Excerpt from Asking for a Pregnant Friend: 101 Answers to Questions Women Are Too Embarrassed to Ask about Pregnancy, Childbirth, and Motherhood
Girl, I feel you. When Hudson was a baby I felt like I was on a hamster wheel of feeding, butt cleaning, spit-up dodging, cooking, not showering, and walking around in circles saying, “Shh.” I felt like my life had been drained of creative, thought-provoking stimulation. I was mega-bored hanging with a person who didn’t talk and cared only about my boobs. And I was pretty sure I was missing crucial mothering pieces.
It’s no wonder we feel like there’s something wrong with our boredom when we’re constantly told how magical it should be to interact, bond, and help baby learn about the world. These are all essential tasks that plant seeds for the emergence of independent, vibrant humans. So shouldn’t we feel inspired and excited by them? I suppose some women are, but I wasn’t.
If you relate, let me start by saying how super-duper normal you are for feeling this way. You’re not an evil Grinch incapable of connecting with your child. You’re an adult who craves activities that challenge your mind and awaken your creativity. At first glance, caring for a baby does none of these things, and often it just makes us feel incompetent and frustrated. But when we dive deeper into the nuances of baby care, there is something to be done about baby-care boredom.
What to do
Toy around with these ideas:
Incorporate your interests into baby care. For example, it’s important to talk to baby so they’re exposed to language, but who said you have to talk to them about mundane topics or read to them from cardboard books? Give your babe language exposure by reading aloud from a magazine or that book you’ve wanted to read. And music — scrap the Mozart (unless that’s your jam!), strap baby to your chest, and get a workout by shaking your butt to nineties hip-hop while making funny faces at baby.
Think of innovative ways to make baby tasks more interesting. Do this by listing your daily baby-care activities on one side of a sheet of paper and writing your interests and talents on the other half. Then, start brainstorming how you can fuse the lists, mixing and matching your interests and talents with baby-care obligations.
For me, diaper changes became more compelling when I used the time to challenge my writer’s brain to come up with new lyrics to favorite songs. Breastfeeding was made way less boring by putting a TV tray and my laptop by my nursing chair and writing weird poetry while Hudson ate. And I made sure I still interacted with him by asking questions about how I should get around tricky prose.
Remember that you don’t have to parent the way others do. Bringing your unique self into motherhood is one of the best ways you can quell boredom and foster an authentic bond with your baby — it will help them get to know the real you. And if your way doesn’t look anything like the way of your sister or the ladies in your mom group, that’s okay. We all get to forge our own path.
While life with baby will eventually become less boring, regardless of what you do, liven up your mama-baby relationship now by injecting motherhood with the stuff that makes your mind do a happy dance.