Shop the fall collection ➔


“I’m bored”: Two little words that can send your blood pressure through the roof in the blink of an eye. Bored? BORED???? Oh really? I have an idea—maybe you could get out the new video game that was the only thing you wanted for your birthday (I mean, besides the other things you wanted).

Did you forget about the miniature spa I bought for your dolls so they could be treated better than I was on my wedding day? Have you looked in that room, you know the one, we moms trickily call “the PLAY room?” It’s filled with toys, and games and crap you could not live without. The stuff that I ran around to seven stores like a crazy person trying to find on December 23rd when you spontaneously up and changed your wish list.

If there is a mom that exists who hasn’t threatened to give away every toy in the house to children that would appreciate them, I would like to meet her and give her a big ol’ high five…and possibly offer her my children. The last (of many) times my kids uttered those two words, I channeled my inner Zen (OK, I had a glass of Pinot) and realized it wasn’t that they had nothing to do. It was that they had so much to do that they couldn’t process it all. To save everyone’s sanity, my family created an “I’m Bored List,” and you can too with this simple battle plan:

Step 1. Make a list of categories for all the activities around your house: board games, toys, crafts, indoor activities, outdoor activities, make believe, etc.

Step 2: Call a family meeting (i.e., sit down for dinner)…preferably with a bag of M&Ms in hand (hey, bribery works).

Step 3. Tell your crew that you are going to play a game. Category-by-category go around the table and have everyone start listing things you have to do in your house that could fit into each category. Games, for example, could be Monopoly, checkers, UNO, etc. For each contribution, they get an M&M (win) and you get an idea to add to your list (win). You’ll be shocked by all of the, “Oh yea, I forgot about that game!” “That used to be my favorite!” and “We haven’t played that in forever!”

Step 4. Have everyone count their M&Ms. Announce (in dramatic fashion) that the number of M&Ms around the table are the number of things there are to do around your house (allow the smile to spread across your face as you declare victory in the war to prove that boredom is not humanly possible in your household).

Step 5. Type up all of the ideas and hang your new “I’m Bored List” in a prominent place in your home. Every time you hear those two evil little words, simply point to the list and voila!

Step 6 (optional, but recommended.)  In the rare case that the “I’m Bored List” fails to entertain, it’s always good to have a back up. I’ve found that simply adding the line: “If you still cannot find anything to do on the ‘I’m Bored List,’ come see mom for the ‘Chores List’” does the trick!

Laurie Larsh

Laurie Larsh is a freelance writer & travel blogger. She has paraglided in the Swiss Alps, hiked a glacier in Norway and jumped off a 1,400-year-old Italian bridge--none of which have prepared her for parenting tweens. Check out her travel insights for adults and kids at

I Love it When You Smile at Me

In: Kids, Motherhood
Little girl in wheel chair with classmates, color photo

I gained a bit of insight today. We were walking past the checkout at the store this afternoon when we came upon a mom and her children, waiting in the checkout line.   RELATED: A Simple Invitation Means the World To a Special Needs Parent My daughter Chloe rolled by them in her wheelchair. I watched, as I often do, as the children noticed her. One girl about Chloe’s age smiled at her as we walked by. As soon as we had passed them, Chloe turned to me and said . . . “She’s the first person to smile at me!”  Let me say I...

Keep Reading

It’s Okay to Say No to the Promposal

In: Kids, Teen
Boy holding pink sign saying "Prom with me?"

Promposals are cute.  But, even for the sweetest questions, it’s okay if the answer is not yes. I have more boys than girls at my house so the whole meet the boy asking your girl out with a gun posts don’t sit well with me. Boys and girls have an equally hard time negotiating friendships and relationships in high school, and I care equally for both. A young man spent some time, told his friends, made a cute sign, and planned to ask my daughter to a dance. A friend of my daughters mentioned he might ask (and even made...

Keep Reading

I Wipe the Slides

In: Kids, Motherhood
boy on slide

I want you to have the most fun possible at your tiny playground stars program, so I wipe the slides. I don’t want you to have a meltdown if your clothes get wet while I’m gone, so I wipe the slides. I want to have three precious hours of only managing your little sister, so I wipe the slides. RELATED: I’d Rather Serve My Kids Than Have Them be “Self-Sufficient” I don’t want you to feel embarrassed by a big reaction to wet clothes when I’m not there to help you, so I wipe the slides. I want you to...

