I get bored by my child – and that’s okay

Me watching the Popple walk down a dark alleyway

I’m supposed to treasure every second, notice every smile, delight in each new discovery and savour every hug. That’s what the Facebook memes tell me. You know the ones I’m talking about, where words like, “All the kids grow up so fast, so add the joy and make it last!” are overlaid over photos of happy-looking children in a field of flowers at sunset. They appear in my feed to try to guilt me into loving each moment, which is never going to happen, because some moments are crap.

I try to make the most of my time with my daughter, like most parents do. Usually it’s not hard. Now that she’s pretty much over her I-hate-everything-including-sleep phase, it’s mostly fun to hang out with her.

But sometimes it’s boring. Reeaallly boring.

In between all the squishy hugs, belly laughs and adorable babbling, there are times when she just wants to stand at the top of a staircase for 20 minutes. Or run around the coffee table. Or remove every single item from my handbag, then put each one back in again. Time stretches out in these moments, and it can feel like we’re going to do this forever. Chapstick out. Chapstick in. Gum out. Gum in. Receipts out. Receipts in.

I can’t pretend that these moments feel like gifts. If they are gifts, they’re like those scented candles that you got from your co-worker at your office Secret Santa party – you weren’t really into them, but you had to pretend to like them anyway because it’s not okay to say, “Hey, these kind of suck.”

I doubt that I’m going to look back on the times I spent watching my daughter walk back and forth across the living room repeatedly and decide that they were actually really special after all. They will remain times when I wished I was doing just about anything else. Times when I hated the fact that I had to hide my mobile phone to keep her from stealing it, which meant that I couldn’t distract myself with Twitter or Facebook. Times when I wondered whether I was the only one who thought their child wasn’t always very interesting.

I suppose we can’t demand that our children entertain us all the time. That’s a lot of pressure to put on little kids, if you think about it. I know I’m not always fun and witty. Sometimes I just want to lay on the couch and stare off into space while thinking about good names for fat cats (Mungo, Chester, Boomer). Why should I expect my daughter to always be at the top of her fun game when I’m not?

Children should be allowed to be boring sometimes, and parents should be allowed to be bored by them. And, in the longest, dullest childcare moments, parents should try to remember that although it may feel like they will never end, they will. Soon enough your child will start drawing on your walls with a crayon or running around the house with a pair of your underwear on their head, and you may find yourself wishing that they were just a little less exciting.

This post was originally published on The Huffington Post.

17 Comment

  1. Touché sister. Well said. I believe that there learning in the quiet momes of boredom too. Like you said, kids need to be bored sometimes and they need this so that they can appreciate action and activities, creative or otherwise. Besides, we don’t want to raise jerks who expect the work entertain them at their will. They need to learn to make moments for themselves. I loved how you make your point in such a funny yet meaningful way.
    Suchitra recently posted…Homemade No Cook Almost Organic Play Dough & Cookie Cutter CreativityMy Profile

  2. Jeez so many typos. Delete current words and/or insert – in (learning), moments, world to (entertain) in the appropriate places. Sorry about that
    Suchitra recently posted…Homemade No Cook Almost Organic Play Dough & Cookie Cutter CreativityMy Profile

  3. Love this, it’s so true. As a SAHM you just described my life!

    #bigpinklink
    The Tale of Mummyhood recently posted…A Controlled Crying DiaryMy Profile

  4. Yep sometimes TM is extremely dull. Like when he wants to just open and close a door. Or even how it takes an hour to eat a meal (although I can muck around on my phone while he does that so it’s not all bad). I think we do a good job of treasuring most moments, and that’s just fine! #bigpinklink
    Ellen recently posted…A rude awakeningMy Profile

  5. Motherhood isn’t always fun activities, brilliant photo opportunities and giggles. There was times in the day when you are literally sat looking at your child thinking how are you entertained BUT you know what they are happy, you are happy and all is well 🙂 Lovely relateable post x #bigpinklink

