I am not a cruise director. I am not a clown, or a juggler. I do not eat flaming swords. I am not here for your amusement. This is the stream of consciousness that flows through my head when my kids proclaim “I am boooored.” I could not possibly care less. I have many roles in my kids’ lives: nurse, teacher, chauffeur, nurturer, cuddler, chef, the list goes on. But one thing I am not is their entertainer.
I remember talking to a fellow mom once during summer break and her frantically panicking about what she would possibly do with her daughter the following day. She rattled off all of the things they had already done this week: aquarium, boardwalk, bike riding, one of those insane bouncing places, Chuck E. Cheese, pottery making, bird house constructing, makeover-giving, homemade slime making . . . the list went on and on. I kind of need a glass of wine just sitting here typing it all. And don’t get me wrong, those all sound like a blast and they are all things I have done with my kids— just not in the span of one week. I remember getting off the phone with her because her kid had stomped in with yet another declaration of boredom and so off she went to figure out what she could do to cure this insipid affliction plaguing her daughter.
In fact, I see kids being pacified when the risk of boredom rears its ugly head everywhere I go. Kids with their noses stuck to their iPads in the carts at Shoprite, children staring at Dad’s phone watching Paw Patrol while waiting at the DMV, etc. And it makes me wonder: why are we so scared of our kids getting bored?
I like when my kids are bored. I revel in it a bit. Because what normally follows is them embarking on some fantastical game of imagination flying on dragons or looking for dinosaurs down the supermarket aisles or any other number of possibilities my long-forgotten inner-child could never have come up with in the first place. And even if that’s not the case, even if we are sitting in a doctor’s office (of the non-pediatric kind anyway) and imaginative games are off the table, I like my kids to be bored sometimes. That’s life. I don’t want to raise them to believe that every minute of every day is fun. It’s not. Many of those minutes are filled with inane tasks and remedial chores and general suckage. And I want my kids to know that. I want them to learn the art of just sitting still and dealing with something they don’t want to for a bit.
Parenting these days is tough. I guarantee you our mothers didn’t care if we were bored. They would’ve sent us outside and told us not to come home until it was dark. Our generation takes parenting VERY seriously, and while that has led to some really awesome stuff, it’s also exhausting. In the interest of keeping up with the “we must do it all perfectly” notions of parenthood, we sometimes put on more hats than our mere-mortal heads can carry. So next time your kiddo trots in and declares, “But Mooooom . . . I’m booooored,” don’t forget “That’s nice dear,” is a perfectly acceptable response.
Originally published on the author’s blog