocate? Host an International Student? Save Journalism? - Or, if you can't leave your house for lack of babysitter: Volunteer Online! If you are too physically busy at home, read this! I'm guessing, however, that if you are too busy, boredom isn't your problem - but I digress. Give Facebook a rest for a while, and do something to help yourself (and maybe even Project Gutenburg, while you're at it).

Attempt #2: If you don't want to take your eyes off your kid for that long, talk with them about the kinds of crafts they may be interested in (if they're talking-age) - then while they're sleeping write up a proposal for a workshop/class/clinic and eventually present it to a community space owner (or someone who owns an art store/runs a YMCA/etc). Then, you can put your child in the class while you're teaching it! Or take them to the library and let them play, while you do it (or put on a movie for them and let them rot away for a little bit!). If you're not craftsy, put them in a baby swing at the park while you brainstorm ideas. If you can't do this, put the kid in a class and go hang out by yourself for a small increment of time. Like, just enough time to miss them, and have a little kid-free fun.

Attempt #3 [if you have Facebook]: Start a fan page for something you care about. I'm currently the creator of Young Thai Coconut, Even Hate Speech is Free Speech, Unconditional Parenting: Support Network, and a few others (including my jewelry Etsy page, Steel Crucible). If you're more into being a Vegan or a Crunchy Mama - join a forum! If you're a dissident (as I am), join a leafletting or protest group (either on FB or in real life) - and strap the kiddos into a stroller/leash thing if you're handing things out by a busy street.

Attempt #3 [if you DON'T have Facebook]: Make a blog. The theme of the blog could be "activities I do with my kids" and then do a bunch of quirky, creative, mind-bending activities. Others may feel bored and Google "activities for kids" or "vegetarian activities for kids" or "activities for kids with _________" see your blog and you could change their life. It's possible. You never know. If you don't have the internet at your house, take a bunch of pictures and make scrapbooks that your children can cherish later. And GET the internet! If you're resourceful enough to Homeschool or Unschool, you're resourceful enough to do something REALLY COOL that will gain recognition and be cherished by other likeminded people! ;)

Attempt #4: Start a Meetup group! If you don't have the $72 to start one on, use Craigslist! If you're a Wiccan, start a coven - If you're a Christian, start a Bible Study - If you're an atheist, start a Humanist group (or Marxist or Objectivist). - If you're anything, start anything. If you're nothing, become something! Your kids will thank you, in the long run.

Attempt #5: Find all the age-appropriate activities in the area - and DO them. Go to lectures, Q&A sessions, workshops, clinics, book signings, any event you can get your hands on. I live in a smallish town in Tennessee, and I can still fill my time with events. I grew up in Chicago so I have a good handle on how to find them, though it's not all that much of a head start if you're determined.

Attempt #6: If all of this fails, there are still hundreds of other activities you could incorporate into child-rearing. You only need a better attitude, some need for personal fulfillment (which you already have, since you're complaining of boredom), and the ability to drive a car, maybe.

Attempt #7: Read books. Lots of them. My daughter and I haunt the stacks almost every single day. We know most of the librarians, have a great rapport with several libraries, and also... we know a lot of shit. :) We both take learning and reading very seriously, and it gives me great personal fulfillment to be able to read right along with her, on subjects that are very near and dear to me.

Here are some other inspiring places you can go to get ideas:
Do one of a hundred activities!

I hope you can report that your life has become fuller as a result of this post!

1 comment:

  1. Thank you so much for sharing this post. Although I am not a mom yet, but these tips are really great and very practical. thank you for sharing the ways of finding fulfillment in our lives. I can identify with your thoughts- these tips and your thoughts helped me a lot in clearing some of my own jumbled up thoughts !! Keep up the good work !