Coping With Boredom As A Stay At Home Mom
One of the biggest complaints stay at home moms have is boredom. Being a mom is rewarding in many ways for most moms, but it’s not always all that stimulating. Doing the same thing day after day with little interaction with other adults can wear you down. How can you cope with boredom as a stay at home mom?
You can’t just rely on that shower alone or that first cup of coffee to get you through the day. They’re important, but you deserve more.
Most moms don’t want to live the life of the perfect homemaker and mother, and there’s no reason why you should. Especially not at the cost of yourself.
How many of us really enjoy keeping an immaculate house while entertaining an infant or toddler, or even multiple children? It may be fun for a while, but eventually, most moms want more. Deserve more.
Enjoy Your Hobbies
One of the most important things to do is not give up your old interests just because you’re a stay at home mom. Keep up with your old hobbies. You may have to figure out which ones can be done in short bursts rather than sitting and working for hours undisturbed, but some of your interests should still be possible.
If you don’t have a hobby, start one. Learn to paint. Work on crafts. Learn to solder. Build things. Get some books at the library and start reading.
Find something you enjoy doing, whether you’ve done it before or have to pick up a new skill. You’ll have fun, and the kids will see you as a more interesting person.
Get Out With The Kids
Get out of the house, even if it’s only for a walk. This can be particularly difficult when you have an infant who always needs a nap, but it does get better as they get older. But remember that an infant will nap just about anywhere, and that includes the car seat and stroller. While those aren’t the best places for regular naps, there is nothing wrong with the occasional nap in them.
As kids get older, trips to libraries and museums make a nice switch from heading out to the park, especially if the weather is too warm or too cold. Many museums have kids free days regularly, so this doesn’t have to cost a lot.
If there’s a place that charges admission you like particularly well, see what a membership will cost versus paying for each time. A membership is often worth it, especially if it also gets you free parking in a place that charges for parking.
All these activities have one huge advantage when the kids are little – they’re likely to take a nap after. Hopefully, it’s more than just in the car, but tired kids nap longer. That means a better break for mom.
When the kids are older and past the napping stage, regular outings mean they’re happier about the fun things you’ve done as a family. You’re building memories together, and probably doing things that are more fun for you as well.
To Take Kids On Errands Or Not?
As a stay at home mom, you may often take the kids with you on errands. It’s the easiest way to get things done most days, even though it can slow things down tremendously. But is it the best idea when you’re bored and maybe even frustrated with the stay at home mom routine?
That may depend on the errand.
When my kids were small, I would joke about how getting to grocery shop without the kids was almost a vacation, and how pathetic that was. You’re keeping pretty busy, after all, if running an errand with no kids feels like any kind of a break.
Some errands can be fun to run with the kids as they get old enough. My kids always love going on a Costco run with me because we usually get lunch out, and you never know what the free samples will be. Lunch there is cheap enough to be affordable on many budgets. Order a pizza before heading down, and there are even leftovers.
If you need a break – ANY break – from the kids, running an errand without them may be a great idea, at least until you can take a real break. It is a chance to catch your break and clear your mind for a little while.
Get Out Without The Kids
When I say to get out without the kids, I don’t just mean run errands. Doing that can feel like a break, but you deserve more.
Getting out without the kids should be about doing something you want to do.
Maybe you head out on your own. Maybe you go on a date with your spouse.
Whatever it is, the time is about you being you, or maybe you and your spouse. Try not to spend the entire time talking about the kids. Have fun just being you for a while. You’ll think about the kids some, and talk about them (I think we all do that), but do other things too.
It can be hard sometimes to figure out what to do when you’ve spent too much time being “Mom.” You’ll figure it out. You’re in there somewhere.
If you can’t afford a babysitter, get a family member or friend to agree to do babysitting trades. You watch their kids, they watch yours. Grandparents are also willing in many families. This can allow date nights with your husband or just time to get something done without interference.
Make Friends With Other Parents
Take the time to meet up with other moms. Even if you only have an infant it’s good to get out and socialize. As your children get older this can get easier, especially if you get along with their friends’ parents.
My favorite parents to meet when my kids were younger were the ones whose kids’ age differences were similar to the age differences for my kids. It made getting the kids together so nice since each child had a friend their own age without having to make arrangements with a lot of parents.
Of course, having children of similar ages is not the only reason to make friends with other parents. It’s better yet if you have common interests. You’ll all have more fun then.
You do not have to be friends with every parent you meet, of course. There are some you simply will not get along with. The friendships your kids have may still make it worthwhile to be in contact, but that doesn’t necessarily mean you’ll be friends with that set of parents.
