Do you ever feel bored being a stay at home mom?
Before you grab your pitchforks or go round up a posse…let me clarify a few things.
I do not think children are boring. They’re not. But…any childcare is undeniably full of repetitions, routines and cycles.
I also don't think that stay at home moms get time to be bored – just that those cycles of childcare and endless (literally freakin' endless) chores have the potential to be mind-numbing.
Let's add to the mix the potentially long periods of isolation (stranded at home if you don’t have available transport) and a severe shortage of adult conversation.
So if you’re a SAHM who has that living-on-a-hamster-wheel feeling and if you’re looking for some actionable tips to spice up your life (without running away with the postman or turning to drink)…this post is for you.
Don't romanticize your previous work
Through the lens of comparison that job that used to make you tear your hair out doesn't seem so bad. But you chose this SAHM path for a reason. Forget comparison, looking backwards and those what-ifs.
I loved being a soldier but did I love 6am runs in winter, being shouted at and nit-picking rules? OK, I kinda did love those things, but then I'm a bit kinky like that. But, my point is, your pre-SAHM life probably wasn't one sugar-coated ball of continuous happiness.
Be more attentive
(AKA: Get Your Hippy Hat on)
Do remember that film American Beauty?
One of the characters comes over all misty-eyed as he talks about watching a plastic bag blowing about in the wind. If you've seen this film, you'll either think this scene was dumb and pretentious or you'll think it's a wonderful way to view ordinary things.
Point is, life is pretty amazing and if you look for it you'll find something wonderful in the everyday ordinary things you never noticed before. Whether it's the architecture of a building you've walked past hundreds of times before, the flowers your neighbor has grown or your own immensely complex circulatory system. Where there's life, there's hope, my friends.
Honestly, I want to stab myself in the eye for writing this. And it's OK if you do too. Is there anything more likely to make us feel life selfish wretches than being told to be grateful?
But science says it works. (Check out this article from Forbes, if you don't believe me)
I struggle with this but I try to think of several things I'm grateful for each night before I go to bed. Maybe you'll find this helpful too.
Make some space
There are lots of things we can do to spice up the stay at home mom life, but how do we find the time and energy? I highly encourage you to look at ways to automate your home so you can make time and space for the fun stuff.
I have a free 8-day email challenge for you that helps you streamline and automate your home. You can read about it here and sign up for FREE.
Find your people
Simultaneously the best and worst mom advice I've ever heard is 'join a mom and baby group'.
It's the best advice because joining a mom group gets you out of the house, lets you socialize with moms who are going through the same things as you are, and gives your day some structure.
It's also the worst advice because you may as well tell someone to join a group for people with red hair or blue eyes or those who love the color yellow. Just because you're all moms doesn't mean you have anything else in common.
If you're asking me, I'll encourage you to give moms' groups a try (you might have to try a few until you find a good fit). But I'll also encourage you to find other groups to socialize with. Here are some ideas to get you started:
- Facebook groups: there are Facebook groups for everything. Just go to Facebook and search groups. Alternatively, lots of bloggers host Facebook groups these days so find a blog you like and hit the 'Join Now' button.
- Charity groups: there are lots of charities looking for volunteers for all sorts of things. A little digging into local ads might yield some amazing opportunities.
- Book clubs: In real life or online there are so many book clubs out there if that's your thing. I love Goodreads as it's encouraging me to read books I never would have considered before and the community is great.
- Can't find a group you want to join? Why not set one up yourself? It you just snorted and thought 'hell, no' ask yourself what's stopping you.
You can learn some really weird shit on the internet these days. You certainly don't have to do something that leads to an official qualification. Here are some ideas to get you thinking:
- Learn a language: there is no end of books, programs and apps to help you learn a language. Why not say Hola to a few words of Spanish or Bonjour to a smattering of French?
- Watch a TED talk and feel your IQ rise.
- Watch a documentary
- Listen to a podcast
- Check out Udemy, Skillshare and CreativeLive for classes on just about anything
- Read a book: be a role model for your kids (that's my excuse anyway)
- Sign up to Now I Know and get fun facts in your inbox everyday (good dinner party conversation, you know, if you happen to get invited to such things)
- Learn some calligraphy: I'm loving this easy beginner's guide
- Expand your vocabulary by learning a couple of new words everyday
- Learn to take better photos of your kids even with your smart phone with some YouTube tutorials
- Learn how to set up a blog and start a side-hustle. I guarantee that you have something interesting to say. Check out this easy guide for moms.
