Tuesday, November 20, 2018

To the woman who thought my life must be boring

We stood on the sidewalk underneath the leafy trees. You gestured towards my apartment, and glanced at my tiny baby. "It must be so boring, being up there all day," you said. I don't fault you for thinking this way; in a culture that is fast-paced and career-focused, in a society that's forgotten the dignity of work and the value of leisure, how could you understand the adventures that fill my days as a stay-at-home mom?

I can't remember how I responded to you that day. I think I said something dismissive like, "Oh, life with a baby is always exciting." But this answer is trite and insufficient. What I really wanted to say goes much deeper, much further. I've been thinking about this conversation for the past two years, trying to come up with a way to help you and others understand-because you are not alone in your conclusion about my life. I've been told that my life consists of eating pizza and watching shows, and it's been assumed that I have copious amounts of time to read.

I don't know how people come up with these ideas. Do they just see a few pictures or status updates on social media and form a solid image of what they believe my life looks like? Or, perhaps people assume that if a woman is at home all day, every day (with the exception of small outings), she will run out of things to do and become lazy and bored? Maybe people have never experienced life in a household where a parent stays at home, so they just can't comprehend what it looks like? Maybe a combination of all of these is what causes people to draw certain conclusions about how I spend my days. 

It's time to set the record straight. So, to the woman who thought my life must be boring-here are a couple things I want you to know: 

Those photos on social media of my happy toddler baking or playing with his baby brother? Those are tiny snapshots of  brief blissful moments. Everyone is happy, so I can pull out a camera to record our fun adventures. "Be more authentic when posting online," some people say. First off, these delightful moments are authentic. Secondly, that's a great sentiment, but when I'm holding a nursing infant with one arm and using my other arm to help my toddler onto the toilet, I don't have a hand to take a picture so that I can "prove" to the online world that life isn't all cuddles and giggles. Furthermore, when I'm intensely focused on taking care of the kids and housework while things are crazy, I don't have the mental space to even think "hey, I should write about this experience and put it on social media later." 

You want an idea of what my life looks like? On a recent morning, within the span of two hours, my toddler had a crying/screaming fit, then he calmed down and sat happily with me and the baby while I started  writing a pattern down to crochet a hat for the baby, since the weather recently became cold. But about 5-10 minutes later, the toddler accidentally whipped my eyeball with a tape measure, and when I took the tape measure away from him he started crying loudly, which then made the baby really mad. Once I helped both boys calm down, we had a little bit of peace and quiet, but then my toddler started throwing tantrums so I had to put him in timeout twice. All the while, taking care of the baby and keeping my sanity intact. And this was just two hours out of the entire day. 

I don't tell this story to be overly dramatic or act like a martyr, but just to give a tiny sample of what life can look like. Incidents like the one from that morning happen frequently, since little kids are constantly learning and growing. There's also general housework that needs to be done, errands that have to be run, and meals that need to be made. All of this is often done to the music of my toddler asking, "MOMMY, WHAT ARE YOU DOING? MOMMY, WHAT DID YOU DO THIS MORNING? MOMMY, WHAT'S THAT?" on repeat all day long. 

It can be a little mentally exhausting at times. 

This is why it is so important to create times for relaxation and self-care each day. This is why, even though I love sleep, I haul myself out of bed extra-early a few times each week. This is one of the reasons why I pray throughout the day. This is why I'll often be in my pajamas by nine o'clock in the evening. 

Toddlers have a lot of energy, but even when I just had one baby, life was far from boring. Caring for a tiny human, making food, and completing various tasks that needed to be done filled my days. When I just had that one baby, there were more occasions of peaceful quiet when he napped, but even in those moments I wasn't bored-because I had so many activities I could do: writing letters to people, connecting with other bloggers, housekeeping , praying, or curling up with a book.  

Each day is an adventure, and when I wake up in the morning I have no idea how that day unfold. The boys may nap or play happily quite a bit, so I can make special foods for us, read, and write. Or, there may be lots of meltdowns and piles of laundry and messes to clean up. Often, we may have a crazy couple hours, and suddenly, the day will take a 180-degree turn and everything will be peaceful, until it flips around again. It is a roller-coaster. 

A couple weeks ago, if you would have stood on my block, you would have seen an 80-something year old man ambling down the street as my toddler I-while breastfeeding my baby-scampered along with him, trying to catch his dog. Just another day in my life, I thought.

It may be exhausting and occasionally overwhelming, but I love this life. It's messy and at times stressful, but it's also really, really beautiful. 

So, dear woman who thought my life must be boring, I hope you can start to see that my days are anything but dull. Raising little human beings and cultivating our domestic church is a thrilling and wild adventure, and I hope you can begin to understand that. If anything, maybe you are now able to grow in appreciation that you can visit the bathroom by yourself. 


  1. What a beautiful post! As a brand new SAHM, I related to so many parts of this. It is a messy adventure, but so blessed! :)

    1. Thank you, Elisabeth. I am so happy for you that you get to be a SAHM! I think it only gets better (though more exhausting) as time goes on, too :)

  2. Replies
    1. I'm so glad you enjoyed this, Sarah! Thanks so much!

  3. Wonderful. I loved this. I sent my MIL a picture of Gracie’s first pigtails when she was a baby, and she responded with “well clearly you have nothing better to do with your time.” Ugh.

  4. I think that some personalities genuinely do find it boring to stay at home a lot--I have friends who I swear never spend any unnecessary time in their own homes. Me...I love being at home. I often wish I could be home more. I told Angel a snapshot of my day yesterday which involved a game of Candyland and how during one simple game we had to take two time outs to talk about life lessons about how friends are more important than games and that grabbing pieces out of others' hands is not respectful or loving. Always an adventure!