How Boredom is Slowly Killing Our Summer

“I’m bored.”babies-bored

“O….M….G. This is like, so boring.”

“…ugh……this is soooooooo boooooooooooooring….like….uhhhhhhh….ughhhhh…”

“I’mboredI’mboredI’mboredI’mboredI’mbored”

What is it about summer? What is it about these long hot days? What is about my husband? Doesn’t he realize I don’t have the power to make life magical every single day?

As for my kids — let’s just say I could be juggling flaming knives and they’d think it was boring. And I’ve tried, oh lord have I tried to entertain them. Here’s just a sampling:

  • My son and I at the beach. We are on jet skis.  With Mario and Luigi.  The jet skis shoot flames. We all have paintball guns. We’re jumping through hoops. The hoops are on fire. Dolphins are diving overhead. The dolphins are equipped with paintball guns. Fireworks explode in the sky. One of the fireworks is a giant glittering image of my son’s face.  I look over at my son and raise my eyebrows. He sighs and says, “I’m bored.”
  • My daughter and I are at a parade. There’s a float full of Disney Princesses. Cinderella invites her up onto the float.  Belle sits her down on a giant throne and puts a sparkly gold crown on her head. They make her the Queen of the Universe. Sleeping Beauty hands her a magic wand that makes everything she touches candy.  My daughter looks down at her dress made of rainbow Skittles and sighs, “I’m bored.”
Not. Impressed.
Not. Impressed.

It makes me wonder how my kids will perceive other major events in their lives:

Announcer: …and with only seconds left in this championship game, the visiting team is down six points! This is the last play, their entire season on the line. Here’s the snap… holy crap, it’s a Hail Mary pass! And… he caught it! Oh my god! He’s running to the end zone! He could go all the way! He’s at the 20! 10! Touchdown!  I can’t believe my eyes! The biggest comeback in high school football history! They’ve won! They’re the state champions!

My son spikes the ball in front of the cheering crowd. His teammates hoist him overhead and parade him down the field as confetti rains down.

Reporter (sticking a microphone in his face): How do you feel?

Him: Eh.

________________________________________________________

Minister: And I now pronounce you husband and wife! You may kiss the bride!

My son (rolling his eyes): Bor-ing.

________________________________________________________

Doctor: I see the head! Here comes the head! And it’s a boy! Wait, here comes another head! And it’s another boy! Oh! Wait! And another boy! Identical triplets! Born at exactly 12:01am on January 1st! It’s a New Year’s miracle!

My daughter (looking down at the babies in her arms as cameras flash and newspaper reporters thrust microphones in her face):  I’m bored.

_______________________________________________________

Skydiving Instructor on plane: On the count of three, JUMP! …one….two…THREE!

My son (plummeting like a stone towards the earth, freefalling after backup parachute fails):
I’m still booooooooooooored…….!

_________________________________________________________

God in heaven: Welcome to my kingdom! Here I will reveal to you all the mysteries of the universe! And bestow upon you the ultimate freedom and power to see and do and be anything you so desire!

My son (yawning): Mkay. Sure. Whatever. So what else ya got?

Slide1

Parents–how are you coping with your kids’ boredom this summer? Any tips for me? I’ve already tried kicking them outside but they continue to figure out how to pick the lock. Others–care to babysit?

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129 thoughts on “How Boredom is Slowly Killing Our Summer

  1. God that’s hilarious, and sadly true. I have the same problem with my little ones, it takes proportionately more every time to get their blood going. I try to stick with the simple things and explain why a nice walk in the sunshine is so bloody wonderful. It occasionally works.

    1. I had this great idea to get them a big inflatable swimming pool. We set it up, took days to fill, hooked up the filter. My husband got the chemicals just right. They jumped in and loved it. Then got back out. They were in there about five minutes.

      1. Yeah. Fickle. I get excited buying them toys and then downcast when they’re done playing with them in about ten minutes, and after that they’re totally forgotten. The only things that seem to last are going outside, swimming, kicking balls, riding bikes fast. Anything disposable seems to be… disposable.

  2. I could have written something eerily similar about my kids. I tell them that I am going fishing. “Daddy, can we go with you?” No. I do not un-bore my kids by taking them fishing with me. I fish for my own sanity. And to get closer to God. Un-bored kids on a fishing trip = Daddy saying things the Good Lord would not approve of. 🙂

    1. haha! My son wants to go fishing this summer and my husband is all gung-ho about it. But I don’t think he’s thought it through. My guess is after five minutes my son would say, “This is it? Just sitting here on a boat?!”

