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I’ve got a 7-year-old in a “that’s boring” phase. I’ll suggest we head to the pool. Boring. Play a game. Boring. Read a chapter book. Boring. Of course, his 5-year-old brother idolizes him, and so he starts to pick up the “I’m bored” refrain, too. I shake my head silently at all their toys, books, and games as I think to myself, “I even birthed you a playmate! How on earth could you two be bored?”
Except, we mamas fall into the boredom trap, too, don’t we? We sit, surrounded by all the wonderful things in the world and think, I’m bored. Like the kids, we’re not without stuff to do—on the contrary, our to-do lists are usually over-full. It’s just that sometimes life starts to feel stale and unfulfilling. The duties of motherhood seem both overwhelming and tedious. Boring.
I don’t let my little boys get by with moping about their boredom, though. Boredom is a sign that they need to get to work, to make a change, to get creative. I’m pretty sure we mamas need the same kick in the pants sometimes, too. Bored by motherhood? Keep reading for 8 tricks to try when motherhood is boring.
I write a gratitude list at night before bed, but I sometimes fail to practice gratitude in the moment. Sitting at a playground watching the boys play, for instance, might get me thinking “this is tedious” rather than “this is wonderful”. Holy moly, though—there are so many opportunities for gratitude there.
My kids are healthy enough to play. They love each other and enjoy playing together. The weather is nice enough to be outside. We live in a place where playing outside feels safe. The list goes on and on.
When motherhood is boring, try to realize how incredibly fortunate you are and appreciate what you have. Practice gratitude.
Change your routine
Routines are awesome for moms. They help us automate a lot of the tasks that we need to do. They save us time by eliminating minutes spent making decisions. They help our kids know what to expect. They help ensure all the tasks that we want to do get done. They help keep us sane.
They can get totally boring, though. I find there’s a time a bit after a routine has gotten really comfortable and engrained when it starts to drive me bonkers. I can’t stand the thought of doing the same meal plan again—of wearing the T-shirt from my capsule wardrobe again—or spending my Thursday morning doing the same chores again.
This is a sign for me that it’s time to shake things up—to look for a new dinner recipe, a new T-shirt, or a new task for Thursday mornings. Routines are wonderful and useful, but when they stop serving you, shake ‘em up.
Change your surroundings
When my kids are bored/restless/cranky/fighting-like-cats-and-dogs, I will often send them to play outside. Typically, within minutes of changing the scenery, they are all smiles and full of energy.
How often, though, do I remember this trick when my own life seems ho-hum? Changing our surroundings can involve simply walking outside for a breath of fresh air. It can involve bringing something new into our landscape like a new coat of paint on the wall or a fresh bunch of flowers. It can even involve throwing a grenade into everything and picking up and moving completely.
If you’re feeling like motherhood is boring, try making some small (or big!) changes to your environment.
Start a new project
When my kids are having the “I’m bored” days, I will often encourage them to do something creative—to pull out an old toy they haven’t touched in awhile, dig into some art supplies, or put on some costumes. Within minutes of picking up something new, they’re happy and laughing again.
I get the same energy and joy from new projects, but I often tell myself I can’t afford the time. I prefer to spend my days unfulfilled and grumpy rather than taking a few minutes to fill my tank again.
Just like our kids, grownups need creative new projects to dig into to prevent those unhappy and unsatisfied feelings from creeping in. The next time you feel bored, see if it isn’t a signal for you to try something new.
If you’re having trouble deciding what that new thing might be, my “Rediscover Yourself Brainstorming Prompts” in the Resource Library might be helpful. Don’t think you have time? You had time to read this. Even a few minutes a day can yield amazing results when you’re practicing consistently.
Get to work
I’m sure many of us have found a chore or task for a kid who’s bored. We can use the same trick on ourselves.
If you’re feeling bored, why not pick a task like deleting unwanted photos from your phone, cleaning out your fridge, or organizing the kids’ toys? Although none of these tasks are fascinating, completing them will make you feel productive and accomplished which is a million times better than feeling bored.
Find a friend
When my kids are bored, we often call in reinforcements. We’ll head to the playground to run around with strangers, go to a homeschool meet up to see some friends, or invite the neighbors over for a play date. My kids are instantly excited again, and I, too, benefit from the opportunity to converse with fellow moms.
If motherhood is boring, check to make sure that you’re not using bored as a synonym for “lonely” or “starved for adult conversation”. If you are, phone a friend. (If you need some ideas about how to make mom friends, you’ll find them here.)
When we’re on a car trip, and the kids get bored, I’ll often start pointing out interesting things just outside the window. Before long, the boys are pointing out license plates from other states or beautiful flowers on the highway median, and boredom is forgotten for a few minutes.
As a mom, I benefit from a similar strategy—simply taking some calm moments to notice what’s around me. As a general rule, I race through lunch, hardly tasting my food. However, sitting and enjoying the crunch of a cucumber or the creaminess of the salad dressing makes lunch both more peaceful and more interesting.
There are incredibly fascinating things all around us when we can slow down to really look at them. The next time you feel bored, take some time to just sit calmly and notice what you see, hear, smell, touch, and taste. It just might make life feel a little less stale.
Know when things aren’t right
Sometimes boredom can be a sign of depression. If you’ve tried the tactics listed above and are still feeling incredibly bored and unhappy, it might be time to look into professional help. Yes, many of us find weeks alone in the house with an infant boring. Playing Candyland for the tenth time in a row with my four-year-old always made me want to stick a fork in my eye.
Feeling bored for days at a time, though, especially while actively attempting to improve the situation, isn’t normal. You’d take your kids for help if worrisome symptoms persisted. Show the same kindness to yourself. Get help if you need it.
I hope you enjoyed these ideas for things to try when motherhood is boring. I’ll be pulling them out myself the next time life starts to seem ho-hum. Which, let’s face it, will probably be later this afternoon.
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