What am I missing about this stay-at-home gig?

OK, here’s the big, bad, taboo truth:  Sometimes being a stay-at-home mom bores me to tears.  Boring with a capital B.  Not all the time, not every day… it comes and goes.  But when it comes, it’s mind-numbing.  I know that’s probably incredibly insulting to other stay-at-home moms and an affront to working moms who would like a chance to slow down….but sorry, it’s just the truth for me right now in this season of motherhood.

This sounds silly, but I spend a lot of time thinking, “What is it that makes other moms so dang busy?”  I mean, obviously, if you have more than one child, things get busier.  And it depends on the child’s age.  Evelyne is 19 months now.  Sometimes she’s really clingy and whiney, but I would say in general she plays really well by herself and can be entertained for long periods of time in her own imagination.  Of course I interact with her and read her books and sing songs and act silly, but she doesn’t really need me sitting on the floor trying to play with her.  She doesn’t seem to care, and I certainly don’t have a desire to spend any length of time playing baby dolls.  (not to mention she’s so young that she doesn’t do anything with them other than carry them around and pretend to give them a bottle)  So what do I do?

Don’t get me wrong, I would say that I’m a pretty attentive mother in that when she needs me, I’m there.  If she wants me to pick her up, I pick her up.  If she wants me to rock her baby, I rock her baby.  If she wants me to read a book, I read a book.  There’s just a lot of the time that she doesn’t really care what I do, as long as I’m in the same room with her.  Soooo, other than cooking meals, keeping her entertained, putting her to sleep, cleaning, etc… What am I supposed to be doing?  (of course there could always be more cleaning thrown in there, but honestly how much more time is that going to take-up, and that doesn’t really solve my problem since I hate cleaning.)

Obviously, I blog and read and do other things online.  I read books.  I watch tv.  I meet-up with friends, although not as much as I would like, and that’s about to drastically change in about a week when I move and don’t even have friends anymore.  I try to take her to the sprinkler park about once a week or so since I refuse to go to the regular park in this heat….well, I just hate getting out in it at all, so walks outside and random little outdoors jaunts are OUT until we move to a cooler climate.  I feel like I’m engaging my brain in worthwhile endeavors, I’m being challenged mentally and spiritually by what I’m reading and my relationships, and I’m growing.  In a lot of ways I feel blessed that I’m afforded so much time to study and read anything I want to, part of that is heaven for me.  And most days I’m great with it.  But then come the times when I have a long afternoon stretched ahead of me, the tv is giving me a headache, Evelyne’s playing quietly by herself, it’s 100 degrees outside, I’m bored with reading anything on the Internet, I don’t have a book to read…. what am I missing here?  Am I supposed to just sit on the couch and watch her play?

As you can tell, I’m not very self-motivated, and I’m definitely NOT a type A person that is always busy with something and gets stressed-out if everything isn’t perfect.  In fact, I’m completely comfortable amidst chaos.  I’m not one of those people that beebops around looking for things to do and keeps busy by wiping every speck of dust off the floor.  No thank you.

So, if you’re a stay-at-home mom and not a cleaning fanatic and you don’t have a ton of kids, what do you do all day?  And yes, I realize that this is a short season in my life that is about to get crazier once this new baby gets here.  And I LOVE being a stay-at-home mom.  I didn’t have any kind of fulfilling career before having Evelyne, so there’s no part of me that desires to go out and find a job, and I’m completely aware of what a blessing it is to be able to stay home.  Please don’t understand me to be unappreciative.  Every job has it perks and its downfalls, and this is one of mine.  So what am I missing?  Is it like this for everyone or is there some mothering activity that I haven’t caught onto yet?

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17 responses to “What am I missing about this stay-at-home gig?

