Warning: Future Disengaged Teen Ahead
My daughter has just started uttering the “I’m bored” phrase, although she willingly admits to not having a clue as to it’s meaning, yet. But she gets that it is a proclamation of dissatisfaction. Maybe she wants me to stop cooking and cleaning and play with her. Maybe she wants to do something other than what is available in the house. But I don’t know… I think it’s more than that. I think she is tapping into a sentiment that is like an epidemic in the USA (maybe other western cultures, as well). Because, although I hate the term bored, I also feel that way all the time. Not that I have nothing to do… I have to clean, I have to cook, I’m supposed to exercise. I’d much rather facebook binge and stall than do any of it, though, and the reason is because it’s so uninspiring. That’s what boredom is to me. My job, my day, my routine… it’s got nothing in it that makes me feel enthusiastic, most of the time. It’s just another wash, rinse, repeat cycle. So I get it, it’s boring. It’s unsatisfying, and it’s uninspiring. At three years old, I can already envision my daughter as a 13-year-old, attached to multiple devices, with me complaining and griping about it. Which is so hypocritical, because that’s exactly what I do right now- try to avoid the humdrum of daily life with my phone/internet surfing/blogging/blog reading/facebooking/instagramming etc etc.
And no, just turning it off doesn’t help. Why? Because there’s a reason I do it in the first place. Something is missing. Something isn’t right. We are stuck in a life that makes zero sense. Work to pay for a house, child care, and car so that I can have a car to get to work, child care while I work, and a house to sleep in in between, which I complain about cleaning, and which I also try to avoid for that reason. It’s insanity. And I’m stuck in it, like a rat in a wheel.
The worst part? My daughter is absorbing this life style, and like a virus it is slowly converting each strand of her DNA to its mind-numbing cause.
How miserable is miserable enough?
We are told this is all acceptable because it’s security. We feel safe in the routine because it’s comfortable. It’s what our parents did. It’s what everyone around us does. We know what to complain about, which sources of solace to seek (food, alcohol, two week beach vacations) to soothe our drained and uninspired minds. We tell ourselves it’s ok because we have found a nice church, a school that seems decent, a job that at least we probably won’t lose. We need the job, after all, to afford the car (which we need for the job). We need to afford the house, from where we venture forth to work and school. Also, we need school, because we have to work, and what else should we do with the kids? And really, we aren’t that miserable. There are good times and good things about feeling safe. We are close to our family and friends. We sometimes feel happy.
But mostly, we don’t. We comfort ourselves with a lot of tales, but for a lot of us… something is missing. A true calling, a true desire. For me, it comes to the surface all the time. And never moreso than when my daughter, barely out of diapers, heaves a huge sigh and says “I’m bored”, in spite of being surrounded by educational toys, entertainment, a huge yard with pond and lake and nature galore. She is bored because I am bored. Because a lot of people around her are, deep down, uninspired. Unenthusiastic. Uninterested. And unable to see or find a way out.
But there’s donuts? And coffee?
To be honest, what helps me get through my average day, is my next coffee. Or a little bit of a candy bar (ok, a whole one, fine!). Junk food. And sleep. And facebook. These feel like little rewards to myself, so is it any wonder I’m getting heavy? Like, I really feel like I need a treat just to do what I’m doing every day. If that’s not a symptom of a disease, I’m not sure what is.
But what if…?
But yeah, here I sit, still doing it. There are lots of reasons why. Security, yes. Fear, definitely. My grandma still being alive is why I tell myself I’m still here. I even tell myself lots of stories, like how living in the townhouses and sending my daughter to a democratic-ish charter school will be enough. It’ll be better. It’ll be fine. But when I’m being totally honest, it will be the same thing, just wearing slightly different clothes.
I’m able to guilt myself into just getting on with this routine because of my daughter. Won’t she feel insecure? Lost? Alone or lonely? Doesn’t she need all of this American security to feel, well, secure? And if she doesn’t feel that secure, won’t she be super damaged? Am I enough to be considered a family? I would’ve left yesterday if I had a spouse and siblings ready to go with us. We’d be a mobile family, home as long as we’re together. Why cannot see myself and M as a “whole” family? Will making friends elsewhere, visiting people once or twice a year, be “enough”? Will having mom as “home” wherever we may be be enough to foster a sense of home and love, or will it destroy her little soul?
I could go on and on like this. And then I see the road we’re headed down, and my future 13-year-old zoned out on devices, as clear as day in my mind. And I wonder, why are we still here?
5 thoughts on ““I’m so bored.””
It’s interesting to see a different perspective, I’m totally the opposite of you I think. I loooove my boring routine and the daily grind. Of course there are ups and downs and moments that suck as well as moments that are amazing, but the thought of being rootless and wandering free makes me feel panicky!
I hope you find your inspiration, I think you should take the plunge and follow one of those plans you have talked about. I mean, what’s the worst that could happen? You come back to the lake and micu job? I don’t think you have anything to lose, and everything to gain 🙂
That’s true. I can always come back!!! I need to remember that
After reading your last few posts a few things struck me. First of all,you are an amazing 31-year-old. My daughter is 28 and a single mom to an 8-year-old boy. I can’t for one second see her working full time, caring for her grandmother, and her child. Nope….she couldn’t and wouldn’t. She is too self-absorbed and has never taken full responsibility for her child financially or emotionally. You are so responsible and care so deeply about the welfare of your child and spending time with her, etc. Also, you mentioned needing to sleep a lot. When I was your age I had 2 small children and worked part time so that I could be home with them. Even though my husband was great, as a mom I was the main caretaker of the kids. I remember being overcome with fatigue and wanting to sleep a lot too. I firmly believe that it is stress and anxiety that causes your body to just be exhausted. Little kids can literally suck the life out of you. The love, worry, aggravation, and everything that goes along with parenting is draining to say the least. You have had the added ‘burden’ of your grandparents for years now. I truly feel that you are making the best decision for you and baby by giving up your role as caregiver to your grandmother. You are far too young to shoulder all this. Your body is trying to tell you that. The reason cleaning the house is overwhelming is because of your exhaustion…been there too. After your load is lightened even that won’t seem so bad. Take care of yourself, young lady! Your little girl is going to be just fine!!! She won’t even remember the times you aren’t the perfect mom. She’ll just remember being loved and having fun with her mama. You are way too hard on yourself. Much more I could say…but just know that it is okay to be young and carefree sometimes. Wish someone had told me that when I was your age! 99% of the crap I worried about with my kids never happened and they don’t even remember most of it anyway…only that they were loved and now we laugh about the crazy things I nagged them about! My son is 32 married with no kids. In spite of it all…they grow up and have their own struggles that have nothing to do with the way they were parented. (Sadly, their peers are the main influence during the teen years.) Just my 2 cents worth….
Thank you so much for this! I really needed to hear it. I could cry!
Rhonda’s right. You need to take care of you, and taking care of M will follow naturally. When i was about your age, with two kids, i could see the miserable path I was on, and willfully decided that if this hamster wheel was life, I was at least going to eat what I wanted, so *something* would be enjoyable. Fast forward twenty pounds, and I was wishing I’d been a little less ridiculous. 🙂
My four year old will also declare things to be “BOOORRRing” in a style I know she picked up from some show – I want so very much to get her and us out of this rut.