I’ve read a couple of posts recently from mums who are expressing a certain guilt at feeling bored when they are with their little ones. No shit? I was bored out of my bloody mind half the time. I’ll say the usual mummy disclaimer because we all feel we have to: I loved my babies and toddlers to bits – unconditionally all the time, conditionally some of the time, but by Christ the monotony fucked with my mind.
I was never the craft type. Painting was only ever carried out at grandparents’ houses and playgroups. If Pinterest had of been around when my kids were little, I would have had, ‘failure’ tattooed to my forehead. Yet still, because I had 4 kids under the age of 5, other mums would refer to me as: the earth mother.
Now, I’m not entirely sure what they meant by this. Perhaps that my girls constantly looked as if they needed a good scrub. However, I always thought to myself: I know that I am not an earth mother because although I feel like I’ve got a handle on things some of the time, I get bored. I don’t want to get down on my sodding knees and push a tractor around a plastic farm. I cannot stand the thought of feeding an ugly, plastic baby a bottle and I fall asleep reading them their bedtime stories: it’s so bloody boring!
And it wasn’t just the kids who I found boring – I came across a fair few mums who bored the crap out of me too. Please don’t judge me for saying it – you’ve all thought it. You know, the sort you get stuck with at the toddler group, who bangs on about how advanced her 3 month old is. There’s only so many times you can hear, “he’s already saying ‘Kumon'”, before you want to punch her. You’re desperately looking for a reason to escape, until finally you are so bored you shout: ‘Oh God! She’s just bitten another child’ and rush off to be with your rather bemused 3 year old, who was happily making a plastic cup of tea in the kitchen.
Earth mother I most certainly wasn’t. Bored I most certainly often was. So as I read these posts from these wonderful mothers, who are scared shitless of admitting that they occasionally find life with a 3 year old boring, I thought about how stressful being bored is. Even now when I am bored, I feel stressed.
Boredom is basically the result of a failed effort to engage with our surroundings and the result of this is anxiety. It’s fine if you can use those moments of boredom to daydream and think creatively, but the problem with having a toddler is that there is an incessant invasion of your head space. So you get out your phone as a signal that mummy is not available, so go and play with your sister for 2 minutes – that is why we had her – and then you get some grumpy old fart telling you what a shit parent you are. Unfortunately, the truth is that tablets and smart phones are preventing all of us from getting bored, but they are also curbing our thoughts and potential great ideas, as are our children.
So next time your kids whine at you those wonderful words: I’m bored! Just scream back at them: yeah, well so am I!