  1. So I was a stay at home mom for the first 18 months of my son’s life and I totally agree with you. I went stir crazy….Ethan was not a clingy, needy baby so he would often entertain himself and I would get BORED. I heard of SAHM’s who would sew and be crafty and scrapbook and that was so not me, I wanted to be that person but that also required money that we didn’t have much of. The only thing that I would recommend is getting in a group like MOPS…not necessarily that one but we would have multiple playdates because your child could get that interaction with other children and you could talk to other Mothers. Other than that I have nothing….I am probably my happiest now. Both kids are school age now and I work 30 hrs a week. That means I get off when they get out of school so I get to work and be with my kids. 🙂

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  2. Try something new… I was a stay at home mom for a little while and it drove me insane. I don’t like to bake especially, but I found a recipe for home made bread that is so easy and yummy (and much cheaper than buying it in the store) I had never made bread before, so it took a few times to get it right, but I have really come to enjoy doing it. I’m not saying go bake a loaf of bread, but try something that you have never done before, if you like it get good at it and share it with someone else. Every time I make bread I make a few extra loaves to share with friends and family.

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  3. I just had my second and with the first there definitely reached a point where I just found myself scrapbooking a lot! (Got mostly caught up til my second came along!) Now that the second one is here it has definitely gotten busier with the frequent feedings again so I don’t have much time for hobbies such as internet surfing or scrapping. But I hope to be able to do more of that as she gets settled into our family. Other than that, I look for ways to improve our family… I’ve look for healthier recipes to try out, TRY to work out a little, I am big on couponing/saving money b/c my husband is a pastor so money is super-tight so that takes up a chunk of time, I work on little projects around our old house, and find ways to serve not only our church but our community/world. As I mentioned earlier- the community garden is my newest project but I’m also in the midst of qualifying for the International Breastmilk Project where I will be pumping here and there during the day to donate my milk to preemies in the US and needy babies in Africa. I also try to be in contact with a lot of our teens during the week (hubby is a youth pastor). So maybe find something that you’re passionate about?? It is hard. It’s been over 2 years since I quit my job and there have for sure been days where I’m like- what do I do now? But it’s getting better now and I feel more productive.

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  4. PS- I also take my old career and use it as a hobby to help friends. I was a wedding designer so I do friends’ weddings here and there- just had one this past weekend! Helps me to still get my creative juices flowing and I’m helping someone (I give them everything at cost).

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  5. I’d be inclined to say that this is the calm before the storm. Enjoy the silence, the idle hours, the freedom to read and write and think for yourself before little needy voices start to invade every minute of your day. Things change swiftly. Right about now, I’m pining for those “boring” days:) In the meantime, how about some yoga? Just a thought.

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  6. Well, you kno I’m no mom, but my own dear mother always said it helps to have something you know how to do with your hands. So, when I have a spare minute I hope to learn how to knit/crochet or sew–now that you are going to colder climates that could be really fun! Some people I know crochet baby hats and take them to the hospitals–so cute! Maybe you could try cleaning/organizing–you might like it once it’s done and it could spark a place for more creative activities. Maybe not? You’ll have PLENTY to do in a couple of weeks–the whole setting up a new house, meeting tons of future friends, exploring an awesome new city and oh, the whole 2nd baby thing!

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  7. I learned how to refinish furniture this past year and I. LOVE. IT.

    All that being said, I’m starting back to work on Monday after 3.5 years at home. Nervous? Yep.

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  8. It gets better the older they are! She’ll be in elementary school before you know it and you’ll be driving her to dance and piano and soccer and don’t even get me started on slumber parties! Then you will be longing for some down time when she was little and you could just watch her play so sweetly and innocently. Treasure it Emily. Eat her up! She will be ten and then sixteen and then off to college. (I remember when we were sixteen and we were so funny. I remember one time when you and Sarah were at my house and I don’t know how but we figured out that we had the exact same bra and we wished we had Sarah’s. Funny what we remember!) My hubby is coming home from Seattle tonight! Are you there yet?

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  9. I have four kids and sometimes I want to go postal. Lots of kids does not mental stimulation make.

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  10. One of the things that helped me keep my sanity was my son’s “play group.” All the moms stayed, so the kids had fun playing and the moms had some adult time. She’s probably at about the right age to start with something like that.

