Life is Mostly Boring

When I lived in Paris, none of my apartments had washing machines. So, part of my weekly routine was packing up my clothes and the lightest of my homework books and walking to the nearest laundry to spend hours watching my clothes churn. In my last apartment, I would walk through the winding streets of Montmartre, quintessential Paris, to get to the laverie. Even though the setting was romantic, the activity was pretty boring. Put in a few loads, wait, read, switch them, wait, read, pack everything up, walk home.

Image: RyanMcGuire via Pixabay

One of my biggest pet peeves about staying home with the girls is when people tell me that they couldn’t do this – it would be too boring. I’m never really sure how to respond to this because, honestly, staying home with young kids is often boring. We do fun things but most of our day is structured. Some days, we stay home and clean the house and do laundry. Some days are filled with adventures. But even at the museum or park, unless I’m with another mom to chat with, I sit on a bench with my book, watching my kids play. Not the most exciting life.

My guess is that if we were able to track the number of minutes per day we spent on boring activities, most of our days would be pretty boring. Commuting to work, answering emails, grocery shopping. No matter where you live or how exotic the setting, life is made up of these boring details.

In her book, The Quotidian Mysteries, Kathleen Norris talks about the liturgy of the ordinary moments. She connects the monastic rhythms of prayer and repetition to our own daily chores of dishes and laundry and raising kids, challenging us to find God in those repetitive moments. She says,

Ironically, it seems that it is by the means of seemingly perfunctory daily rituals and routines that we enhance the personal relationships that nourish and sustain us.

This is a reminder to me to find the holy in these everyday moments. I’ve tried to set aside time to pray and it just never seems to work out. Something is always happening when my alarm to stop and pray dings. But when I incorporate prayer into those mundane moments, I’m much more successful. I pray for a mom I know as I wipe the counters. I pray for my girls as I give them a bath. I pray for the world as I stir our dinner. I find that when I pray for the same thing as I do the same task, a habit is formed and my boring days seem holier.

I’m not great at this rhythm. More often than not, I forget to pray altogether. But when I do remember, I realize that God has given me these boring moments for a purpose. If my time was always filled with thinking, enriching, stretching activities, I would have no space for those quiet moments of finding God.

I’m embracing this boring season. Before too long, my days will be filled with other things outside my control and I’ll look back on these long, uneventful days with longing. Not just of this season of motherhood but of this time to find a holy space while doing the mundane.

How do you find holiness in the boring moments? Do you find peace in routine or do you thrive on new and unexpected events?

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Annie Rim

Welcome! I live in Colorado with my family and have taught in the classroom, at an art museum, and now in the playroom. I reflect about life, faith, and books here on my blog.

10 thoughts on “Life is Mostly Boring”

  1. When I stayed home with our first child, my dad asked what I did all day. Really? Yes, most days are made up of the boring and mundane. I do find peace in routine. I’ve often found when I’m sweeping the floor a creative idea pops into my mind. We’ve been praying for our daughter-in-law’s job. Henry told me he prays for her every morning when he’s shaving. Thanks reminding me o beauty, and purpose, in the ordinary.

    1. Love this! Right? When Frank asks (innocently) what we did during the day sometimes I’m at a loss to answer. I’m learning that this is ok. Not “doing anything” is still doing a whole lot. And, if I didn’t pray in those ordinary moments, I wouldn’t pray much…

  2. Bori g as in there is no stress? I loved staying at home with my girls and the thing I missed most was adult conversation. I would do it all over again. I saw the special moments in my children’s lives. I am the one who helped them become the well adjusted people they are now. My children know who I am and have a good relationship with me. Boring? No. Tedious sometimes when I think of the housework – but that has to be done even if I am working. Enjoy these moments Annie. Because even if you were working you would experience tedium – and be more stressed!

    1. I have a feeling that’s what people really mean – that they would miss adult interaction. But, I’ve found ways to fill that need, especially through my mom’s group. I keep thinking that, too. When I go back to work, I’ll still have to do laundry! 😉 I love these moments and know I’ll look back on them fondly, even when I’m excited about the next phases.

  3. I found that stopping and reminding my self of what I’m grateful for is also a good way to let God in. I really enjoy the way you expressed this tedium and joy of staying home raising children.

  4. Finding the holy in the ordinary…yes! And I need to check out that Kathleen Norris book. It’s one I haven’t read.

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