Keep Reading

One Day You’ll Outgrow Being My Little Boy—But Not Today

In: Kids, Motherhood, Tween
Mother and two sons back-to-school picture, color photo

One day you will come home after your first day of a new school year and not wish to share a single thing. Not today. Today, you got into the car and talked non-stop about every second of your day. I was delighted!  One day you will not have countless first-day forms for me to sign and return the next day. Not today. I signed my name at least four times. I was happy to grant permission for you to play sports, learn algebra, and do whatever else I gave my permission for.  One day you will not allow me...

Keep Reading

The Sports Mom Shows Up For Her Kids, No Matter What

In: Kids, Motherhood
Youth baseball game

We’re nearing the end of club baseball/softball season, and the burnout is real. The time away from home, burning through gas to get somewhere for two hours with half your house packed only to pack back up and turn around and drive to the next two-hour destination is insane. I don’t even like the sport right now. There . . . I said it. I’m so sick of softball fields and wind-blown dirt in my face. I’ve seen so many balls thrown in the last two months that my eyes hurt. But I still show up. I love to see...

Keep Reading

Having Babies and Toddlers Is Exhausting—but So, So Sweet

In: Baby, Kids, Motherhood, Toddler
Family of four with baby and toddler on bed

I took the girls to one of our favorite coffee shops last week and all around me were parents of babies and toddlers. Their little ones ran about in the grassy area out back, toddling up and down the lawn, when it suddenly hit me with perfect clarity—the sun has nearly set on this season for me. It was a realization marked by internal tension, a mourning of the loss of one season contrasted by the joyful anticipation at the arrival of the next. It came out of nowhere and hit me like a tidal wave. Having five kids in...

Keep Reading

3 Common Phrases to Avoid Saying to Your Kids (and What To Say Instead)

In: Kids, Motherhood
Mother sitting with young boy on couch

Learning to love yourself is hard work. I did not grow up loving myself. Instead, I always felt inadequate, and I felt the need to change myself to prove my worth.  I want more for my kids. I want my kids to know their inherent value and worth. I want to empower my kids to love and accept themselves.  My self-love journey, aided by the expertise of a counselor, has helped me realize there are some narratives from my childhood I needed to unlearn. I had to accept my emotions as helpful and not something to be pushed down. I...

Keep Reading

They Love Each Other (and Sometimes They Don’t)

In: Kids, Motherhood
Toddler girl lying with big brother, color photo

When I was pregnant with his baby sister, Forest kissed my belly and talked about all the wonderful things he would do with this little girl he already loved so much. His plans changed, however, after she was born, and the thing he wanted to do the most with her was place her gently in the trash can. Some mornings he would kiss her softly, other mornings he would walk into the room where I’d be nursing her and say, “Her doesn’t look precious to ME.” Two and a half years later, Forest’s feelings toward Grace remain about the same....

Keep Reading

As a Mother, I Matter Too

In: Kids, Motherhood
Mother and daughter in living room

“What’s more important than me, Mammy?” my daughter asked. I looked at her, and she was looking at me. Her question wasn’t harsh or accusatory, it was curious. She was curious. We were in the kitchen, I was at the table working, and she asked me to help her find something. I told her I was finishing up some important work and then I would play with her. This is when she asked me what was more important than her. I bit my tongue to stop the words that wanted to rush out of my mouth. I wanted to proclaim...

Keep Reading

Dear Daughter, Follow Your Beautiful Heart

In: Faith, Kids
Mother and daughter smiling

When I held you in my arms for the first time, it was like time stopped. As you looked up at me with innocence and new life, I was struck by the reality that my main role in your life would be to guide and direct you on the right path. I hoped I would do the best job possible. As I watched you grow, I basked in your joy of putting on your pretty dresses, adorned with layers of costume jewelry, parading around the house for your father and me to see. I dreamed often of what path you...

Keep Reading