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Ear to the Ground

Column: My Kids Bore Me to Death

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Posted on Aug 1, 2006

A working mother of two admits to one of parenthood’s last great remaining taboos: that parenting is often mind-numbingly tedious, and that she’d almost always rather be doing something other than watching “SpongeBob” or making runs to soccer practice.

  • The comments on this article offer a fascinating set of nuggets for would-be parents to chew on.

  • Daily Mail:

    Kids are supposed to be fulfilling, life-changing, life-enhancing fun: why was my attitude towards them so different?

    While all my girlfriends were dropping important careers and occupying their afternoons with cake baking, I was begging the nanny to stay on, at least until she had read my two a bedtime story. What kind of mother hates reading bedtime stories? A bad mother, that’s who, and a mother who is bored rigid by her children.

    I know this is one of the last taboos of modern society. To admit that you, a mother of the new millennium, don’t find your offspring thoroughly fascinating and enjoyable at all times is a state of affairs very few women are prepared to admit. We feel ashamed, and unfit to be mothers.

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    By Ways For Kids To Make Money, February 9, 2010 at 3:02 pm Link to this comment
    (Unregistered commenter)

    I’ve got mine doing some extra work (for cash)
    We’re all pretty happy about this!

    But we have a lot of fun, too.

    Report this

    By prince, August 11, 2006 at 2:26 am Link to this comment
    (Unregistered commenter)

    Proper child care is the need of the hour where mostly the mothers are wroking ladies & in todays world children are exposed to various thing which they should not have to.

    Report this

    By Offspringluke, August 7, 2006 at 11:23 am Link to this comment
    (Unregistered commenter)

    I just don’t get it. Who the heck told any of us moms that our children were given to us to ENTERTAIN us? I waited till I was 32 to have our child, and there is not ONE DAY that goes by that I think I would rather be doing anything else than enjoying him. Not that that means the fact that he is cutting 3 teeth right now is PLEASURABLE for ANY of us…but I would not trade it for the world. I was home with him for the first 10 months and now I am back at work while dad stays home with him. I do not feel like I missed a SINGLE thing by having 10 months home with my beautiful boy; I feel like I am missing more now that I am at work, being “stimulated” by adult conversation and interaction. I truly do not understand how someone could be so self centered as to think that being a Mom BORED them. And yes, surviving on ONE income is extremely hard, but my husband and I have learned that there are a LOT of things we will GLADY do without rather than have our son spend most of his time in daycare and have a complete stranger witness all of his firsts and new discoveries. That’s more important than having the “newest, biggest, best”...in my opinion.

    Report this

    By maureen travis, August 1, 2006 at 6:54 pm Link to this comment
    (Unregistered commenter)

    How wonderful to hear someone speak the truth.  Mothering/housekeeping can be unbelieveably tedious and boring.  Too bad everyone has such a fit when we tell the truth.  I think that is because women are supposed to continue doing this menial work.  If men really thought it was important work, they would be doing it.  It is a way to keep women from gaining economic equality.  You often hear that its “instinctive” for women to parent.  Garbage.  There is no evidence for that supposition.  If we are kept on the mommy track or out of the workplace entirely, then we can be free to clean house, cook, shop, and all those other tasks that are the lowest paying when put on the open market.  That shows you what society thinks of these wonderful tasks.

    Report this

    By Daddy, oh!, August 1, 2006 at 12:16 pm Link to this comment
    (Unregistered commenter)

    Our children are not supposed to be a source of entertainment, and we should not always be theirs. Isn’t the idea of having kids more than just ‘warm and fuzzies’ (perpetuate the species etc-although we’ve perpetuated enough at this point). The woman in the article is pretty shallow and I feel sorry for her children.

    Raising kids is a job and sometimes we get rewarded for it. We can either deal with our kids and teach them the tools to cope with life and get the best out of themselves. Or we can leave it to the greedy hands of television companies, internet companies, corporate advertisers and fast food chains to do the child rearing for us. Your choice.

    Report this

    By cindermommy, August 1, 2006 at 9:52 am Link to this comment
    (Unregistered commenter)