- Learn something with your children: If you want to try your hand at growing your own vegetables for example, there is a lot of scope for getting the kids involved too.
- Learn knife throwing: Why the hell not, eh? (My lawyer told me to point out that this is not a hobby to share with the kids. Just saying.)
Have fun with the kids
You know those other moms on Pinterest who do no-end of creative and educational activities with their children and make us mere mortal moms feel like mom-garbage? Well let me tell you a secret...there is a short cut.
Three words for you: The Activity Room.
The wonderful, (possibly super-human) Jamie over at Hands On As We Grow runs The Activity Room and for a small charge sends out monthly activity plans that are simple, cheap and easy to do with children between ages 0-5. I'm not saying that it's guaranteed to make you feel like Mary Poppins but.....it's guaranteed to make you feel like Mary Poppins.
Want to find out more? Click HERE to go there now.
Whether or not you join The Activity Room, her blog is choc-full of activities that will help your day go from dull to dazzling. Click HERE to read go there now.
*This is not an affiliate post but I love to tell you about things that have worked for me.*
Here are some other ideas to spice up your day:
- Instigate some fun family traditions
- Celebrate some of those weird holidays
- Write a seasonal bucket list and start making memories
- Be tourists in your own neighborhood and find out what you've been missing
Change your environment
If you're at home all day, why not give your home decor a bit of a refresh. Honestly, it can make all the difference. There are so many talented ladies sharing their interior design know-how that even the most hideously design-impaired of us can make some improvements.
Last year I invested in a home decor course from Corey over at Hey There, Home. At the time I felt quite guilty about investing in what I thought was a 'frivolous' topic. But just a few small but intentional changes to my home decor are making my home a much more interesting and uplifting place to be.
*This is not an affiliate post but I love to tell you about things that have worked for me.*
You can find Corey over at Hey There, Home
Embrace your weird
(AKA: be a toddler for a day)
From coloring outside the lines to wearing wellies in summer and going to bed dressed as a storm-trooper, toddlers can teach us all about how to live a big life.
I'm not advising you to go off the rails altogether. But here are some toddler-inspired ideas for taking a walk on the wild side.
- Get a (temporary) tattoo
- Dye your hair (temporarily) that color you always thought you daren't
- Wear something bolder and brighter than usual
- Ignore the mess
- Instigate a water fight
- Perfect a new accent
- Have ice cream for breakfast (check out this recipe and get ready to be the coolest mom ever)
- Invent your own celebration day
- Talk to random people and show genuine interest in what they have to say (it's weird because so few people show real, actual, genuine interest in what others say)
- Think back to what 5-year old you wanted to do and figure out how to embrace that today
Clearly everyone's version of 'weird' is going to be different but I encourage you to live at least one day unconcerned with what the rest of the world thinks about you. It's liberating. It really is.
Get involved in the world
You don't have to run for office (but you totally could) but why not help to shape the world your children will grow up to inherit? Whatever your political views there are lots of ways to play a part.
- Keep up to date with current events: Sign up to The Skimm and receive bite-sized news updates everyday via email. Follow your representatives on Twitter for quick updates.
- Vote and encourage others to use their vote too
- Send your local representative a letter
- Do some volunteer work
- Give blood
- Answer some questions and donate rice for free - check it out HERE
- Perform random acts of kindness - here's list of 50 ideas to get you started.
Look, I’m grateful, grateful, so freakin’ grateful that I’m able to be a stay at home mama. And having served in the military and been a teacher I can still sincerely say that being a stay at home mom is the most meaningful thing I’ve ever done.
But it's easy to see how, as stay at home moms, we can get bogged down in the endless cycles of childcare and chores. It's easy to see how boredom, isolation and loneliness can become all too familiar companions. It's easy to see how we could lose ourselves as we dedicate our days to looking after others.
I'm not trying to encourage a 'narcissistic' me-now attitude. I hope we can embrace this season of our lives while still being honest about the challenges and difficulties involved.
It's OK to be bored, frustrated, lonely, and overwhelmed. It's OK to complain. It's OK to say 'I love my children, but...'. It's OK to shut down Pinterest because it makes you feel like crap.
But, it's NOT OK for anyone to make you feel guilty for any of that.
Whatever you're doing today, mama, have a great day. Scratch that...have a freakin' awesome day.
What about you?
Do you ever experience loneliness, boredom or isolation being a stay at home mom? Do you have any other ideas to spice up life as a stay at home mom?
I'd love to hear from you. Type your comments in the box below.