Boredom Revisited | Ways to Help You Embrace It Ep 20
Today is one of those intimate conversations between moms with my business bestie Hi Des.
Hello, Iva. So good to be in this room together.
Always it's always good and it's always fun. And today we wanted to just jump right in to revisit a topic that we feel has different layers and nuances to it and it really should start to become more of a forefront type of conversation between us not only women but between us as a society, which is boredom revisited. And we spoke about boredom and why it is a good thing to encourage in our kids in episode 11 of season one and we really go through different points with regards to what boredom is able to accomplish and do in our kids in the positive.
I remember that after that particular episode and the conversation you and I had, I felt such a big relief in a way, because we really discussed how we should not feel guilty about not constantly entertaining our little ones not constantly finding activities not constantly being pulled away from our own things to you know, pull out a new toy or a new game or do an activity with them. But actually to let them be and figure it out. Let them be bored because that will actually trigger their own creativity, their own thinking. And just knowing that I was like, ‘oh, okay, this is good.’ You know, that gave me a lot of relief about not having to be, you know, like helicoptering around my little one for the entire time.
It is definitely a mindset shift when we see boredom as not a problem that needs to be fixed, but rather something that can be really, really good. And we also brought up a very fabulous parenting book in it, called The Gardener And The Carpenter. by Alison Gopnik. And really, what does it mean at the end of the day to parent from a place of love, and to allow boredom into the mix. But today, we wanted to go a little bit deeper, because we wanted to bring in a couple more things that we weren't able to discuss at length in that episode, because of time constraints, of course, and new things that have happened along the way that have just brought to our attention like what is that chain reaction or domino effect that we are going to be looking down the line collectively? This is not just us as moms raising our kids, but also collectively as a society. Like looking ahead, what is what is there in the horizon?
I know you're right. That's very well said because by now our kids are a little bit older that when we did this, we've added one more kid to the podcasting family to so I have a different dynamic at home with that now having two instead of just one, and like you said it's true. There have been a lot of advancements around us and forms of technology with which we're going to touch on as well.
Yes, yes. And I think that with boredom, it tends to be… so, my take on it is that from studying the science of the mind, what I've seen is that we will always revert back to what is familiar and we want to avoid what is unfamiliar. So if we make boredom familiar for our children, at some point it's not going to be a contentious type of conversation, because they will know that whenever they are bored, and that your answer is always the same, or your reaction is always the same, then they sort of follow the protocol in which they just find a way to entertain themselves eventually. And they usually do. So but what happens on the other side, though, because I think that adds a little bit more fuel to the fire, so to speak. So the scenario is your kid or your children are bored, everything is boring. They don't want to play with their toys, and you're busy, you have things to do. You need to make a phone call or you need to do errands, do things and then all of a sudden it's that feeling that comes up. And you are very, very much annoyed at the fact that they are bored because you're looking around and you say well, there's so many things that you could be doing. And it is going into that space of understanding that what is coming up for us, like why is boredom inconvenient? And why do we have this automatic response of wanting to squash it? And we're just like, ‘look, here, let me solve it for you.’ Right? If we're like very driven, we tend to be like, ‘Okay, let's make a plan. Let's do this. Let's do that.’ And there we are, again, being like the personal entertainers for children even though we have so many other things that we need to take care of. Or we also and this is you know, this is coming from a place of zero judgment, we all grab something, an iPad, a phone, and we're like, ‘there, just give me five minutes so I can just finish my thoughts.’ And yeah, here it goes. Right. Yeah. Because we get to a place where it's just doing something in our train of activity that is just derailing us.
I know I exactly what you said it becomes annoying and inconvenient. And at one point I remember I got angry because I'm looking around the playroom literally which is attached like beside our kitchen, I can see them play. It's filled with toys and I was like, why am I buying all of these toys for you? Why am I you know, you keep asking me for all of these craft things and do a craft, man. You know you get so like ‘Why am I buying these things for you every time we go to the shop, if you're not using them?’ And it just you know you get to a point where I also have to hold myself back and I'm like, wait a second. Let's slow down here. Right Like, let's revisit because I all of a sudden feel guilty like am I not doing something right, right? Am I not spending enough time for him to lead him into the certain activities I'm expecting him to do? It's like we always be injected back onto us. Right?
