• Allie Atkinson

What Boredom Was Trying To Tell Me

Do you ever feel bored as a mother?

Gosh, it sounds awful to say it like that, doesn't it? But the reality is, I have often felt bored since becoming a mum. To be clear, I’m talking about the job of being a mum, not the love or joy I find in my children. I’m talking about those relentless, day-to-day jobs that were once just an additional extra to our full time job, but now have become all-consuming daily chores. The endless washing. The ironing. The constant tidying. And beyond that, there’s the noise, the bickering, the bathtime battles, the bedtime negotiations, and not forgetting the ‘wrong coloured bowl’ conversation that is impossible to keep up with.

I had no idea it was possible to be completely overwhelmed by the mental load of balancing so many tasks and fulfilling the needs of others, whilst simultaneously being completely underwhelmed by it all. I’ve gone through periods where it felt like I was just living the same day over and over and over again. The same jobs that need doing. The same battles take place. The same routine. Is it any wonder that sometimes it can feel a little boring? Yes I have lots to do, there is always lots to do for any mum, but if none of it excites me, or has anything to do with who I am as a person, it’s understandable that it can begin to feel mundane. And when those feelings have set in, I’ve found my self-esteem plummet too. I begin to feel invisible and insignificant, as though my role is purely to look after others and facilitate them to have fun and follow their passions.

When I realised this issue, I had to acknowledge the small changes I needed to make, because, just like you I am guessing, I don’t want to be bored by motherhood. I want to enjoy it, savour the time that my children are young, not spend my time wishing away the years for a day when I can do something that lights me up again.

You often hear it, don’t you?… “Once they reach school age, you’ll have lots of time!” As a mum who felt trapped in an endless cycle of jobs and responsibilities, I’ve found it can be easy to find yourself longing for those days, and then missing the younger years when school does arrive.

So how do we change that mindset so that we can enjoy the moment? How do we stop wishing away the years just so that we can discover a little bit of excitement and personality again?

For me, the key was realising that the boredom was actually nothing to do with motherhood but the way I had been approaching it. When I stopped seeing boredom as something negative about being a mum, and started exploring it as an opportunity to create change, it became easier to become proactive and find a way through.

So What Was The Boredom Telling Me?

Simply put, I think the boredom was telling me to make a change. To rediscover myself a little. When I became a mum, I made the choice to put my career on hold and stay at home. What I didn’t mean to do was to also put my self-care, my self-respect, my passions and hobbies on hold too. I very quickly became so consumed by the responsibilities that I forgot to add a little bit of me into being a mother. I stopped having fun, and instead became controlled by the routines and responsibilities of being a mum. Every day felt the same because it was the same. I’d become so regimented and fixated on the responsibilities, that any form of fun was observed rather than enjoyed, as I tried to keep a tight grip of everything happening around me.

The boredom was telling me that I needed to look inwards and make the changes.

What Changes Am I Working On?

Being flexible

One thing I realised with the boredom, was that I was creating it. I was the mum choosing what time to eat dinner, or the nap time. I was the one saying we couldn’t visit the park because it would make dinner too late, or turning down the arts activity because of the mess it would create. And yes it would create a mess, but if we walk around avoiding doing anything that creates a mess, none of us would get out of bed right? I needed to let go a little, get flexible and go with the flow at times. Like anything it’s balance, being flexible enough to allow space for spontaneous adventures whilst maintaining rituals and routines that creates safety and comfort for everyone involved too. The balance isn’t easy, but I’m working on it.

Having my own goals

This has been a MAJOR GAME CHANGER for me! Without meaning to, I gave up on personal goals as soon as I became a stay at home mum. Before that, goals were an integral part of my life, from shows to prepare for in my younger years to lesson observations as a teacher. I was driven and passionate about achieving and growing, but suddenly, that stopped. Suddenly my goals became cleaning the kitchen before 7.30am or having all of the children asleep by 8pm. Both of which are great, but after a couple of times, they lose their shine. I need goals that encourage me to grow and keep me moving. Goals like creating this blog, or maybe visiting a tourist attraction with the kiddies in the holidays. Setting goals has not only created a little variety and provided focus, but also helped me to develop that flexibility, and step out of my comfort zone. And as we all know, our comfort zone is great but it can become pretty dull.

Pick a Perk

Another great trick I have developed along the way is to ‘Pick A Perk’. What exactly does that mean? Well, let’s say you are taking the kids to a soft-play party… lots of fun for the kiddies, maybe not so much for you. But what if you could do something small for yourself that can soften that experience? Maybe it’s having a hot cup of coffee whilst they are off playing, or catching up with the other mums. It’s finding something little for yourself that is acknowledging that you matter too, whilst you continue looking after others. It could be listening to your favourite nineties pop band whilst you cook dinner or a quick cup of tea in the garden sunshine after you’ve hung the washing out. I try to plan my perks so that I know those moments are coming, making the mundane jobs feel less taxing. Think of the school breaks at school. They may not have made the lessons any more exciting, but it was comforting to know you had that break and time for yourself coming up. Picking perks to punctuate the day has the same effect in the day-to-day role of motherhood.

Keep Returning To Your Values

Being bored as a mum has also made me realise that I wasn’t creating the motherhood journey that I wanted. When I think about my values in black and white it's very simple; My children come first. I want to create memories and for them to feel loved.

But, then the washing up needs doing, or the laundry needs hanging out, or even both need doing, and there is a five year old shouting for me to play with them. If I went by my values, the washing up and laundry would wait, but so often, I’ve been so consumed by just wanting to get the jobs done, my five year old has been asked to wait five minutes whilst I complete them first. And then I get to the end of the day and suddenly feel like I have done nothing but the same jobs again, forgetting I passed up that opportunity to leave the jobs for five minutes and have fun with my child. It’s so easy to get lost in the role and not live authentically by our values, but I have found that reminding myself of those values every so often helps me to be more flexible and enjoy the moment.

So if you’re feeling bored at times…

If, like me, you have those moments when it feels as though you are just waiting for the day to pass by, or reliving the same day over and over again, I hope you know now that you are not alone, and that feeling this way does not mean you are a bad mum.You may just be a mum that's lost her spark, but you can find it again. It may take time and feel like hard work but we do have the power to choose parts of our motherhood journey, and make the small changes we need to enjoy it.

And if you find that you really are struggling, please reach out for help because from my own experience, sometimes losing that spark can be a sign that you need a little more support.