  3. I remember those summers–I used to tell my youngest to go out and play and he would look at me as if I had two heads; my “kids” are 22 and 27 and I am here to tell you it never gets better–ha ha, just kidding, sort of…..

    1. Yikes. I believe you. I can’t tell you how many times I’ve told them to go outside. They do. Then they come back after a few minutes. So it’s a constant going in and out thing, the door is always slamming.

  4. I always say (and I mean always), there aren’t many things more irritating than a bored child. Here are some of my responses to the cry of “I’m bored!”, they are only short-term solutions, but sometimes you need a few of those up your sleeve –

    1. “Oh fantastic, you have nothing to do? Great, you can help me with the laundry.” (They invariable remember that they do actually have something to do and rush off).
    2. “I know it’s a long way off, but why don’t you start writing your Christmas list?” (They ALWAYS think this is a good idea).
    3. “I think I’d better write to your school teachers to tell them that they need to set you more work to do at home because you have nothing to do otherwise.” (This has the same effect as number 1).
    4. “If you can find my lost ear-ring, I will pay you X amount.” (This one is kind of mean because you haven’t actually lost an ear-ring *snigger*, but if it stops them being bored for a while then everyone’s a winner!).

    1. I use a similar technique (something like, “you’re bored? Oh good, because the basement needs a good scrubbing!” or “perfect, I was just thinking that the refridgerator needed to be cleaned out.”) But these are some other great ones. Thanks for sharing that! 🙂

      1. That technique always worked on me. If my parents heard my WHISPER “I’m bored” they’d give me a list of ten chores I could do. I learned pretty quickly to never ever say those words again. Negative reinforcement works like a charm.

  5. I, too, hear the same melodious words every day. I’ve learned to ignore it. I used to make suggestions of things to do, until one night when I was putting the kid to bed (he was lying in bed) and he said, “I’m bored!” WTF?? I said, “Good! Then fall asleep!”

    Maybe next summer we’ll make it out your way. I guarantee your kids won’t be bored if my Little Man visits. His adventures, as long as he has other kids to play with, are endless.

  6. Oh Darla, I took time off from blogging for precisely THIS reason–to help my kids beat boredom! Do you think it’s working? Nooooo!
    I spent one day battling crowds at Disneyland, another lugging my kids to the beach, then I took them to see the premier of Despicable Me. After ALL that, my daughter turns me and says, “This is a BORING summer.”
    I wanted to scream . . . I turned to blogging instead. A mom’s gotta keep her sanity, too!

    1. First off, you should be resting, having people wait on YOU. (a girl can dream, right?) second, how was Despicable Me? We really loved the first one. I WAS going to take them to see it to escape this heat, but now I dread spending all that money to hear they’re still bored.

  7. You know Darla, I think you should run away for a couple of hours, and lock them inside. See if they can pick the lock to get out … they might like the variety.

          1. I hate it too. Life is all about rush-rush-rush. Go on to the next thing. If you don’t slow down and take a look around once in awhile, you might miss it (so says Ferris Bueller)

  8. Oh boy, I have one of those too. I spent the last 2 weeks dealing with a kid who either played Minecraft, or when I kicked him off the computer, he either 1) stared out into space thinking about when he could play Minecraft again or 2) I had to suggest something to do. It gets so frustrating. Thankfully I have him going to a few camps for the next few weeks but then we have some off weeks in August and I can’t deal with the same thing again. Structure. They need it. Always easier said than done though…..good luck!

    1. that might be the problem…they have so much structure during the school year, when I finally unleash them onto the world, free to do whatever, they freeze.
      And minecraft? Oh dear god. My son had never played and was oblivious until his grandfather downloaded him the game. Now it’s ALL he wants to do.

  9. It’s like a rite of passage for parents and kids, that thing called boredom. When mine get bored enough, they find something to do. Usually it’s pick on each other and drive me crazy. This summer I have been better about inviting other kids over to play (we don’t have many in our neighborhood). But I can’t tell you how miffed I get when they ALL come to me saying they’re bored! Can’t shout GO PLAY to someone else’s kids.

    1. You get me, you really do! YES! I also have had several play dates. I’ve had their best friends spend the entire day. We’ve had camps in the yard. Water fights. Roasted marshmallows. And still, somehow, at the end of the day, my kids can squeeze in a few “I’m bored”s !!!

      1. We have trained the boys to like board games, so we do have the occasional family game fest. My grandsons and I up until this year have gone hiking quite a bit. I plan to get them out to go see a couple of new waterfalls we heard about near here.