And that is and that is the Pebble In The Shoe theory that I talked about so much but in a nutshell is that it's really our kids tend to be just a mirror image of that feeling. That we are either not enough or not worth it. And that somehow, some way all our efforts, are always in vain. Like they amount to nothing because here I have my child being bored again. Here I have my child saying that he he's just not happy. Here's my child, you know, telling me in a very subconscious way that I'm not a good parent because if I were a good parent they would be happy and they would be thriving and playing with their toys, right?
So right here I feel it's almost like an insult. When he says I'm bored of like what?
Right because of a narrative that we carry inside of us that is so much stronger than the actual trigger. Right? They are just, they just press the button inside of us and that fuse goes off because it's ingrained. And when we are already in a new space as adults, when we are as mompreneurs we are pursuing our passion, connecting with her gifts, you know, like how are we showing up the sense of purpose that goes and permeates everything that we do in our life? How are we supposed to find it, connect with it and even share it with the world if we don't take a moment to slow down a little bit with ourselves to accomplish it? By the same token, then how are we enabling and empowering our children to follow their passion to follow their gifts their purposes? When children start to go into an age where it's time to think about going to college and what they want to do with their lives. Have they have we actually as parents allowed them to look within themselves and tell us what that is?
Yeah, exactly. Are we dictating it?
Where are we dictating it? And again, it comes from a place of a lot of love and a lot of self-introspection which happens to me as well. You know, I'm also guilty as charged, like I would rather just put a schedule and that they marched to the beat of it so that I know that by 6:05 dinner is served everybody's bathed and it's like clockwork. But as human beings it doesn't work that way. So how can we allow ourselves to open up the space to just be and the being comes with everything. It comes with the boredom. It comes with the sadness, it comes with the frustration it comes with the anger. It comes with allowing every single emotion to come through not only for us, but also for them.
I think with the slowing down it's so it's I mean it's such a good cue right for us because we are constantly on a goal I feel we I mean our schedule our time is limited because we limit let's say we're working moms, so our work time like we're growing our business, building our business, serving our clients, right, is limited to the time they're in school because that's the kinds of moms we are_ we want to be present when they're home. So we packed everything into that tight schedule. So it's constantly like go go go go one appointment, one task, then running errands, maybe running to the supermarket or something. We don't actually have downtimes as moms right. And I feel that however, it already starts that kids are being conditioned a little bit the same way in the traditional schooling system. Because I have like since the last episode, we've shifted education systems, right. I'm just gonna speak from my experience, where before our little one was in a more traditional one where it was very sad. Okay, at 9:30 we have our welcome song at 9:40 we sit down and do a craft at 9:55 We're going to stop and sing another song whether you're done or not. And then at 10:30 We're going to have a snack. It's like very clockwork, right, which is some call it a routine and in a way I think kids do need that guidance.
But since then, we have switched to the Montessori system which is amazing at first as that's very interesting. How does that even work? So the kids actually go in and for the first few for the first like three hours, there's absolutely no schedule and the kids do what they want. And I was like, Okay, how does that work? They do what they want. So there's a lot of different activities in like, five different categories, right? They can pick and choose what they want to do. They're not being told to go to this category or that they like simply look around and find their own work to do and do it then pack it away. Move on to the next. Some stay with one activity for a longer period of time. And then finish it very quickly because everyone every kid is totally at its own level, right? Yes. And all of a sudden they're like, oh, let's go play in the garden and they have the liberty to do that. Of course there is a common like, lunchtime and then another like afternoon block of activities and the teacher circulate route around and are assisting here and there. But I was like wow, that is amazing. So during the last parent observation, is like every child has something to do. And there were some kids like walking around, acting a little bit like they have they don't know what they want to do. Maybe a little bit bored, but they were just the teachers let them be to figure it out. And I thought that was amazing.