Your friendship with other parents doesn’t have to be just about the kids, of course. Get out together without them. Get coffee together, go to a paint and sip class together, exercise together, just do things together that aren’t all about the kids.
Make Friends Online
Get online! The internet makes it easy for even the most homebound stay at home mom to make friends.
Facebook has a lot of groups for parents to join, for just about any interest. You can be a nerdy mom, homeschooling mom, single mom, sports mom, or just about any other interest. Having something in common makes the groups more fun to be a part of.
Don’t feel bad about joining a group for a little while, then leaving if it’s not the group for you. No one will notice in most groups. It takes time to find the right group, and sometimes you’ll find that a group that sounded good from the outside is absolutely not a match for you once you’re in. No need to announce your departure in that case – just go.
Facebook isn’t the only place to meet other parents online, of course. You can find forums or use other social media sites. Just look around until you find the right group of parents to socialize with online.
Taking time to exercise regularly is a great idea. You’ll be healthier. It gives your brain a break from focusing on the usual household stuff.
Join a gym or the local YMCA if you can and take classes. This can help you build a regular routine. It’s too easy to skip out on fitness if you don’t have a schedule.
If you can’t afford a gym membership, you can still exercise. There are lots of free exercise videos on YouTube, or you can walk or ride a bike around the neighborhood.
Improve Your Education
When you’re a stay at home mom, it’s a great time to update your education. Maybe you plan on being a SAHM until your kids are grown, maybe you plan on it for only a few years. Either way, make the most of this time to get a better education.
There are lots of legitimate online courses you can take. Many good schools now offer online degrees. You need to be careful, of course, to ensure that you are getting a quality education. There are too many schools that are essentially scams. Read up on any online schools you attend to ensure that you will get your money’s worth.
You don’t have to improve your education only in ways that will help your future career, of course. You can also learn things just because they’re interesting. Education can be fun. Try courses through sites such as Udemy. You can learn to do lots of things online.
Find A Way To Work At Home
You may have decided to become a stay at home mom so you’d always be there for your kids, 100%. It probably didn’t take that long to realize that you want more out of life.
I strongly encourage all stay at home moms to have some way to earn money from home, whether it’s a work at home job or a home business of your own. It’s a vital safety net, in my opinion.
Let’s start with the big reasons: divorce, death, disability, and unemployment. Any of these can impact your life when you least expect it. If you don’t have money of your own coming in, these reasons can spell disaster for your family. And they’re mostly out of your control.
But those aren’t the only reasons.
Working at home can be fun. I especially like working for myself on this site, but I started out as a medical transcriptionist at home. Working at home is a way to do something as an adult.
Succeeding as a work at home mom is an accomplishment. Being a mom is too, but it’s not the same.
Working at home can be especially important if you want to go back to your career someday. It removes that break in your resume due to being a stay at home mom. Given how difficult it can be for a stay at home mom to find work later, that’s pretty important.
If you want to start simple, start a blog. It’s not difficult or expensive to get started. Maybe you earn money from your blog, maybe it’s just a hobby. But it’s a good introduction to working at home if you set yourself a schedule and try to keep a good routine going.
Be Aware Of Depression
Sometimes being bored as a stay at home mom is more than just boredom. Depression is a very real issue for people in all walks of life.
Depression in moms doesn’t always start with postpartum depression, although that should be considered if relevant. Sometimes it comes years later.
If you’re concerned that you’re becoming clinically depressed, get help. It’s not easy to ask for help, I know, but find a way to get help.
Clinical depression means you need more help than just getting out of the house. It’s best if you can talk to a psychiatrist about medications that might help, and a therapist to talk things out.
Your network of friends may be able to help to a degree, but not in the ways a professional can. Clinical depression is not something to mess with. Check sites such as psychiatry.org to find help if you need it.
Stay At Home Motherhood Isn’t Always Fun
You’re going to get bored occasionally as a stay at home mom. Sometimes you simply will not be able to do the things you would rather be doing. But that’s true even if you work outside the home.
Taking care of children is hard, repetitive work. Young children, in particular, have a love of repetition that can be very hard on a mother. But if you can look at how your children are growing and changing you may be able to appreciate even the parts of your life that are otherwise quite “boring.”
Find ways to keep on being you, not just “Mom.” It’s a great title, but it doesn’t have to come at the loss of the rest of yourself.
And don’t forget to complain sometimes. Babies and toddlers can be exhausting and boring to care for, no matter how much you love them. They aren’t great conversationalists. They’re messy. The fact that they’re also utterly adorable isn’t enough every day, and it doesn’t have to be.