  10. I honestly don’t even remember what it feels like to be bored. I hear someone say they’re bored with such envy. The closest I ever seem to get anymore are those times where I have so much to do that I do nothing.

  11. Camps and playdates. I believe someone mention both above. They tire them right out. Also? I do not feel it is my job to entertain my children. If they are bored, they can figure out something to do. And if they can’t, I will FIND something for them to do, and it’s a pretty good bet that they will not enjoy that task. Oddly, my kids rarely tell me that they are bored. 😉

  12. I don’t remember the last time I was bored. Oh yes, it was when I was a kid and I said I was bored in front of my mom or grandmother. I ended up cleaning the attic. Last time that happened. 🙂

      1. Bittersweet. I really did not want him to go…again. Yes, this was his second move out. When I find myself missing him, I stand in the doorway of his room and look at all the crap he left behind. Something tells me he’ll be needing to do laundry soon and he’ll be back. 🙂

  13. Two words Darla: SUMMER CAMP. End of boredom for the entire 2 1/2 months! Hmmmm, and that’d mean you could enjoy the summer, also! (Of course, I’m at work, but luckily, I love my job; it all works out.) XOXO-Kasey

  14. My younger two are easier. The eldest is ok provided he has a) a friend b) a ball (any kind – tennis, cricket, soccer….) Anything else – yup – bored.

  15. That post was soooooo boring… When are you going to write another one? Today? Can you write another one today? Maybe in the next five minutes? 🙂 Just kidding! I think summer is wearing off on me. Here’s our solution, sign your kids up for travel sports during the summer. Then you have the excuse that we can’t ever do anything, BECAUSE EVERY WEEKEND FROM THURSDAY THRU SUNDAY IS BOOKED UP TRAVELING ALL OVER CREATION FOR YOUR GAMES AND WE DON’T HAVE ANY MONEY LEFT!!!

    1. I seem to be sensing you have some built-up rage, Steve. There, there. I get it.

      Because my son is starting soccer in a month. And my daughter informed me she wants to play basketball this winter. Basketball, which is the longest sport season in history…five months of nonstop mind-numbing practices and games that suck away every last spare second of your life and all you hear is the incessant banging of the basketballs, echoing forever in your fevered mind until you think you’ll go start raving mad. Can’t wait.

  16. Don’t they have liquor stores up there? How about marijuana clinics. C’mon, woman! Use your imagination!

    This is excellent training for adulthood. Wait ’til they’re sitting at a desk for nine hours a stretch. Nothing overhead except a bright, white, humming fluorescent tube. They’ll thank you for having toughened them up.

    I’m lucky. All my two girls need is some water and they’re good to go. Daughter #1 currently has pink eye and can’t swim. She’s carrying on like she’s been knee-capped by a rival. What a baby.

    1. I laughed at your marijuana clinic suggestion. They actually just built one right next to my husband’s work. Might have to stop by and make a pit stop later this week…

      Pink eye is the worst. I feel for your daughter. Not being able to swim during summer? Cruel.

      1. I would DEFINITELY keep an eye on your husband’s productivity. If it suddenly shows a precipitous drop, I’d suspect that new business venture next door has something to do with it. Smell his breath. Check the contents of the fridge. Is there a spike in his viewing of the Cartoon Network? It’s a slippery slope. I hear.

      2. MY GOD! That’s awful! Stove Top Stuffing is a gateway drug! Was he using a fork or simply shoveling it into his pie hole with his hands? Get help before it’s too late. If you find any weed hidden in his underwear/sock drawer, send it to me and I’ll see that it’s disposed of properly. Good luck. I’ll say a novena for you.

  17. If my future spawn are satisfied with my means for entertaining them, I’m dropping them off at the orphanage.

    …But have you tried BUBBLES?

    1. Hm…bubbles…that just might work. At least I’d be occupied for a few minutes. When my kids were babies, that was all it took, blow a few bubbles and they were mesmerized. My son used to laugh hysterically when I sneezed.

  18. I was a nanny for three months. Right when summer vacation was approaching I quit. I could not imagine dealing with two school age kids for endless summer days. The time I spent with them on spring break was AN ETERNITY. *I* was the bored one.

    1. Y’know, they say when it’s your own kids, you can cope better with the boredom and the nonstop whining. But I’m here to tell you, no. It doesn’t matter whose kids they are, it’s all very mind-numbing after a few months.

  19. I’m cringing…I served my “boredom” sentence and I NEVER want to go back. I remember loosing it, screaming like a crazy loon “you know what YOUR boring!” It wasn’t one of by best parenting moments, but it made them stop. I feel for ya girl…I really do.

