As a teenager, I was certain I would grow up to be the “fun” mom. Boy, have times changed! The realities of motherhood and the weight of responsibility can sure put a damper on things.
Hanging out and having fun with my kids (or even my own friends) just doesn’t always make it onto my “to-do” list. Even making time to do something by myself that I enjoy seems to be a challenge. Let’s face it: Once we become mothers, sometimes having fun can feel like a lot of work!
Well, it doesn’t have to be that way, which is why we’re devoting the next few months to The Power of Fun and how to have more of it as a mother. Some of the topics we’ll cover include making family work more fun, enjoying serendipitous moments, using traditions to encourage fun, sharing the hysterical things our kids do and say, making time for yourself to have fun, and how humor can bring energy, perspective, and joy to otherwise tense or challenging moments.
Here are a few examples of how fun has made a difference to the moms in our community:
“Honestly, I get the biggest kick out of April Fool’s Day. I LOVE it. And I have a plastic spider and my boy Max to thank for that. The past couple years I’ve put a plastic spider in Max’s bowl of cereal in the morning when he wasn’t paying attention. And man did I ever get him good. I can’t explain how my heart pumps in anticipation to see the expression on his face when he scoops it up, is about to take a bite and then freaks out when he sees what’s on his spoon. He is one heck of a great sport. After his initial shock, he laughs right along with us and thinks it’s pretty funny.” (Shawni Pothier)
“Blemishes. Going to school with one was like wearing my own blinking light that announced a dork was coming up the hallway. I couldn’t cope with that, so I’d miss the bus in hopes my mom would be too busy to drive me to school. (My parents) were beside themselves trying to think of a solution when a grand idea finally crossed my father’s mind. ‘We’ll have her drive her own bus to school!’ he exclaimed in admiration of his own genius. You see, my parents had just inherited my grandmother’s RV and weren’t quite sure what to do with it. Well, now they knew. The next time I missed the bus, I would be driving my own bus to school.
“I shouldn’t have tested their resolve because the RV was the antithesis of cool. Not only did it have a giant, red roadrunner painted on the back, but something that looked like a massive iceberg was perched on its top–as if it could double as a frightening ice cream truck. Needless to say, having to drive a recreational vehicle, my very own bus, to school was much more embarrassing than any facial blemish ever was. In fact, I don’t think I ever noticed having one again.
“Today I thank heaven for parents who had the creativity to help transform my mountains back into mole hills and the worst of my fears into funny memories.” (Melanie Vilburn)
“Growing up, I lived around the corner from an amazing lady. I could see she was such a good mom, as her children and grandchildren just adored her. I knew her well enough to know that her kids and grandkids were the most important things in her life. Soon after I had my second child, I found out she was diagnosed with an aggressive form of cancer, and she wasn’t given much time to live. I had the opportunity to hear her speak to a group of women that included her children, grandchildren and many women whose lives she had touched. She gave an inspirational message and then said something that day I will never forget. She said that on her gravestone all they needed to put was ‘I HAD FUN.’ It was clear to me that that was the exact thing I had admired in her as a mother for so long. She had enjoyed being a mom and a grandma and all that went along with it. Her kids were more than just tasks to take care of; they were what made life fun for her! When I think about her, it makes me want to step back and look at my life as a mom and ask, ‘Am I having fun?’ So often I get caught up in my list of endless tasks, how tired I feel and how hard it is to meet all the needs. But what could be better than at the end of it all to say, ‘I loved being a mom, and you know what? I HAD FUN!’” (Christine Jackman)
QUESTION: What are some of your favorite memories of spontaneous fun with your family?
CHALLENGE: Spend 30 minutes today (with or without your kids) doing something you enjoy–just for fun!