I’m treading on a sacred cow today. Who ever tells their mom they’re boring? What husband can look at his wife and say, “I really have no interest in your discussion about little Johnny’s bowel movements today,” and walk away with head intact?
We moms have a whole day dedicated to us, a day filled with spring flowers, macaroni crafts, occasionally sparkly jewelry. We earned this day with stories of 36 hour labor, sleepless nights, and generous helpings of mama-guilt.
But, listen, ladies. Admit it. We’re pretty boring.
- We become cautious. Before I was a mom I was an avid snowboarder. Lizard and I would hit the slopes every chance we got and laugh when we took spills, dare each other to go faster, and generally take risks. Then I had Uno. Suddenly I was worried the lift cables would break and I’d die. I wondered if it was really wise to keep participating in such a high-risk activity when we hadn’t declared a guardian. The world switched from a place of promise to a place of imminent danger. “Proceed with caution” became my mantra.
- Our world narrows. There is a period of time where our experiences shrink, typically the first six weeks after giving birth (but sometimes lasting until the last little one moves out of the house). Our attention shifts to caregiving, homemaking. We worry about BPA, hormone-free milk, or suffocation hazards, we watch the suds in our front loading washing machines swish around and around, then shake our heads 30 minutes later and wonder what happened. We stop caring about the wider world and focus our laser-beam attention on a lump of flesh with 10 perfect, tiny toes and a constant stream of drool.
- Conversations become inappropriate. About six months after Dos was born I was invited to attend a staff meeting. I looked at the people who would become my colleagues and tried to figure out what to say to them that didn’t involve lactation, bowel movements, feeding schedules, vomit, or laundry. It took weeks before I felt confident in giving my opinion in a workplace I was qualified to participate in… because my brain was consumed by topics you generally don’t mention in public.
- We don’t want to be touched and feel entitled. In general, moms don’t want to be touched much. After dedicating your body to small, wiggling beings for 17 hours a day, there’s not much left in the physical touch love tank. If anyone so much as breathes that this might be a problem we combust, feeling like we are owed an homage of subservience because of the sacrifices we make on a daily, moment-by-moment basis.
- We are jealous. Shhh! Don’t tell anyone, but moms are jealous harpies. We envy our husbands their jobs, our single friends their ability to carry a tiny purse, our family members their vacation, and any woman whose hips haven’t spread. Heck, we are jealous of anyone who wears make up and showers regularly!
Add all of this up and you’ve got a whole crop of women who are boring. Booorrrriiinnnnggg.
The kicker is: I don’t know a single mom who wants to be boring. Every mom I know has a longing in her heart for the careful young gal she used to be.
Not that we’d trade our kids in. As challenging and difficult as they are, as the switch in identity becomes, we’d keep the kids. After all, they’re ours!
But we don’t want to be boring, either. So, what’s a girl to do?
Here are a few tips:
1. Read. Read widely, read out of your comfort zone. Look for interesting stories and when you find something fascinating, file it away as a conversation piece for later.
2. Speak with your hands and animate your face. When you talk to people, get involved in the story! Look like you’re excited about it and they’ll get excited, too.
3. Have goals. Take the time to set goals and revise them as appropriate. Realize you’re in a season and it won’t last forever… unless you don’t have a road map of where you’re going next. “If you fail to plan, you plan to fail.” You’re the only one who can make you interesting.
4. Convert boredom to peace. Change your attitude from one of hopeless waiting to peaceful acceptance. Admire those soap bubbles from the washing machine. Think about how they were created, how the currents of the soap achieve the highest level of cleanliness for your clothing… elevate your thinking process!
5. Take a walk. Get outside of your environment and really look at the world. Listen to it. Analyze it. Be curious. Remember life is not all about you.
6. Laugh. Look for the opportunities to chuckle until your bladder is compromised. Search out the unexpected. Practice smiling. Reset your personal thermostat to enjoyment… and people will flock around you.
7. Take a walk down memory lane. Stop to remember the girl filled with life. Figure out what triggers there were to making that person effervescent and see if you can recreate any of them in your day-to-day existence. Call up a good friend just to refresh the memory of “that one time” you did something outrageous!
8. Be silly. Spin around for as long as you possibly can without vomiting or passing out, and then sit down and close your eyes. It’ll make you smile, simply because you know what a fool you would look like if anyone came into the room, but also because you’ve spun around so much you’re dizzy and possibly hysterical.
9. Use your imagination. We challenge our kids to do this all the time – but what about you? How would you act if you were a queen? A homeless waif? A glamorous movie star? A ballerina? A construction worker? A farmer? Practice different voices and create imaginary scenery and people.
10. Ask for help. Talk to your friends, your husband, your family about needing a break. Somehow, someway, you can almost always find two hours a week of quiet time to reflect and breathe. But no one will volunteer to help if they don’t know you’re in need… so be courteous of other’s time but don’t be shy!
What suggestions do you have for getting out of the boring cycle?