    1. Thanks, Life. My husband doesn’t get why I’m more exhausted than he is at the end of the day. I love my kids and enjoy having them home. But I almost look forward to working again so I can get a break.

  20. Oh Darla! Those are the worse two words to hear from your children! Hang in there. When they get old enough (like 14) you can send them out to work! Both of mine started at 14 and at their current ages of 19 and 17, are too exhausted from working so many hours that they cannot utter those words anymore! Or you could do what my sister does. She sends her 13 year old to an all day volunteer program for the entire month of July and it’s even better than camp because it’s free and he’s still out of the house all day. There’s always Benadryl! 🙂

    1. So true. I remember having a paper route and babysitting when I was 12, so my almost-11 year old son’s days of doing nothing are numbered. Next summer they will both be in summer camp. I like to remind them of this when they complain they’re bored.

    1. haha! Ah, yes, the ol’ gas and matches trick. You get me, you really do. I just keep repeating to myself “I must cherish these days with my kids, I must cherish these days with my kids”

      1. Snoring Dog Studio

        Oh, a paper route might be preferable to a lot of the jobs we adults have! It probably will instill better memories.

  21. themominblack

    I have no advice, sadly. My oldest is 2+ and this is my first real season of having to entertain a monster before he gets full on monstery. Right now, he’s walking in circles around the dining room table with the dog’s leash wrapped around his neck. At least he’s not bored, right?

  22. Impybat

    Well, as they they (translation=parental units) say…”bored people are boring!” At least that’s what my mom used to say to me, with THAT look on her face. But as a kid, I had so many hobbies and games my friends and I made up that we were fairly well occupied most of the time. We were part of the last “unsupervised” generation ;D

      1. I remember when the whole neighborhood was your babysitter. If you misbehaved, your mom knew before you could make it home. Then there was hell to pay. Yep, those were the days when neighbors were not afraid to tell the other parents the truth about their children and the parents said thank you, I will take care of it. lol.

  23. I don’t know. I was sitting here eating ice cream & watching my kids compete in the Olympics, but then I just got so bored. Why do people do anything really, when they could be sleeping? 🙂

  24. I think if God had utilized more Mario and Little Ponies in his explanation of the mysteries of the Universe, He might have piqued your kid’s interest. But what’s that I read – the hubster expects you to shoot magic out of your fingers every day? HOW long have you two been married? More than a year?

    I’m sure you’re doing everything right, but maybe try baton twirling wearing a certain plaid jacket, hmmm? That’ always has the folks rolling on the aisle, right, Darlstacular?

    1. True story, I was JUST looking at your snazzy jacket yesterday. My daughter actually loves to put it on when she plays dress-up. And it fits her perfectly. I can’t even get one arm in there now.

        1. Peg-o, no one warned me that for every 1 year in age your ass triples in size. It’s just not fair.

          Hey, are you gonna call me? Hm? I’ve spoken to Elyse on the phone finally. She was a pure delight. I’m sure you would be as well.

  25. I just shame mine. “You have 53 new activities to choose from this week alone! How can you possibly be bored??? If you don’t like those things, I can donate them all, and you’ll have tons more space to sulk about being bored. Yes?” No. Child begins playing, and I set aside a few more dollars for her future therapy. Win!

  26. So agree that boredom seems to trump all! We got a dog a couple of summers ago…and actually I spoke up that this would be MY dog because I knew I’d be taking care of him. So now if there’s boredom, too bad… I’m busy hangin’ with the dog!

    1. I don’t think there is one. For me it was pretty comment-free on this blog for the better part of the first two years I was blogging. Things didn’t pick up until I kept commenting on lots of other blogs and started forming blog relationships with people over a long period of time. I would say just keep blogging and interacting and people will respond.

  27. Those lazy, hazy, crazy daze of summer (sorry I was on a “z” roll) will drive you crazy, for sure. Darla, things that might not impress them now will be among the memories they cherish, recalling the fun they had growing up … and having such a cool Mom. 🙂

  28. This totally cracked me up. My general response to “I’m bored” is “I have plenty of chores you can do.” We’re doing the screen ban again this summer from 11am-5pm, only sometimes I don’t take their iPods away so they’ll hide away with them, thinking I forgot and feeling like they got away with something… and not saying “I’m bored.” Next time they say they’re bored tell them there are tons of chores waiting for them in New Jersey, where they can hang at a house so full of kids I won’t even notice they’re here.

  29. Pingback: One Hot Sunday | JM Randolph, accidentalstepmom

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