Loving Motherhood in an “I’m Bored Society”
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Our very modern world is full of all sorts of gadgets and distractions. Children of the television age, we can become programmed for needing something new and flashy every 60 seconds or so. And every mom has heard the whining refrain, “I’m bored.” And yet, as a mom, a few months ago, I found myself thinking the same thing.
Yet, how could I be bored when there’s so much to do? Upon further discussion with my sweet husband, we determined that it wasn’t boredom that plagued me.
No, I simply felt unmotivated.
Unmotivated to do the hard work.
Unmotivated to cook and clean day in and day out.
Unmotivated to push through.
Motherhood is a challenging profession. The rewards are great — but they are often sporadic or delated. And the “job” of motherhood is more than a relationship between mother and child. There are peripheral tasks involved.
Let’s face it. Unless you’ve got a nanny, a housekeeper, a chauffeur, and a chef, it’s hard to manage a home and family–and still keep a smile on your face. It’s hard to tackle the tasks involved. And sometimes those peripheral tasks can weigh us down.
It’s hard work, plain and simple. And sometimes, to use a Jane Austen phrase, I need to exert myself. I need to make the conscious decision to do what’s best for my family even if it’s uncomfortable. Experience has taught me that in the long run, that is also what’s best for me.
Consider the following scenarios:
— The kitchen’s a wreck. The kids are finally in bed. I can hit the hay or I can take 10 minutes to finish loading the dishes in the dishwasher and wipe the counters. Those little moments will help me start the new day with a clean slate.
— Cabin fever’s got me down. Why not pack a picnic and herd the kids to the car? An outing may take work, but a breath of fresh air and change of scenery — both literally and figuratively — will be good for all of us.
— The kids are at Gramma’s and I just have to run all those errands. Or do I? If I reexamine my list, I might find that quite a few aren’t absolutely necessary. In fact, a stop at a coffee shop by myself to read my Bible, to journal, to take a few minutes and refresh may be the perfect way to spend those moments out. Both me and my family will reap the rewards of a restful mom.
“Exerting yourself” may look different, depending on your personality and season of life. But, I would hazard a guess that you, too, face similar circumstances.
How can you bust out and push yourself to do the hard thing that will bless you and your family?
Consider these questions or ask your husband or a friend for perspective:
- What are your strengths?
- Where are you “overdoing” and need to rest?
- What areas are you ignoring and maybe need to give more attention?
It may be helpful to examine your priorities on paper. About once a month I revisit this worksheet which helps me think through these questions:
How do I want to grow? What are “the big rocks” in my life and how can I make sure they fit? How can I grow in loving my husband and children? What can I do to be a better wife and mother? To be a more peaceful woman?
Recording some goals in these areas helps me solidify my thinking and gives me a benchmark to refer back to.
There will always be dishes to wash and laundry to fold. But, embracing today, making good choices for me and my family, and refusing to be bored or unmotivated are important steps I can take in loving my husband, my children, and my life as mom.
Found you via Kelly at Generation Cedar… thanks so much for this post. I need to make the time to think on the questions you posed ~ I appreciate the prompting!
Wisdom indeed! I can testify to its Truth. We have 7 children, from age 10 to age 23 and married. I have been homeschooling for 18 years. EEEEKKK! Okay, that slipped out. But, I’m better now. You are so right about “owning our job.” I spent too long thinking that the laundry, the dishes, the ______ (fill it in with whichever task you choose) was interfering with what I should really be doing, but the Lord broke through and revealed His design: Everything I do in my home in service to my family is an offering to Him. It doesn’t matter if anyone sees or helps. I am glorifying Him through blessing my family in my home. When I am centered in that principle, there is joy to be found in that one more load of laundry or dusting (again) or doing the dishes (again). I still don’t always have the right attitude, but He is continuing to purify my heart. Perspective makes all the difference. Thank you for glorifying Him with the words of your testimony.
“Thank You” just isn’t enough. I’m a unmotivated mother of 3 (under 7-years) with another one on its way in a few short weeks. I lost it today! Now I’m down on myself for treating my kids the way that I did and questioning myself as a good mother. You’re words of encouragement, understanding and support have helped more than you know. Finding theses words were a huge blessing.
Hang in there, Rachel. We all have those days, believe me. Praying for you….
I always tell myself that I will feel so much better when the job is done. And, I usually do:-)
I love your point-as moms are jobs are very challenging but we have to choose to view it this way and value our work.
