I love my little girl to the end of the earth and back and I'm so grateful to have her, but since becoming a mum, life does tend to get a tad tedious... busy yes, but also banal.
There’s the magical laundry basket that just keeps on re-filling itself, plus a never ending trail of grubby, banana infused fingerprints, and the constant backache from picking up trail of destruction left by a toddler.
While I certainly thrive on seeing my child smile, laugh and grow, I do not thrive on finding uneaten and mouldy bits of food behind the couch, nor do I thrive on the cycle of repetition motherhood can bring.
So how do you break the monotony? Here are five ways to banish banality for good:
1. Find activities YOU enjoy
Yes – I’m talking to you, mum. It’s so important for mums to do things that they enjoy once in a while, whether it be a bit of shopping without the kids, a massage or a simple coffee date with a friend. While I don't exactly love the gym, I can take my daughter to the crèche and ‘work out’ (ok, sometimes I sit alone in the change rooms for five minutes with my eyes closed, enjoying the silence) knowing she’s safe and having fun with some other kids.
I also have a footy membership, so every fortnight for six months of the year, I get to enjoy a few hours of uninterrupted child-free time. I no longer care so much about the games: win, lose or draw – it’s my time and it’s bliss.
2. Get out and about
My daughter has a busier social life than me. Then again, the wheelie bin gets out more than I do. Two days a week she goes to the crèche at the gym, goes swimming and dancing once a week and has ‘daddy-daughter’ day every Sunday.
If we don’t get out for a few days, she turns into a little terror and I start to go a little crazy too, so much so that lately I’ve been finding activities that take up the entire morning, just so we are not stuck at home for the entire day. It sure helps break up the monotony of those same four walls for the both of you. Whether it’s a play centre, park, the local library, a café – even the movies – you just have to find some child-friendly places close to home. My daughter loves the library, mainly because they have a wide, open plan space she can run around in.
3. Change your routine every now and again
Variety is the spice of life. Being unpredictable every now and again can really help beat the monotony blues. Instead of going straight home after swimming, why not plan a trip to a park you’ve never been to, or take your child to the playground? Not only will they love the surprise, but it will also wear them out for the rest of the day (that’s not a guarantee, sorry.)
4. Find a mums group
Mums need mum friends. You need adult conversations, not just the incoherent babbles of a toddler or the one sided conversations as you tell them not to play with the washing machine for the 15th time.
Facebook is becoming a busy hub for mums to find each other and organise catch ups, while there is also Meetup, an online site for finding friends, plus you can meet other mums at the local library or at a playgroup. You might need to join a couple of different groups before you find the best for you, but once you do, you and your child might have some long-lasting friends.
5. Plan new activities for your child
I try and plan one activity with my daughter for the afternoon, whether it be colouring, baking (A.K.A making a giant mess for mum to clean up) or dragging out the box of puzzles - it all helps me shut off from the constant tediousness of the washing and cleaning.
Even if she’s not into whatever activity I set up for her and she goes off to ‘read’ her books, I feel like I’ve tried and I’ve had a break from the monotony rot. If you’re stuck for activity ideas, have a look at different toddler and parenting websites for inspiration.
Stay at home mums shouldn’t have to feel the constant banality of motherhood – the cycle of monotony is there to be broken. You just have to find things that work for you and your child. As for me, I’m off to the gym to sit in the change-rooms in peace.
When my daughter started daycare, I spent a lot of time trying to find the right fit for her and our family. I did a lot of research and asked a lot of questions. Over and over again though, the answer to my question would come back the same, "she'll be fine."