The beginnings of this poem came to me one night in the shower after a particularly long day of listening to the “I’m bored” mantra over and over. It is a grating phrase to me, and I often wish I could ask my mom what she said to us when we said it in great repetition to her over summer break. I’m certain that this phrase ranks among the top 10 of most frustrating for parents. 

My lists of the things they could do never meet their expectations. I tell them that farm kids have no excuse for boredom; there is work and play around every corner. There is a chicken coop to clean, lawn to mow, weeds to whack, and of course, the ever popular option – play with your sister. There are days when my suggestions of water fights and slip-n-slide are even met with a pout, because there ‘aren’t enough kids to be fun’ due to activities and naptimes. 

Perhaps this week I’ll just respond with nonsensical things they could do, “You could fly to the moon on a chicken’s back, slip-n-slide on Mars, lasso an ostrich and teach it to ride.” I’ll let you know if this tactic works, because I feel my summer grip on sanity be tested a bit every time I hear those words. 

“I’m bored,”

Child whimpers-

As mom rolls her eyes

Here it comes again-

Those words I despise.

“I’m bored,”

Now said with a whine-

“We never do anything fun,”

“Do you need a job?”

“I don’t want one!”

“I’m bored,”

First words said

As they burst through the door-

“Did you finish your list of work?”

“I’m certain I can find you more.”

“I’m bored,”

Uttered in frustration 

When a project goes awry

“Take a deep breath”

“Think positive, and try.”

“I’m bored!”

Shouted after a brotherly fight

“No one wants to play with me.”

“Did you try to ask nicely?”

“Perhaps you should let him be?” 

“I’m bored,”

Said with a long sigh

As he slumps on the couch

“Maybe you need a nap?”

“Then you wouldn’t be such a grouch.”

“I’m bored.”

Muttered as they yawn

“Time for bed, the day is done”

“Tomorrow is time for more to do”

“Go to sleep my dear little one”

Jacqui and her family milk 800 cows and run 1,200 acres of crops in the northeastern corner of Vernon County, Wis. Her children, Ira (12), Dane (10), Henry (5) and Cora (toddler), help her on the farm while her husband, Keith, works on a grain farm. If she’s not in the barn, she’s probably in the kitchen, trailing after little ones, or sharing her passion of reading with someone. Her life is best described as organized chaos – and if it wasn’t, she’d be bored.