Boredom is My New Spiritual Practice
Being a mom is boring.
Sure it’s exhilarating, full of joy, and just about the scariest thing I’ve ever done in my life. But it’s also full of long lonely days, talking to yourself, and sometimes counting down the minutes until bedtime.
Denaye Barahona from Simple Families says if you want to encourage your children to be creative boredom isn’t something to shy away from, but lean into. Her minimalist parenting philosophy is about stripping away the noise, so that by giving your child fewer toys or distractions they have more opportunities to invent and play.
I’ve found being bored at home has helped me cultivate characters out of stuffed animal with elaborate backstories, sing songs with no name, and play games with Ginny I would never have thought of otherwise. But something surprising has also happened on these quiet days with my daughter- it’s impacted my spirituality.
While I was pregnant, I had an intense morning ritual. I’d meditate, pull a tarot card, and journal for about a half an hour or more. I’d start each day intentionally and was focused on creating some kind of spiritual space for my new transition into motherhood. But now that I’m a mom I barely have time to comb my hair everyday. I still feel like I’m treading water, catching up on life as it races by, and struggle to find any kind of intentional space for myself.
But while my time has been divided into two categories: excruciatingly long (when my baby is crying, eating, going down for a nap) or not long enough (time I have for myself), it’s also dropped me into a sense of being present I’ve never experienced before.
I’m not on my phone all day waiting on e-mails, my calendar isn’t packed with a schedule. For the first time in my life I have nowhere to be, an entire day to fill ahead of me.
Unfortunately, now that Ginny’s alert enough to notice when we are inside, my precocious daughter doesn’t care too much for the indoors. We leave the house 3-4 times a day for walks, outings in the park, donuts in the cafe. I try to force myself to be around other adults as much as possible but usually it’s just her and I walking aimlessly around the historical brownstones of Park Slope. Rain or shine.
And on our walks I’m struck with an intense appreciation and a mystical awareness that I’m getting signs from the universe. I’ve started to see things that living in Brooklyn for nine years I’ve never noticed, like the flower of the season (last month roses, this month hydrangeas), fairy houses in people’s gardens, and cats hiding in plain sight. Every block has a story, a message, a note. All of a sudden I’m aware of shops and homes on blocks I’ve walked a hundred times and never seen before and I can place the faces of neighbors that I pass by daily.
I feel like a cog in a wheel that keeps spinning, a small piece of the whole.
I can’t help but wonder if the beauty of these streets, these people, and these moments were here all along? Was I just too in my own head to see them? Maybe the key to feeling more in sync with the universe is doing less.
Maybe the best form of self-care is boredom.
What do you think? When’s the last time you had nothing to do and nowhere to go?
Written by Erin Bagwell
Copy edited by Diana Matthews