Yes, yeah, like they're not going to give them something to do. And that is the sentiment that I feel. Is it because as you as you mentioned before, we as a society, we're always on the go. There's so many things going on in and our lives are really jam packed. And if we're passionate or multi passionate, entrepreneurs there's so many things that we want to do- everything right, we just we just want to be doing all the things. And if we're following our passion and it lights us up and we're thriving, that is fantastic. But our kids possibly are not in that stage yet. And so how do you allow them to step into it? And it's by seeing them being in these moments where they just simply don't know and they need to figure it out on their own because they are their own person. It's like coming to terms with the fact that it is inconvenient for me because I'm on my fast lane already. Right. I build the highway and I just want to ride in it. But they don't have their own highway built yet. So it's finding that compromise and I do believe what you mentioned, of slowing down is so important for all of us involved. I mean, those moments of mindfulness or those moments where just we just take five minutes to breathe in instead to react to the trigger because the triggers are always going to be there. But yeah, always have the choice how we want to react.
Yeah, exactly. See, so we have the choice as well. But at the same time we're nurturing their decision making as well. Right? We're nurturing their problem-solving skills, because if these situations would never come up, they wouldn't know what to do, how to solve a certain situation, how to take a decision, no matter how little it may seem to us. Should I play with the Lego or shall I draw a picture you know? It's really_ we need to be actually it's almost our responsibility to let our kids be born to figure it out themselves, right?
As you say, according to their age and the stage that they are in life, but allow them to solve problems that they can handle. Of course there are I mean, the distinction of explaining you know, there are big problems that should always be consulted with an adult so you can always reach me if you feel that this is way out of your league and it's guiding them in understanding those nuances because in life there are so so many distinctions right and it's not an absolute black and white type of situation either. That's why in that episode, where we spoke about all the benefits of boredom is actually good for our kids in episode 11 of season one. We also talked about you know creativity and how does this creativity get infused into every area of life and it permeates into our society as well because advances in society, in technology, in the arts, in everything in every scope of life in entrepreneurship they all come from somebody that is tapping into their own creativity to come up with an original solution and approach to things. But how can you be original if you're not allowed to tap into who you are and what you're all about?
Exactly. Exactly. Yeah, very well said. Very well said and I know you touched a little bit on the technology part just now as well. Just before we hit record, we actually started speaking about it before, and we had to stop ourselves and say wait, let's save this for the recording. But really scary. Isn't it about what's happening at the moment in the technology world?
Well, it's let's put it this way. It's a lot of food for thought on this aspect with technology because one of the things that we also mentioned in that episode was that technology can_ there's different types of technology, right there's like the broccoli type of technology and then there's the M&M type of technology and we have to be discerning. And of course, technology is very helpful and I'm not against it, despite what a lot of people might think because I don't let my kids watch TV but I do understand that technology has its place and our children are digital natives because of the time we're born in. However, we also need to put on our long lens or long lenses or long vision lenses and start to see how the pieces of the puzzle are coming together. And this is the food for thought part. There is an AI_ I'm not gonna call it by name, I don't know if I should, if we're allowed to but it's an it's an AI that, you type and you and you say you know, make, you know make a poem for me or write an essay or a 500 word essay on I don't know ‘why exercise is good for me’ or something right? And this AI platform just in a matter of seconds, it just delivers you all the text and it's written it's done and you're ready to go right and use it. So it makes you wonder that if we're already at this stage, my children by the way, they are seven and five. And this technology is already out there and it's quite mind blowing by the capacity that it can do. And we all know that technology it's duplicating itself at a quantum rate. So it's not a matter of like a couple of years. It's like a couple of months this AI is going to surpass itself and then it's going to surpass itself again, and it's going to get to a point where I cannot even envision it because it has never been part of my reality. It's really hard to grasp but I do know that down the line our children are going to step into the world. They're going to start to go to university and the whole system, the whole education system. It's going to be very hard the way it's set up right now to trace what is coming from an AI produced.
