Yesterday afternoon at about 4pm I sat at the kitchen bench and stared off into space. I felt bored and restless. I would have rather been somewhere else. Working at an office in town maybe. Or out doing something – anything – stimulating and interesting.
But because I’m a stay-at-home mum who works part-time from home I was in the house. Again. I’m always in the house. And I have to be honest when I say that being at home all the time gets boring and lonely sometimes. It’s isolating.
The kids were home with me – I’d only recently picked them up from school. But with their tummies full of snacks and their homework done they were all happily absorbed in their online worlds – watching YouTube or playing video games.
The Late Afternoon Doldrums…
So that left me floundering around for something to do. I already had dinner prepared. There was no washing to fold. Should I read a book? Listen to the radio? Make a cake? Clean something? Sigh.
I know this is a first world problem and really I’ve got nothing to complain about. But this is my life and these are my emotional reactions to my circumstances and I have to be honest. Sometimes I get bored and restless at home and feel isolated and lonely and usually it happens in the late afternoon.
Right about the time I used to open the wine.
I don’t think it’s a coincidence that my regular drinking habit went to a new level after I had kids and my days became repetitive and I started spending much more time at home alone. I’d always been a boozer but after my sons came along the whole “5 o’clock is wine o’clock” mentality bedded in to become gospel.
Having a cork to pop (or cap to screw open) in the late afternoon made the long monotonous days just that little bit more bearable. Pouring that brain-altering liquid down my throat made the day a little bit more interesting. It relaxed me, warmed me, altered my mental state and pushed aside any boredom or frustration. The kids’ incessant demands became more bearable. I felt loose, fun, naughty and part of an adult world.
Some might say having a drink at 5pm is the perfect thing for stay-at-home parents. Except of course if you’re like me and your moderation button was broken at birth and it’s impossible to stop at one or two (or even three) drinks. Not if you’re like me and rather than just a little tipsy you found yourself getting sloshed every evening (and sometimes downright wasted). Then of course a 5pm drinky is not the perfect thing at all and you’re better off avoiding alcohol altogether.
That’s me – sober now for over six years and far happier for it. However, the circumstances of my life are still the same. I’m at home 95% of the time and often I get bored and restless. So what’s a sober housewife to do if bending your brain with alcohol is no longer an option?
I have a variety of things I now turn to to combat boredom. Books, TV, cooking, the internet, the radio. Walking the dog. Forcing the kids off their screens to play games with me. Inviting other bored housewives over for coffee.
I’d far rather be alert to my circumstances and in a good, strong position to change them than boozed, disconnected and useless – stagnating in a pool of vino.
Because maybe the truth is I need to shift my circumstances and get something else to do. Something engaging and stimulating. Maybe even something like part-time work outside of the home.
Doesn’t that sound like the sort of decision making a sober person in command of their life would do?