Looking for Life in the Mundane
So What Do You Do All Day?
This question jumped out at me from the article I read. A smug young grocery clerk blurted out this question to a mom, juggling her three young children in the checkout line. She was understandably perturbed by the question. I understood her frustration, as if we sit around and do our nails all day. But even still, a curiosity resonated in me. Between the diapers and feedings, I felt lost as to what to do with my day. There were spaces here and there that I did not know how to fill.
For the first few years of motherhood, I assumed that a “good” mom sat on the floor and played with her kids all day. But I had a hard time sitting for five or ten minutes with my son as he chewed his toys and crawled around the floor. On the other hand, I felt guilty if I took some time for a fun shopping trip or if I tried to read a book as he played beside me. (This was hardly ever successful either.)
Pinterest had a plethora of crafts and activities to try, but I usually felt frustrated, unhappy, and bored with these activities. I felt stuck. Deep down, I knew that I didn’t need to change who I was to be a good mom and yet I felt like I had no good ideas about how I might make the stay at home lifestyle work for me.
So I embarked on a trial and error journey of exploring different activities to discover those that were both life-giving to me, and manageable, even fun, for my kids. Below I’ve listed the activities that made the cut.
My children thrive outdoors so this has been an excellent outlet for all of us. Jed (5) plays with his dump trucks and excavator toys. Addy (2) works beside me with her mini gardening shovel and bucket. They help me pull weeds and enjoy getting wet as they help me water. Everyone, including me, is happy playing in the dirt.
We also volunteer once a week at a community garden where they have even bigger mounds of dirt to play in. The owner happily takes them along with her also, showing them new vegetables and letting them pick and eat of her bounty.
This can be as easy as rolling out a yoga mat and exercising on the floor. Kids eyes light up with delight when we join them on the floor and they love “exercising” right beside us. As my kids have gotten older they enjoy following along with me during an exercise video, trying out the moves or echoing the encouragement.
Walks are an excellent source of peace for both me and my children. Sometimes, it can function like a reset button on our nerves and emotions so it’s great in an emergency too.
Most gyms offer childcare and this is a great way for everyone to release some energy. It also gives everyone a break from each other too. Sometimes kids need a break from us, just as much as we need one from them.
3. Playing tourist in your hometown
When we lived in California, I made it my goal to visit all the parks in our town. Now that we live near Seattle, we take frequent trips to the city to do something new. I use a tour book to identify what we haven’t seen yet to keep it interesting and fresh.
4. Decorate and organize your home
Since we are staring at the “same four walls” every day, it helps to change it up a bit. I’ve never had much money for decorating my home, but I have managed to keep my home looking fresh by simply rearranging furniture or reorganizing a cabinet. My husband teases me for how often he can never find the bowls because I’ve moved them, again. But I argue that it keeps me sane and helps me feel like there is something new about the space. As I empty drawers there are usually new treasures to occupy my kids while I go about my business.
Check out The Nesting Place for some inspiration and a reminder that, “It doesn’t have to be perfect to be beautiful.”
I’ll bring the baby backpack, but my kids have often surprised me with how far they can walk themselves. Bring plenty of snacks or even pack a lunch and this makes for a nice outing for all.
Activities like these bring me greater enjoyment with my kids and in my stay at home mom life. What activities have you found to be life-giving that aren’t listed here? Please share with me below in the comments.
If you would like to hear from me and receive updates when new blog posts are available, sign up for my monthly newsletter below.