But Don’t You Get Bored?

 

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I am a stay at home mum to five children and one question I get asked the most in response to what I now do for a living is: but don’t you get bored?

To which I like to respond: don’t you?

Because, for as long as I can remember I’ve always associated hard work, effort and perseverance with things that are worthwhile. And no matter what you’re working towards, monotony is inevitable.

Maybe my workplace is not lushly decorated, and cleaned professionally once a week. I don’t have ergonomic chairs and our conference room is a disaster of crumbs, stained dining chairs and a table top etched by forks, knives and ball point pens.

My co worker is, at least, some one I chose – though he teases me about my apparent lapse in intelligence all of the time – and would do so again. But he’s only part time and gets out of the house from 8am-6pm while I’m on day shift which is nice, because when we sit down at our dinner break he can talk to me about life outside of my area of expertise.

Although I’m not sure I have one of those anymore because, despite the fact that I’m home all day, my house doesn’t reflect my presence. Just that of my kids…everywhere.

My peer review suggests this is a normal casualty of this profession but it’s something I like to work on anyway.

And yes, there are jobs that are beneath my level of education and experience but I try to delegate where I can. Miss 4 loves, and I mean LOVES, pairing socks and Master 2 really likes putting new rolls of toilet paper on the holder. He also likes stuffing it into the toilet bowl, but you win some you lose some, right?

My hours are long and yes, having a conversation with a toddler can sometimes feel like you’re banging your head against a Lego wall, and then walking over the pieces, but I recall having some discussions that left me with a similar impression when I was in paid employment and I can’t say I enjoyed that either.

I am on call at all hours, but generally these calls are confined to a short time period. Like for about a month while everyone gets a bug in a domino like fashion, or for months after you have a baby, whenever there are nightmares and well, basically any time you have a child aged under 2 in your house.

But then you are overwhelmed by those times you are not called out, and sleep uninterrupted, and decide to expand the company again. You’d never believe it, but nine years ago we started with 2 in our cooperative and now we have reached seven. They’re all under skilled of course, but we’ll train them well and look after them in their apprenticeships.

Some days with children are a dangerous disaster just by the very nature of their curiosity and motor skills, or lack thereof, and I’m thankful I no longer have to worry about the paperwork associated with risk assessments and workplace safety. Now I just have to come running and remove the dangerous object – usually in the hands of, if not the hands of, Master 2 – because out of sight is out of mind, right? If I’m too late I do need to administer First Aid, although the training for that never explained that a big hug and kiss – and a Lightning McQueen bandaid – would pretty much fix anything that didn’t require hospitalisation.

It’s true that I have been knocked back for a promotion, apparently after the level of mother the next career path is grandmother so I’ve got to wait over a decade until I break through that glass ceiling. But I’m optimistic and I’m using the time to learn as much as I can in readiness for that position.

I mean, I could choose another career, with less hours and a more precise, less varied, job description but then I think I would be bored. To be honest I’m ruined for a staid 9-5 job sitting behind a computer. I mean, which of my co workers is going to continually demand my attention so that we can enjoy watching the birds that are nesting in our garden?

Or sing along to the Thomas the Tank Engine theme song? Who’s going to understand my need to slink silently out of the office so that I can go to the toilet without an audience?

Or my need to take self imposed time outs just to breathe and calm down?

No two days are exactly the same, and I’m always on my toes. And there are some things I definitely don’t enjoy – why do we need freshly ironed clothes really? – but no, I’m not bored. And you don’t need to pity me for my choice.

My choice is to be here and to do so has meant sacrifices, but I was willing to make them. And your choice is yours. Don’t feel threatened or guilty if you are working – because you choose to, or because you need to – or if you aren’t working but would like to.

The perfect place for you is something only you can discern. And if you have discerned it, you know as well as I do, that life is not boring when you’re doing what you’ve been called to do.
 

 

Filed Under: FaithFamily LifeFeaturedParenting

About the Author: Emily is a former ACPA award winning editor and journalist turned stay at home mum and blogger. She lives on a farm in regional NSW with her husband and their five children where she spends the time she should be doing housework reading books and writing posts.

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