I know I know. Let's talk about plagiarism for a while. What's the definition going to be about that?
Because I think, that just my belief and again, I am not fully versed on this. This is just very personal among conversations that we're having. I could be corrected at any second right now. But I believe that this AI is just the billions and trillions of bits of information that it's processing, it allows it to find ways that it can just, it can just come up with something new, even if it's the same, I believe. So it's not a Google search. You know, it's not like oh, look in Google. There's already an article that's exactly like that written with the same sentences and the same choice words and titles. I think that this is a little like going a step further. But by leaving that on the side, what really draws my attention is the fact that part of the society that we live in, is based on the fact that we trust each other to perform at the best of our ability, the jobs and the careers that we choose to have for ourselves. So if I am getting on a plane, I trust that my pilot knows how to fly it regardless of whether they have autopilot installed in the aircraft or not. I trust that they went through the process, the exams, the testing and the studying part, to understand when situations require each and how to effectively take you safely from point A to point B, regardless of the weather and the conditions. etc. So if by the same token, all of a sudden we have an AI that is thinking for us and that we're very, very quickly been able to use this AI to produce things, to get tested on and score on and to pass to the next level so that we can, you know, perform a job or a career. How well prepared are we? How well prepared are the new I don't know engineers, architects, nurses, doctors, pilots, and we're here to continue performing at what we expect to be the level right to ensure that everyone is the right way.
Exactly. But it all comes down to like, are we going to keep using our mind the way we are right now? Right? Are our children going to be using thereby into their capacity or are they going to be taking shortcuts through life and really killing their own creativity?
Right I know that you know the concept of the mind itself, the way the neurons and the synapses are formed inside the mind. It's all a repetition. It's like a muscle. It's like going to the gym. That's why we use the phrase ‘Oh, it's a bit like riding a bicycle’ like you learn and then you jump back in it after a long time but the highway, the connection is built there and you'll come back and then at the beginning, you might be wobbly again. But once you get the hang of it again, you come back to it right. Those are those brain muscles that need to be strengthened and solidified but what if they were never strengthened or solidified to begin with? To closing the loop of boredom and why we started the conversation with the boredom as the main topic and everything has branched out from there. Because boredom puts us in a state where as you said, we have to use our mind, we have to find a creative way or even we have to just go inside ourselves and deal with uncomfortable emotions that might come up because we don't want to be bored, right? We just seem to be bored and we just want to get out of it. Our children say as much right ‘Mommy, I'm bored. This is so boring. I don't want this it's boring.’ Okay, then what are the solutions? What are we going to do? What's the alternative? What is that this AI has to tell you what you need to do.
But also like AI I mean, that stands for artificial intelligence. The word says it all it's artificial. It's not you. And right now we're also in this phase, you know, as content creators. It's like we have to be our authentic selves. And that's what we're doing as parents we're trying to raise authentic little humans with their own personality, with their own opinions with their own freedom of speech in a way right like we are really, that's what we're trying to do as good parents to for their own person to bloom over the years. And it's just a little bit scary that with this artificial intelligence going on as well that things may spiral out of control or the inconvenience of these conveniences will be taken advantage of in a way or that you know, if, like, let's say you write a blog because I love what you do_I follow what you do_I read so much of what you write and what if I knew that you didn't actually write that, it's not actually your opinion. You may have skipped over as I go, Yeah, sounds good post, you know, but it's like, I want to get into your mind. I want to see your creativity. I want to hear your opinion. And that's exactly why it again comes down to we need to be responsible as parents to harness in their early years, their minds, their creativity, and that's not always on us to provide all of these educational toys and games. It's best to let them be to let them be and discover that.