  6. I love this post! You’ve absolutely hit the nail on the head, sometimes it is so boring and yet these memes tell us that we are supposed to be treasuring every moment of watching Mr Tumble…again. It’s absolutely ok for us to be bored and our toddlers to be boring too.
    Bridie By The Sea recently posted…Thank You For Making It All PossibleMy Profile

    1. Just popping back again from #dreamteam to say thanks for linking up! Love this post xx
      Bridie By The Sea recently posted…Surrender to SleepMy Profile

  7. The boredom, the monotony…I totally agree. I always said that I wasn’t ‘earth mother’ because I found it so dull at times. There is no guilt in feeling this way. We just get through it the best we can and really enjoy the stimulating times – with and without the kids. Alison x #DreamTeam
    Alison (MadHouseMum) recently posted…Blog in a FogMy Profile

  8. Yep, it can be sooooooooooooo boring at times. The monotony can be like torture. We can be made to feel guilty and unnatural for feeling this way. I remember baby groups where I used to will someone to talk about something that wasn’t baby related. Yep. However, the amazing moments make-up for it 🙂 #dreamteam
    Emma Island Living 365 recently posted…Women will always be society’s biggest losersMy Profile

  9. Absolutely. Parenting isn’t amazing all of the time. It isn’t fun or easy, it can be boring and BLOODY HARD WORK. And admitting that should bring absolutely zero shame at all. #dreamteam
    Rach recently posted…Comment on Girl Code. What Girl Code? by Lianne HarrisMy Profile

  10. I’m so glad you wrote this. I often have moments like this. I’m happy to let my daughter empty and refill her pot of raisins / box of wooden animals / book box. What I’m less happy about is the fact I have to sit and watch or join in rather than drinking my tea / going on my blog. Like you, I have to hide my phone. The laptop is an absolute no. TV which isn’t Peppa, Frozen or music vids gets ‘No, no no’-ed. Toddlers are, indeed, only interesting some of the time! #FamilyFun
    Angela Watling recently posted…I really love being a mummyMy Profile

  11. Soooo true. This post made me giggle. I actually caught myself the other day about to tell my friend who is a new mom, to enjoy every second. Instead, I let her know she won’t enjoy every second and that’s okay.

  12. he he you are completely right! Whats with the desire to hang out at the top of the stairs. It doesn’t make sense. His bookshelf is at the top of our stairs but he doesn’t even look at this. Just plays on the stairs. Running (crawling) back and forth. Another reason I almost wish I installed stair gates! Thanks for linking up to #FamilyFun
    Karen : TwoTinyHands recently posted…#FamilyFun Week 7My Profile

  13. So very true. There are definitely moments when parenthood is really quite dull and you really can’t enjoy every moment. Yes there will be things that we look back on and miss but the moments like you have described probably won’t be amongst them. Or if they are, we’ll be looking at them through rose-tinted specs and not really remembering them properly anyway! #FamilyFun
    Louise (Little Hearts, Big Love) recently posted…This is our normalMy Profile

  14. It can’t be fun and games all the time, and children need to learn to entertain themselves. Don’t feel bad about sometimes ignoring them. Claire x #bigpinklink

  15. Ha ha! I agree! There is only so many times I van watch a car go down a ramp before I am looking around for a distraction! The problem is we need to be stimulated mentally and in these moments that just isn’t happening. Understandably so! It is a good think to be bored as it shows that even though they are doing something You don’t enjoy you are letting Them do it and have fun. That is you being a great parent! X
    Laura: Adventures with J recently posted…Canvasdesign Silver Canvas Print ReviewMy Profile

  16. You’re so right. Trying to get ready for work in the morning to turn around to find your tie half hanging out of the toilet isn’t too much fun. Of course, I laugh about it later but at 6:30am on a Monday morning it’s pretty tedious.
    #familyfun
    David – Potty Adventures recently posted…Salomon X-Ultra Mid 2 GTX ReviewMy Profile

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