This post is inspired by my dear mother. When we were young and would inevitably say those whiny words that are fingernails on a chalkboard to a mother, "I'm bo-red!" my mother would stop her task, raise her eyebrows and say, "I'm so glad to hear that because I have things for you to do."
A few window washes, car vacuums, or toilet scrubbings later we would vow to never say "I'm bored" within earshot again. Ironically, it taught me that if I'm listless or have completed my regular tasks I should start a project, clean something, or invest time into whoever is sitting in the kitchen.
I am observing that perhaps other people's mothers weren't so wise. I say this because in the last month or so I have heard a handful of mothers say "I'm bo-red". The first time I heard it I stopped in my tracks. The second time I thought, "That's strange." The third time I saw it broadcasted on facebook.
I am miffed.
How can you be a mother and be bored?
It's a good thing my grandma didn't hear them say that. My Grandma is a different level of a work-hard mom. Her spring cleaning involved removing every item from every drawer. She initially washed things by hand (and I complain about the pile in my living room after an automatic washer and dryer completed it within an hour?! I should be embarrassed!). My Grandma canned her own vegetables from her own large garden, made her own applesauce, and made 3 hot family meals a day because Grandpa was a rancher who needed lunch for himself and his ranch hands. Of course in between meals there was a pie in the oven, bread cooking, or fresh cookies for coffee time. She pressed clothes for all 6 members of the family every week (uh...doesn't 10 min. in the dryer cut it?). Quick trip to Wal-Mart? Yeah right, she sewed the holes in the clothes, people. She ran tractors, helped with calving, raised 4 kids, did all the yard work/house chores/bill paying because farming took all of my grandpa's time. And she did it while looking great. I, in fact, have 2 friends (they shall remain nameless) who have crushes on her because they've seen her "younger-year" photographs. She did it all. I don't think my Grandma has any idea what "bored" even means.
I'm not even going to speculate what "bored" would have meant to my Beppe when she was a missionary in Nigeria with 4 and 5 small children; mentoring natives, caring and supporting a husband who battled malaria and poured his life into the natives there.
After contemplating bored moms I thought "Maybe as a mom in my generation being bored is justifiable. After all, we do have 5-minute recipes, close grocery stores, appliances, and far less kids than generations past. Maybe moms today really don't have enough to do." We really are wimps. Over-committed, over-scheduled, probably over-primped, over-indulged... wimps. I mean, let's be honest. Most of us don't have to stress about frost that will take our crops which will in turn take our livelihood. Most of us stress about the matching Easter dresses we want for our daughters.
We are so used to having our events scheduled, and our work/school micromanaged that we have a hard time when no one is instructing us or structuring our time for us. We lack work ethic and discipline, an ability to self-start, the desire to truly train up our children (We honestly leave it entirely up to public education? Eesh.). We aren't researching health options for our kids, providing healthy meals at home, playing, teaching, deep cleaning or maintaining what we could replace down the road. I suppose cutting those corners has allowed for more time on our hands.
But no matter how hard I try I just can't imagine being a bored mom. I don't know how it happens. My problem is the opposite. I sail through a room with laundry basket in hand and see 10 things to do as I go.New handprints to wash on the window... should have Darla practice reading aloud with that book... argh, still haven't returned that e mail...is the coffee pot still on?Not to mention my children beckoning for band-aids, help with legos, and"Mom is it snack time yet?!"
By the time I have a cleaning day, a running errands/grocery day, a paying bills/paperwork day, an outside/weed garden/clean up/wash windows day, a Bible study/ministry/see a friend or sister day...it's time to have another cleaning day! Of course laundry, meals, reading to kids, baths, squeezing in my own quiet time and workouts are daily tasks.
However, if I ever wake up and think "Huh. What should I do today?" I have decided to make a list. My mother will be happy. I am prepared for the occasion that I may plop down on the couch at a time other than 9pm and say, "I'm bo-red." If that day happens I just might:
* sand and paint the picnic table
* have Logan Gage make me a reading list and actually read my way through it
* work on letters and numbers with Hudson (even if I'm not bored this needs to get done.)
* organize my laundry room
* more family bike rides
* fix the wallpaper border in Everett's room
* have coffee with any of the people on my list that I haven't had time for since moving back to Lynden (there's at least 12 people on this list and yes, if you are reading this and have wondered why I haven't called you back- you're on the list).
* paint my nails
* clip coupons
* sit in a lawn chair and take out the crows and squirrels that are nabbing my cherries
* do some science projects with the kids (there are some really cool things you can blow up in the name of science).
* Write love notes to my husband
* balance the checkbook on time instead of the next month
* sew the stack of ripped stuffed animals that Darla has been patiently waiting for
I also asked my family what they would do if they were bored. Here are their lists:
* lay in the grass and stare at the blue grass through the trees...by a stream, even better,
* learn an instrument
* build a fort for my kids
* Play barbies
* Sit and talk to Jesus, like I do if I have a time out.
* Write (ahh yes, this tops my list, too.)
* Make a list of things to do (oh, a woman after my own heart! Is this my daughter or what!?)
* Play polly pockets with Darla
* Watch movies
* do nothing
* Daddy! (Me: play with Daddy? Everett: "Yeah.")
If boredom ever threatens the Taylor family...we are prepared.
Just throwing myself out there a bit...