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  11. i think a little boredom is just part of the deal. it probably has more to do with what kind of person you are. i’m with you as far as not being the type to fill my day with a million cleaning/re-organizing projects, scrapbooking, hobbies, etc. unfortunately, sometimes it takes a special effort to fight the boredom by investing in things around us – namely, the home. when i start to get bored, i usually realize that there’s about 50 things i could do around the house. maybe you should just enjoy it though, because i doubt you’ll be blogging about boredom when #2 comes along!!

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  12. I’m a single working mom, so I’m not in the same boat… but sometimes on the weekends, when I have tons of stuff that I should be doing, I find myself bored and completely unmotivated. My daughter is almost two and pretty independent. I sometimes dread the weekends (the ones where I don’t have plans) because I know I’ll mope around the house. And yet, I wish I could be a stay at home mom. I don’t know how that would work out for me.

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  13. When it was just me and one kiddo… we spent a ton of time walking the mall… it’s cool in there, little one is happy riding in the stroller or sling. As she got older, I’d throw in an ice cream stop during our stroll. It was great exercise for me and I met a lot of other Moms while nursing in the lounge at Nordstrom. We also spent a lot of time in Mommy and Me class, Swim class and with MoMs Club.

    I also started scrapbooking and trying out numerous other projects, which I LOVE… but get so busy they never get finished.

    We sometimes would go outside or in the garage and I would let them paint with their hands and feet… I just put large pieces of paper down and smeared paint on plates… they could walk through the paint and onto the paper. Once it dried (assuming it survived without too much damage), we would use it for wrapping paper or to make cards.

    If you don’t mind the mess, let her help make homemade playdough or bubbles. If you have a garage, you can set up a plastic swimming pool (the small hard side kind) in there, fill it with homemade bubble solutions and let her make bubbles all over. You’ll be sure to get some good giggles out of it as well.

    We also did a lot of cookies… either make sugar dough or get the rolls at the supermarket… roll it out and let her go to town cutting the shapes and dumping tons of sugar sprinkles all over the place.

    Then give her a kid size broom and dust pan to help clean up. 🙂

    I love being a Mom, but there are days when I go crazy. It’s normal and it doesn’t mean we don’t appreciate being with our kids.

    Cheers!
    Jamie

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  14. i remember feeling like that when bethie was little- enjoy the quiet days. the days will get crazier. not exactly a bunch of mentally stimulating days- but more multi-tasking. mom friends make a huge difference. since starting to homeschool the kiddos, i’ve been at a different place than most of my mom-friends. but definately busy, and sometimes lonely. church makes another big difference. helping out there has been a way to meet people, serve the Lord (whether i’m doing homeless ministry, or children’s stuff) and just connect with other faces during the day. enjoy the stay at home season- it isn’t long. love you and praying for you.

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  15. When I had one kid and i was preggo we did lots of parks and picnics. I wanted to walk to get my daughter tired so we could go home and nap together. well at the same time, not together, lol! We took buckets and shovels and i didnt have to entertain her but we got fresh air and sun and had good days. It always made the day go by quicker and i felt like we got out and did something.
    Now with 2 kids the only time i get alone time is when they sleep, like now!
    -h

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  16. Please don’t tell me your labor and childbirth was a breeze too! I think the rhythm of your day is steered in part by the temperament of your child(ren). Not all children play quietly by themselves at 19 months. My daughter always wanted to be helping me, so a 15 minute chore could easily lengthen to 30-45 minutes with all the extra “help”. You know, I load the dish washer, she helps by dragging out clean pans and loading them in too. That can really get the days a little over filled!

    But, I’d have to agree, SAHM can be a bit mind-numbing. I try to fit in the same kind of things that interested me prior to becoming a mother. Not very successfully – but I keep trying.

    I think Betsy may have it right, luxuriate in the boredom before your baby arrives! Try and capture that feeling so you can remember it, just in case the baby is more high needs!

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  17. Don’t worry, Emily, my daughter was a colicky and incredibly fussy baby and I had PPD, so we’ve had our share of high needs!!!! =) She’s just grown into a pretty easy toddler, thank GOD!

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