    Oh, come on…no thinking, breathing, HONEST adult who also happens to be a parent can say that there are not moments that the tedium and repetition of raising children doesn’t make you want to pull your hair out.  Does New Hat mean to say that the fiftieth time of reading Brown Bear or Is Your Mama a Llama was as thrilling to her as the first?  Was gagging over the thousandth poopy diaper as hysterical and charming as the first or the hundredth?  Women with children are so bombarded by cultural messages that tell us that our children must be the end all, be all of our existences.  That being in their angelic and pure presence has got to be the most fulfilling and peaceful experience in our lives and its all a load of crock!  Yes, my children (all three, ages 15, 9, 6) are gorgeous, smart, funny as hell, curious, active, athletic, frankly, I think they rock, but they are children and I AM AN ADULT…a thinking, feeling, curious, interesting, well-read, educated, social adult so it should not be suprising to anyone, and certainly isn’t to my children BTW, that sometimes they don’t rock my boat and I need time away from them.  When they are grumpy, sick, tired, needy or a pain in the rear for general purpose—I need even more time away.  I wil try to pawn them off on dad, but, dammit, he’s better at ignoring them than I am and so, THEY FIND ME… did I say they were clever?  I don’t know about other mothers but I have had it with mainstream media telling me how I am supposed to love, enjoy and value my children.  I am tired of them shoving celeb moms and their stretch-markless bellies in my face, as if no one had ever pushed out a bowling ball quite as miraculously as they are about to.  I’m tired of conservatives whipping up crap about mommy wars.  I’m glad my friends who can stay home do, I enjoy the time when I can be at home myself (most of it anyway) and I’m not at war with anyone except the retro reactionaries trying to undo feminist gains by layering on more guilt by setting the hyperparenting bar so damn high…

    For a good read on the issue, pick up The Mommy Myth: the idealization of motherhood and how it has undermined all women by Susan Douglas and Meredith Michaels.

    and BTW I had children because my husband I were really horny and thought we’d be damn good at procreating and raising little beasts.  We are.

    Report this

    By J Morgan, August 1, 2006 at 9:34 am Link to this comment
    (Unregistered commenter)

    Get over it! Grow up! Part of the reason I waited til my late thirties to have my son was that I wanted to live my life first so that when I were to have a child I would not blame him/her for missing out on life. Our children deserve our dedication. It is a labor of love. They deserve our mind-numbing patience. Even the smartest four year old acts stupid. You will hopefully never know an adult with the mind of a four year old or any other age of immaturity. They are young like this for such a relatively short period of time. Dont blame your children for Your boredom. I agree all parents need a break, a nanny, a babysitter, but these people are no replacement for the core relationship to a parent. A parent can be an unseen hero many times in a day. Overcoming impatience and boredom - character building- rising to the challenge to be present for your child. I agree it is good to be honest about your boredom, but dont stop here. This is something very significant to be dealt with. The payoff will be that you are a more mature, patient and capable adult and your children will respect you which will pay off later. It will not get easier at the rate you are going stuck in the boredom. Maybe there are activities you could involve them in that you will respect more. Music lessons rather than soccer- I dont know. Take a class together with your kids. These kids are the future. It is okay to be an adult and not interested in childish things. Maybe if you had a sense of the greater value of your own self and your childrens’ existence the experience will be less irritating and something richer. Thanks for your honesty, but please dont stop here. This is an opportunity to be a deeper person. I rise to this challenge every day myself. You are in worthy company.

    Report this

    By jmkoch, August 1, 2006 at 9:13 am Link to this comment
    (Unregistered commenter)

    Sorry, New Hat, but few parents have any idea what their role entails until it happens.  Money is also more than just greed.  A big heap of it is essential if you want to provide your kids a house.  One paycheck doth not a home buy.

    The wealthy hire maids or nannies to handle the drudgery of child care, deal with them on a “seen and not heard” basis, then send them off to boarding schools.  In much of the world, poor families put their kids to work ASAP.  Many fathers disappear and the mothers surrender kids to relatives, orphanages, or the street.  A great many kids have a single parent who must work and has little time to spare for nurturing.  Two incomes are usually necessary to own a home, which means that a stay-at-home parent is a luxury.  The Bible does not even command parents to love their children, only that children honor their parents.  Even so, we ascribe to an ideal that is hard to fulfill and entails all kinds of anxieties.  Is there any proof that kids are any worse off if, from an early age, they witness the collective hardships of making it in this world? 

    Yes, I appreciate what my mother did for me in the 50s-60s, but know that world rested on denial of much the workplace to women and could not exist today without changing that and a whole lot of other things no one would want.  I recommend a book, “The Way We Never Were.”

    Report this

    By New Hat, August 1, 2006 at 5:49 am Link to this comment
    (Unregistered commenter)

    Gosh, I was lucky to have a brilliant, bright, beautiful child so I did not have to suffer such boredom.  I had a friend who pretty much could not stand being around her two little girls, and was happy to have the nanny take over.  Why do people like that bother to have children?  Hey, her husband was a well-paid executive.  I’m sure her kids will be living an elite life.  My precious girl?  Hmmm, a nice middle class life for her, no doubt.  Wish I valued money more.  Guess I found money and power a lot more boring than my child.  I wonder why.

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