The other day my daughter and I were arguing – bickering really. In her frustration, she said, “Why are you never any fun?!” I know, logically, that that’s a child’s thing to say – I think it’s part of their “kid handbook” actually. But…her words cut deeper than they should. I do struggle to be the fun mom.
You see, recently I’ve been giving a lot of thought to this whole “fun mom” thing. My kids joke with me that their dad is the fun one (He totally is!) and I am the snuggly one (I totally am!) I know I am not naturally that mom… you know, the one who loves playing dolls, digging in the dirt, and playing made up games for hours on end. If I am honest with myself, and with you, I have to work at those things! But they always feel so rewarding when I take the time to do them.
Why I Struggle to Be the Fun Mom
Before I had kids, I had dreams of doing daily arts and crafts projects, spending hours braiding my daughters’ hair, and happily cavorting around town having more fun than we could possibly stand. I was going to be the mom that other kids wished they had and the one my daughters could find no fault with. I was going to be that fun mom who went everywhere and did everything. I would be patient and funny, caring and kind. I should have a cape for how amazing I was going to be.
But that didn’t happen as effortlessly as I had hoped.
You see, pregnancy doesn’t suddenly make you “fun” or increase your patience or your ability to remember kids’ jokes. Pregnancy makes you hyper-aware of all of the responsibility headed your way with the speed of a bullet train. And after your child is born? Ha. There’s no sleep, no manual, and no “fun” switch that magically turns on. Yes, your abilities to love and care and be kind increase exponentially, but so too does your heightened awareness of dangers in the world – and how much there is to do! And just like there’s no fun switch, there’s also no switch to turn off the fretting.
I realized soon after my first daughter was born that my dream of being the fun mom was just that – a dream. I’m not saying I don’t have fun with my kids because I absolutely do – I’m just a lot more serious than I anticipated I would be as a parent. I have always been somewhat serious-minded. I am not sure why I expected birth to change that about my personality. Multiply that serious-mindedness by 3 kids, a husband, and self-employment – and if I am not paying attention, my level of productivity will lap my fun quota exponentially.
I Want to Be the Fun Mom
The thing is, I want to be more fun and that’s why my daughter’s words the other day cut so deep.
So, since wanting something and acting upon something to change it are two entirely different things, I’ve decided that I’m going to get in gear and try to capture some of that fun mom mojo. I’m going to leave some of the worries and responsibilities on hold for a few hours each day and do things that are outside of my comfort zone.
Spend an hour doing sidewalk chalk in the driveway on a sunny afternoon with the girls when I still have a few hours of work left to do? I’m going to give it a try.
Play a board game on a Saturday morning instead of running errands that can wait? I’ll do my best. (We love board games as a family, read about it here.)
For me, being the fun mom means letting the worries and the responsibilities take a back seat to the joy of being a mother. Sometimes I forget to do that. Watch for upcoming articles about things I’ll be doing to bond with my teenager and my littles. It’s not going to be a perfect journey, but I have faith that with a bit of grace from them and a whole lot of letting go from me, that I’ll eventually find my way to that mom I imagined I would someday be. Wish me luck!