What a great post and recommendations. While I know much of what you’ve written is for mothers and home makers with young children, I can assure you that even those of us who are in our middle years and moving toward an “empty nest” need to be reminded of these things as well. Thank you!
Wow I love this post. You know what I did today? On no sleep, after an amazingly emotional and busy day (First Communion!), after all the grocery shopping and cooking and cleaning, I decided enough was enough, my room was HORRIBLE and it was time to clean. I spend so much time cleaning the “public” areas of the house that my room is last on the list and never gets done. So after working all day in the house, I completely exhausted myself and spent a few hours on my room. Now I am ready to completely crash… but when I wake up, I get to wake up to a clean nice smelling room… and that will make my day so much better, and therefor my family’s day too! 🙂
(My other sites are Pregnancy Tickers and a pet blog too.
I SO needed this today. Feeling overwhelmed, exhausted, and unmotivated. Thanks for a (cheerful) kick in the pants. 🙂
So glad that you posted this! I am relatively new to motherhood–one 2 year old boy and a baby girl due in June–but I was struggling with the I’m-bored-and-feeling-sorry-for-myself bit yesterday. I knew that I just wasn’t motivated to do any of the number of things that I could have been doing–Play Doh (or any activity!) with my son, another “clean out the clutter” segment (especially with a cross-country move coming up in August!), read some more of a book (especially since it’s a long one–The Well Trained Mind–that I have already renewed once from the library!), and any other number of projects that we currently have in the works in our home.
To my shame, when my son took his afternoon nap, I finally started a “clean out the clutter” segment on our computer desk, though I was pouting while working. By the end of it, I realized how selfish and unmotivated that I was being and how blessed I am. It took two hours of work to snap me out of myself! Well, at least I have a de-cluttered desk to show for it now…:)
Thanks, Jessica, for once again motivating me to do better! Yes, I was quite content to read blogs all morning, but after reading your post I got off my bum, did some laundry, made a nice lunch and took the kids outside to play in the sun for an hour and a half. They thank you as well! :0)
Thanks so much for this post!! There are so many days lately that I say “I didn’t accomplish anything today!!” I have to remind myself that feeding my children 3 meals a day, getting them off to school, making it to the gym 3 days a week and picking up the clutter around the house are all accomplishments. On the days when I’m feeling very unmotivated (which seem to happen a lot) I make a list of things that need to be done. Getting to cross things off the list is so much fun! There are times when I write something on the list that I’ve already done just so I can cross it off.
I struggle with giving myself the permission to just do nothing. I feel the pressure of if I don’t do it now it will still be waiting for me later. I need to find a way to enjoy doing nothing or doing something that doesn’t feel productive.
I’m getting ready to do a post on my blog about how behind I am with my coupon cutting, sorting and filing. I wanted to do it to show others that sometimes a break is needed and that once I get started it really won’t take that much time to get caught up. I am going to mention and link up to this post in mine. I think it’s important for mom’s to know that it’s okay to be unmovitated and happens to all of us.
@Becky, Some times, instead of making a to do list, I’ll make a list of the things I HAVE done. It helps me realize all I have accomplished in a day even if that’s just taking care of the kids, breastfeeding the baby, & taking a much needed nap.
What a great post! I am definitely using your priorities worksheet to help get mine in line. Thanks!
Thanks, Jessica. I’ve been feeling discontented lately without realizing that’s what was bothering me. Your post helped me to remember to do the hard things in order to build character in me and give my kids the right example. Thanks!
I really enjoyed this post.I have been to the doctor two times in the last month.I am 36 with children aged2,4,8&18.We homeschool and Iam a stay at home mom.I will not bore you with my health issues but the doctor said very plainly slow down get more rest or you are going to be flat on your back.Well I really want to homeschool so my husband and I said we would put this at the top of our priority list.I had really gotten carried away with saving on groceries and our power bill but like if you hurt your own health what savings is that.So for now I am using paperplates,using a little more boxed food and using my dryer.The doctor did say I was doing alot better the last time I went to him.What I am trying to say is pick what is the most important thing and go from there.
Thanks so much for this post today! We found out this week we are pregnant with our 4th baby in 3.5 years and I’m feeling overwhelmed, unmotivated, etc. I needed this. I’m guilty of comparing myself to other mothers that seem to have it all together, and sometimes even feeling a tad bit jealous. Society isn’t as welcome to “just being a Mom” as it used to be, and I feel those pressures on me also. Thankfully, I have a very supportive husband that likes to go against the flow, making it that much easier for me.