And that’s the amazing thing, we ourselves right as human beings, we are holistic beings. We also have emotions. Yes, we also have the mental aspect but we have the intuitive aspect. It's knowing without having all the facts. It's just like this knowing and this connection to something bigger than us. I do believe in that, a higher source, whatever the name we want to use and whatever you choose to belive but for the most part there is a higher energy that is responsible for everything that we see in the universe for the way that life is so fascinating, that the way our body, our minds are designed and they operate and all of that is just so fascinating. So there has to be like this intelligent design behind it all that far surpasses our own mental capacity. And when we connect with that source, we're also stepping into the realm of magic, of serendipity, or of synchronicities, of ease, and don't we want a life of ease? A life where things are just more effortless and we're not always like pushing so hard and pushing so hard and pushing so hard. Well, the opportunity that we are giving our children to step into that ease, into that effortlessness, comes connected and linked to the fact that they need to tap within themselves. To that source. To that sense of knowing without knowing. How are they going to know without knowing if an AI is telling them what they should know? All the time, we are telling them what they should do all the time. If we're telling and I get it, you know, there is a spectrum we are talking about a spectrum here, we're talking about, we all fall into different points within that spectrum. As mothers, because of our own life stories, our own unique family situations, and there is no absolute right and absolute wrong. There is however, a very honest examination that we can all benefit from. When we look at how we're reacting to the boredom. And also, how are we ensuring that our children are really armed with weapons that are not so concrete, they're more in the abstract, like that ability to be intuitive, that ability to be mindful, or have a moment of mindfulness, that ability to connect with their breath. That ability to stop and pause.
Those are soft skills, right, that emotional intelligence to pick up the cues of someone talking to us; is the person mad, is the person uncomfortable? Do children know how to read faces anymore? Like those subtle gestures and facial expressions that the other person is showing in microseconds and, and we pick it up but we, but we don't allow them to develop that and as we said before, strengthen them if they have a screen in front of their face all the time, or if they're always told what to do until they graduate.
yeah, the other day, Luca had a playdate at home with his friend and they always play very nicely together. But also they came to me in the kitchen and I had already started prepping dinner. They were like, We don't know what to play. We're bored again. That word. We're bored. We don't know what to do. And I was like, “Well, you can play with your friend”. They suggested actually, can we switch on the TV and I was like no, you're here on a playdate. I mean, you have each other to play, which is the whole point of being together, right? And then they went off, and I was kind of like observing them a little bit from the kitchen and all of a sudden, they started building a fort. They took out all the stuffed animals, they were playing family, they had a dog, they had a baby amongst them, which is a different story. And it was just so adorable. They had this whole like scenario in their mind this whole play created and that was beautiful. It was so beautiful to watch what came out of that. Yeah, I'm so bored statement.
Right. And that's how you rewire even more of that meaning they will start to see that the boredom is familiar, and that they're able to do something about it. And so the next time it's going to be oh yeah, I remember, “oh yeah, I remember” and the next time and then next time and the next time and you're not cancelling that out from him, you're just allowing to be and develop into whatever that was, which was making the fort or next time is going to be like let's go and get water and splash the dolls in the water, whatever that happens to be for them in that moment. But is going to get to a point where being bored is not something that will a) not faze them so they will sort of understand. Oh yeah, I have been through this before and I end up always coming with something and b) you as a mom, you're going to feel more and more empowered that you can handle the “I'm bored. I don't know what to do help me out” space within yourself where you're just calm and collected about it and not feeling triggered and not feeling this Pebble In The Shoe activated inside of you where you think Oh my God, what am I doing wrong? You have also so many toys what's going on? Or trying to take matters into your own hands and end up feeling even more frazzled?
Exactly. Yeah. So Mama every time you're feeling frustrated that your kids seem to be bored, every time you're annoyed by their these statements, every time that they can’t seem to find anything to do and it's making you feel bad_ stop. Just think about our conversation and say “It's actually good.” You're actually helping them by allowing them that space to activate their minds to activate their creativity. And that is how we're going to shape them into the tiny, amazing humans that they are that they will be. Listen to your inner voice and just let them be.
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Episodes Mentioned: Episode 11, Season 1, Myth Busters| Can Boredom and Kids Be a Winning Combo?