Balancing act

No one is going to feel sorry for me when I say that I am bored.

It sounds privileged and snotty even to me, but there you have it. I am.

I am on average either completely alone (someone's napping or asleep therefore leaving me by myself) or with a 2-year old the majority of my day. I get adult interaction for roughly an hour in the morning consisting of, "What do you want for breakfast?", "Please take the trash out," "Don't forget your lunch," and "Bye, love you!" kiss, kiss; and for approximately 3 hours in the evening, which then includes "How was your day, dear?" "Do you want wine/beer/seconds?" a walk around the block and a [usually] quite pleasant chat about who's going to launch the bedtime sequence followed by a little Hulu or a movie or a nightcap.

I know.

Not all that bad, right??

Well, here's the thing: I don't really know who that person is. This woman in a box. I can coerce friends to hang out with me and my little 2 year old pal about twice a month. If you multiply that by maybe 2-3 friends, that's maybe 6 adult interactions, which last no more than 2 hours each. That's 12 hours of grown-up time on my own terms (and even then that's being largely generous for two reasons: 1) "my terms" aren't even remotely close to what I have and 2) I think I usually see one friend once a month - the other numbers are purely fantasy). Add to that Anthony's travel schedule and for a large part of the time I'm 100% on my own.

Today I ran errands and kept seeing UPS trucks zipping around. Their drivers so full of energy, things to do, places to go, deadlines to keep, and I was jealous. Jealous that I have to scramble to fill a day with a wonderfully precocious, inquisitive little boy in order to do right by him. This should come easily to me, right? If I were a good mother, I wouldn't have to work so hard to be present or real or energetic. I wish I had a schedule of deliveries just like those men in brown.

I know there are some of you out there rolling your eyes at me as you juggle full- or part-time jobs, exes, and multiple children and you think I'm spoiled or just plain ridiculous. But here's the bottom line: I have too much time on my hands. When I was working, going to school, being pregnant, decorating a house, nursing an infant, raising a baby, whatever, I was so busy that I didn't even think about boredom or loneliness. There's a reason why so many people bury themselves in work/their kids/whatever: it's distracting from the rest of their lives and they don't have to feel badly about themselves.

I don't have that luxury. Hollis is so easy, and leaping into full-blown independence. My marriage is intact and a safe haven. My family is nearby and supportive. My health is solid. I don't have anything to immerse myself into anymore and I am adrift and overwrought with time, plain and simple.

If I were simply trying to survive this wouldn't be a problem. If all I did was think about how to connect the next dot this wouldn't be a problem. But I don't, because I am privileged. My partner makes plenty of money for me to stay home with Hollis. I am a minority. I am oh, so lucky. I am also, oh so confused.

I've seriously been considering getting a job, but we plan on leaving the state soon and so that's an obstacle to work; we're also planning on expanding our family which means that starting a career here is a little less than futile. I'm also not entirely ok with the idea of putting Hollis into daycare just because I'm having a hard time - never mind the fact that what kind of work could I possibly do that would pay for the day care?? Anyway, you see where I'm going with this. Yes, I'm privileged to stay home, but we really can't afford for me to work only part-time or make less than a full-blown salary, either.

Being a stay at home mom is a balancing act of finesse, skill, determination, and intelligence and right now the scales are tipped off balance leaving me restless, bored, sad, and guilt-ridden. I love Hollis more than anything else, adore what I do with him day in and day out, but I am left somehow hollow. How can this be??

I don't know what else to say except that, again, I am struggling. Confused. Restless.

Always fucking struggling. I'm so tired of this.

I wish a UPS truck would just come and deliver me. Somewhere. Anywhere. Just for a weekend. I feel like if I could just get a weekend by myself, as myself, I could feel right again. I just need a tracking number...


  1. If you are bored, there are lots and lots of charities that could use help, I'm sure MANY you could work on from home --- it's also a good way to get perspective. But, i think a lot of stay at home moms go through what you are going through. You just need to shake things up a bit, it will help keep you busy and get perspective......easier said than done. for sure.

  2. I have had to step way outside my comfort zone and actively cultivate friendships with other women who have kids around the same age as mine. Honestly, it's the only way that I am able to stay remotely sane. That, and having some interests of my own to pursue. They don't have to be HUGE, just projects that are all my own and not for someone else.

    Good luck. This stuff can be really hard. And for me, it's always worse at this time of year when it's darker. I hope that you find some peace soon.

  3. I remember feeling like this—like my mind was turning into baby-fine pureed peaches. Thankfully I found a baby & mom class where I met a couple of very cool women in my same situation and we formed a walking group where we met with our kids once a week and went on an outing. We took turns planning these and they involved walking which helped all of us.

    I also found a daycare where I could take my daughter for three hours once a week. I used the time just for me. I wrote or I painted. Later I found a class that was just for me. It really helped. Good luck. I know it can be tough.

  4. What about finding a mommy group in your area? That way you won't have to part with Hollis and get to meet new people. Or have your husband have a "daddy day" with him during one day on the weekend and go pamper yourself. Or find something that fulfills you that you can do at home - like writing stories for example, because you write so well. Anyway, sorry for my lame advice. I hope you find what you are looking for :)

  5. You're all right, a thousand times over. I'm going to recommit myself to the Meetup groups I joined and I'm also going to look into some kind of volunteer work I can do (with Hollis in tow).