Thanks for the words on being uncomfortable as well. Sometimes the laundry, diapers, and meals aren’t comfortable, leaving me feeling like I don’t want to do any of the above, but, you’re right, it’s what’s best for my family.
Thank you for the reminder that I really do love motherhood, even with the obstacles and juggling!
Congrats on your new baby! We had the first 4 pretty close together, too. Keep in mind – sometimes the best thing for your family is to sit on the couch! Especially in “your condition.” 😉 Sounds like you have a fantastic husband, get his input and don’t overdo! Blessings to you!
I so needed this post today! I started writing a list of personal goals for myself last night and this post put those goals in perspective. Thanks so much!
Thank you for this inspiring post. One family rule I started was not to let anyone say “I’m bored”. It’s worked so well as it challenges the kids (and me) to address what they’re feeling and fix it.
Another thing I do to stay motivated is to be part of a MOMS Club which is a non-profit support group for at-home mothers. We vote on monthly activities and everything we do is during the day and includes our kids. It’s nice to connect with other mothers while the kids play, then feel refreshed enough to go home and finish up your tasks.
I’ve also started hosting a Thursday afternoon with the girls. It’s started by chance but I have an “open house” policy on Thursdays now & anyone is free to drop by and I’ll always have lunch & treats ready… great for trying my new recipes 🙂
Thank you for this! I needed it more than you could know.
Thanks for this great post. I really needed to hear/read that this week. I’m going to print this out and post on my fridge as an everyday reminder!
Motivation. Procrastination and perfectionism always shoot motivation in the foot at my house. I run in spurts and I’m always beating myself up about it.
Housework would be where I need to exert myself. Definitely.
Well, we’re off to the zoo!
@Southern Gal, I hear ya, but I still love it that you’re off to the zoo. Experiences with your kids trump cleaning toilets every time. Unless of course, the health department is going to call….
I echo the comments of Flo. A perfectly timed post (for me at least) and I’m sure no coincidence! Thank you for your considered and honest thoughts. Your transparency is refreshing because sometimes I feel as though everyone else has the appearance of having it together when in fact they don’t.. even in church circles. Why is that?
Thank you for your challenge, perspective and grace.
@Julie Craig, I remember once someone telling me I was comparing my insides with someone else’s outsides. That really helped me. If I am really going to compare, I have to know how the other one really feels and how she really struggles. And usually (if she’s honest) we’re not all that different.
@Jessica Fisher, To add to that, I heard a statement that really helped me in comparing myself to others: You are comparing your worst to their best. We often see other moms out in public, at church, Bible study, etc. looking fresh and happy, hair done and make-up applied, children all dressed nicely– not at their weak, exhausted, messy worst at home! No one is at their best all the time, and we should not expect that of ourselves either.
I’ve been thinking/praying about what the church fathers called “Otium Sanctum” Holy Leisure. Peacefully walking through the day with the Holy Spirit to give us the balance of work and rest. I don’t even know what it all entails. But I know I need to keep plowing ahead while walking restfully at the same time.
(I mentioned this to my husband though and he said that it was written by men whose wives were taking care of all the details in their lives. What a cynic. :))
If it is possible to push for peace, I’m going for it.
This is a great post and SO good for me to read! I actually live in a town where having a nanny and housekeeper is par for the course- lawn boy, too. 😉 I really don’t get (or take, perhaps) any “Mom time” and I wouldn’t even say that that bothers me at this season. My youngest is 10 months and I can’t handle being away from her any better than she handles being away from me. I do find myself feeling self-pitying and overwhelmed sometimes though as I’m surrounded my mommies who, at least seem, to have time to shop and explore and go out to eat, etc, in abundance. Sometimes my life seems boring by comparison… I wouldn’t trade it mind you, but sometimes it seems boring. It’s good to take a step back and reevaluate.
@JessieLeigh, you bring up an excellent point. One which I think I will add to the post, with your permission. 😉
Where does comparison with other moms hinder me and get in my way?
@Jessica Fisher, You, of course, have my permission to use anything I say (at least in a comment), whenever. 😉
oh thank YOU for that post! I just needed to read it right now, when being a working mom of 3 (extraordinary little girls, but…), a wife (of a fantastic man, but…), owner of an aging (fantastic) dog that has just been needing extra care and attention and is now on medication every day etc etc is absolutely the life I’ve always wanted BUT exhausting and sometimes just plain… hard.
THANK YOU, you’ve helped me by expressing how normal being tired and demotivated sometimes is AND by proposing easy but efficient ways to get back on the road, to keep in mind how true it is that “a little stitch in time saves nine”.
Have an excellent day 🙂