Being a stay-at-home mom means that when someone I haven’t seen in a while asks “what’s new?” my response has often been “nothing.” Most of the time this is a good thing. After all, no news is good news. I realize that for many people the thought of being bored sounds wonderful. If you’re overworked, too stressed out, experiencing difficulties in your life or even something worse, the idea of monotony might sound like a holiday.
I have experienced all of these things in their time. But the fact is that the daily routines of life with kids can be incredibly monotonous. I love my kids and I like being home with them but often it feels like whatever I did during the day is undone by the end of the day. I did the dishes but now the sink is full again. I spent a lot of time on laundry but now the laundry basket is full, and so on. For someone like me, who likes the feeling of accomplishing a lot in a day, being home full time can be frustrating. I’m on my feet most of the day and exhausted by the end of it but it looks (and feels) as though nothing really has been accomplished.
If you’re bored with your life and you are willing and able to make changes there’s a lot you can do. Move. Apply for a new job. Join a club, take a class, meet new people. Volunteer.
But if you’re not ready or able to make a big change and you’re frustrated with your daily routines, the best thing you can do is shift your focus. This is not a new idea. Prayer and and gratitude journals are two ways that some people refocus their minds and neither requires a major time or financial commitment. These things can be great when you are feeling stressed or overwhelmed.
But what I was suffering from wasn’t too much on my mind, it was not enough. I realized that I needed a project, something not related to household tasks. I needed something new. And then I realized that quite possibly the best way to survive monotony when you can’t change your circumstances is to learn something new. Think of a fresh bouquet of flowers placed in an dull room. Bring in the new to brighten up the old.
As busy as I was I found that there are actually a lot of things you can learn to do that take relatively little time. If nothing else, you can search YouTube for instructional videos on just about anything. But I decided to take a short class at my local Michaels store, which offers various crafting classes for a fee.
Learning how to crochet gave me something to focus on when I felt that my mind was stagnating. With my new skill, I could pick a project and work it through to the end. The feeling of accomplishment that I’d been lacking was achieved, if only in a small way.
I have made a lot of scarves for myself and others but now I’ve decided to move on to something a little more challenging – crocheting a blanket for my daughter. It’s slow going since I don’t have a lot of time to dedicate to it but the point is that I am making progress on something, creating something. My daughter is excitedly awaiting her new blanket (made by mom, with love!) and I have a project that gives me something to focus on besides the never-ending cycle of dishes and laundry.
It might sound trivial but sometimes the best way to break up monotony when you can’t make any big changes is to find a small project that interests you and brings you some satisfaction. It doesn’t have to be crafty. Find something that matches your personality, abilities, and interests. If you are able to give something to someone else with what you learn, even better.
As for me, there will be a time in the future for major changes, more time committed to volunteering and working outside the home. The kids will get older and need less from me and I’ll be able to move on to bigger ideas and projects.
But in the meantime, our new scarves and blankets will keep us all cozy and warm.
HAVE YOU EVER TAKEN IT UPON YOURSELF TO LEARN SOMETHING NEW?