Why It's Okay to Feel Bored as a New Mom

Bored mom

 Tetra Images/Jamie Grill/Brand X/Getty

As a new mom, it’s normal to feel a rollercoaster of emotions, from joy to sorrow to everything in between. But there’s one common new-mom feeling that doesn’t often get addressed: boredom.

The fact is, even though your baby requires a lot of energy and attention, the tasks of infant care are pretty basic (at least in the beginning). Feeding, diapering, and snuggling comprise the majority of baby-care duties in the early days. Sometimes this can feel like a hamster wheel of tedious repetition. Plus, infants spend up to 17 hours a day sleeping. Chained to the house with a conked-out kiddo, many moms find themselves wondering what to actually do all day.

When boredom hits, don’t dismay. Even after you’ve caught up on some chores and checked your social media notifications for the umpteenth time, there are plenty of productive ways to spend the long hours—and keep boredom at bay. Here are some options to consider.

Keep Learning

With each passing day, your baby is learning all about the vast world around them. Perhaps you can keep up with a little education for yourself, too! If you’ve ever wanted to brush up on your Spanish or pick up some Chinese, try a language-learning app like DuoLingo or Rosetta Stone. Dip into these programs while baby sleeps or keep their audio portions on in the background during their wake time. (Bonus: Exposure to foreign language may even offer benefit to your baby’s cognitive development.)

Another option for your mommy continuing-ed is listening to audiobooks. While many audiobook services are paid, others are available for free. Librivox, for example, offers thousands of titles in the public domain. Revisit your favorite classics or get around to those you never read before.

Podcasts are another popular means of learning new things. Choose a topic that interests you—anything from French cooking to auto mechanics—and soak up half an hour or so of knowledge while playing pattycake with baby. Again, the more language input your child receives, the better, even if it’s not coming directly from you.

Catch Up on Your Favorite Media

There’s a disparaging stereotype that stay-at-home moms spend their time “watching soap operas and eating bonbons.” Don’t let this lame old chestnut give you a guilt trip. While baby sleeps, there’s no shame in relaxing for awhile in front of your favorite TV show or movie, or even scrolling through social media. If you limit these activities mostly to baby’s nap time, you’ll be more attentive and less distracted when your little one is awake.

Get Outdoors 

Getting outside is a near-guaranteed mood booster. One study found that people who spent time walking in nature had decreased activity in the area of the brain associated with depression.

To mix things up from your usual beat, try going for a walk in a neighborhood you’ve always dreamed of living in, or take baby to a park on the other side of town. The mere fact of leaving your own environment can make you feel like you’ve accomplished an activity for the day.

While you’re outdoors, be sure to engage baby’s senses by pointing out colors and objects in nature. It’s okay if you’re met with a blank stare. Even if it doesn’t seem like baby comprehends much at this stage, visual and verbal stimulation are important keys to their development.

Meet Up With Friends

Feeling bored at home with baby? Let it prompt you to get together with friends. Whether you hang out with your BFF or attend a meet-up group for the first time, getting social interaction of any kind can relieve the sense of same-old, same-old. If your friends are fellow moms who have been in your shoes, perhaps they can offer you advice (or some much-needed commiseration).

Practice a Hobby

Just because you’ve become a mom doesn’t mean your pre-baby interests have ceased to exist. Keeping up with your hobbies can not only fill the time during the long days with your new arrival—it can reconnect you to your unique self.

While you may not be able to do absolutely everything you used to enjoy in your free time, spending time on hobbies can be compatible with having a baby on board. While baby is awake, bring him into the experience of your hobby as much as possible. While crafting, brush his toes with ribbons, feathers, or pipe cleaners. If you play piano, let him bang on the keys with you. If you love bike riding, invest in a safe baby seat and hit the road as a duo.

Over time, as your baby grows, maintaining your own hobbies will help teach her the important concept that you have an identity outside of being “just” a mom. Besides, it may encourage her to pursue distinctive interests of her own. 

Volunteer From Home

It’s true that being the parent of an infant limits your options for investing in your community, but there are some surprising ways to help others from the comfort of your own home. Why not research volunteer opportunities that can be done remotely?

Overseas military personnel are always happy to get a letter of thanks for their service via Operation Gratitude. Got a knack for knitting? Knots of Love is a non-profit that takes knitted caps and blankets for people undergoing chemotherapy. With a little effort, you can usually find a way to give back, even if you can’t leave home very often.

Tend to Your Own Spirit

In the breakneck pace of modern life, we don’t often take the time to tend to our own emotional and spiritual needs. Perhaps a time of boredom is an opportunity for these forms of self-care. If you’ve never tried a meditation practice, consider listening to a guided recording during baby’s feeding time, or while rocking him to sleep.

Journaling, yoga, and prayer are other practices to experiment with, especially during nap time. By refilling your own emotional and spiritual “tank,” you may find have more patience and compassion in those not-so-peaceful moments of colicky crying or diaper blowouts.

A Word From Verywell 

When caring for your baby is less than exciting, try to remember that boredom can actually be a good thing. Perhaps this quieter time will give you the pause you need for introspection, pursuing a long-neglected hobby, or connecting with friends. Some research has even shown that getting bored can fuel creativity and boost productivity. Besides, before you know it, the pace of life will likely speed up as your baby grows.

If, however, a sense of boredom or purposelessness just won't let up, talk to your doctor. This could be a sign of depression.

2 Sources
Verywell Family uses only high-quality sources, including peer-reviewed studies, to support the facts within our articles. Read our editorial process to learn more about how we fact-check and keep our content accurate, reliable, and trustworthy.
  1. Bratman GN, Hamilton JP, Hahn KS, Daily GC, Gross JJ. Nature experience reduces rumination and subgenual prefrontal cortex activation. Proc Natl Acad Sci USA. 2015;112(28):8567-72. doi:10.1073/pnas.1510459112

  2. Park G, Lim B-C, and Oh H-S. Why Being Bored Might Not Be a Bad Thing after All. Academy of Management Discoveries, Vol 5.1, March 2019. doi:10.5465/amd.2017.0033

By Sarah Garone
 Sarah Garone, NDTR, is a freelance health and wellness writer who runs a food blog.