    It's not all bad... I just need to figure out what to do with all this extra head space!

    Thank you for all your support and terrific suggestions!!

  6. Do not beat yourself up so much! Please! It happens, and we all go through it. Take up a hobby - scrapbook digitally or otherwise, read, the holidays are coming bake and decorate! Enjoy the time of quiet because once Hollis starts school you will be amazed at how busy you will be.

    That is my 2 cents.

  7. I'm there, too - but mine are school-aged. It's a privilege - you're absolutely right - but it is almost overwhelmingly boring.

    I want a tracking number, too.

  8. I'm reminded of the post you did when you got to really be yourself again. You went out, downtown, met your friends, had some drinks, etc, etc... remember that one? Remember how good you felt after that little excursion? Go do it again. It's okay to need that.

  9. A hobby could help. When my boys were little, their dad-a workaholic--was never home. And this was back before computers. I read lots! I took an evening class in the adult ed program at the high school. I took up sewing and made all my own clothes and some for the boys. Before you know it, they'll be grown up and gone. I know that's hard to believe now, but looking back from my perspective, that time flew by so fast.

  10. The days I am happiest are the ones where I have seen friends or other parents. I would be so lost without meeting other moms for lunch or playgroups. One thing that was great for me was registering for a playgroup because you would always see the same people each week. I also have my daughterin preschool and it is great for her and good for me.

  11. I was so excited to finally move off Sesame Street... i so craved adult interaction... my kids are 15 and 18 now and i am still here and most importantly still sane... you will get through it... :-)

  12. Sorry to butt in on a blog I just discovered this minute, but I just want to say how appreciative I am of someone else saying that parenting can be dang boring. I say that sometimes and get blank stares and wonder if that makes me A Bad Mother.

    We found a twice-a-week half-day preschool thing that gives me 3.5 hours twice a week to write my heart out (doing NaNoWriMo right now -- ok, procrastinating on NaNoWriMo right now). I also take a ballet class once a week. Those things make me feel like myself. Is there anything you can do to feel centered and that you would value? If money doesn't cover any childcare, maybe a babysitting co-op with some friends -- it would do double duty to get you connected with other parents plus give you some time to yourself.

  13. Oh honey! I'm in the same boat as you right now. I feel so guilty because I have a great family, a husband who can afford for me to stay at home, and I love my children so much. Somehow getting through the day is getting rougher and rougher. It may sound strange too, but going to a mommy group doesn't appeal to me. I don't want to sit around and talk about my kids all day. I want interaction that doesn't involve talks about potty training etc.

    My suggestion is to take pleasure in the small things (like I"m going to get my hair done today), and hope this too shall pass. I had the same problem with my little boy when he was a baby and now I'm going through it again with my second. It does eventually pass and you'll feel like super mom again!

  14. I hear ya! I think a lot of us are feeling the same things right now trying to balance it all. Don't be so hard on yourself. It's okay to be tired. It's okay to whine, bitch, gripe and feel bored. You're entitled to your feelings and it's healthy for you to vent. You're in a good community of women, online, who are here to listen, support you, and not be judgemental.

  15. Maybe you need to pursue something that is just for you. A class, a group of some sort, volunteering, etc. When my girls where little I joined a book club. It met once a month and I wasn't sure if I would even be able to read one book in a month, but it was something I did for me. Adult time. In the evening. And it was something I loved - reading. Slowly I added more once a month grownup activities -a woman's club and a bunco group. None of these things were world changing or overly intellectual, but they allowed me to keep a part of myself. My adult, non-mommy self. It was a life saver. Think about things you are interested in or passionate about and pursue one of them in an informal and casual way. I think you will feel more energized and less bored. And a weekend away is always good, too. But you need something on a more regular basis. Good luck!

  16. You're right. It is a privilege to get to stay home (and I must admit to being a little jealous) but I can imagine that it does get hard - and boring.

    Maybe...a local writer's group? And a non-bloggy writing project?

    By the way, you're not a bad mom for having to scramble for ways to entertain Hollis. You're just human.

  17. while I have really no idea whatsoever what you are going through - I am not a mom and sadly I never will be (though I am a stepmom and I don't take that role lightly!) - I CAN relate with the struggling bit. Some people just have a tendancey to struggle, even though on the surface everything seems to be perfect, priviledged, special. Many people, especially, my family and friends in the States, have no idea what I could be so miserable about... after all I live in Europe, it must be so glamourous and exquisite. Yeah, I pay half of my salary in taxes and can barely make ends meet, live in a shoebox and have hardly any friends. No matter WHAT people think or see on the surface only YOU know how you really feel. You deserve your feelings and you are entitled to them. BUT, it's also up to you (us!) to find ways to make things better. If you are lonely, then yes, volunteer, or find a group or a club, or take the suggestion of Hollis going to daycare just a few hours a week. I'm not going to judge you for feeling the way you do just as I would hope no one would judge me :)

  18. Take up knitting or crochet! It sounds old fashioned but it's really opend up a whole group of women friends for me. We meet as a group sometimes with the kids sometimes without (you NEED to do both!) and we talk as adults and not always about the kids! It has been a mind and life saver for me! I've been a mom for 21 years now. And I am so grateful that I had the first five yesrs with my kids at home with me and now I am doubly(?) grateful that even though they are all in school I still get to stay home and be here when they get home. I'm babbling now but I so feel your pain. I was there.