In my last post I tried to convince resistant moms suffering from MMS (Martyr Mommy Syndrome) that not only can they still have fun after having children, but that they should. In this post I want to talk about how to make that happen.
I’m not talking about family fun (we’ll cover that later this month), but the things you enjoyed doing before you had children that you’ll want to continue to do after they leave home. Having fun with our families is great, but there’s a girl inside every mom that has a few things she’d like to do just for her. Things that are just plain fun.
Our kids are great examples of this. Their entire lives seem to revolve around trying to have fun, and they have an uncanny ability to find the fun in just about any situation. Kids seem to understand intuitively that life is meant to be enjoyed, that “happy” is the default. This can be irritating to us as mothers as we try to teach them how to work and exercise self-discipline when all they want to do is play, play, play, but rather than get annoyed by their enthusiasm for life, we should try to replicate it. Their natural inclination to play effectively insulates them from the mundane, unpleasant and negative that unfortunately fixate us as adults. Don’t you want to feel a little of that again? Fun is energizing. Fun is happy. Fun can make everything else seem okay.
So we come back to the two big questions: What do you like to do for fun, and how are you going to make time to do it?
- What do you like to do for fun?
Maybe you’re not sure anymore. Some moms lose themselves so completely in the care of home and family that they give up any thoughts of personal fulfillment. While sacrificing for your children is good (and fulfilling in a completely different way), letting them see you have talents and interests all your own is not a bad thing. In fact, it’s a great model for them as they grow into adulthood, because every grown up needs an outlet to deal with the stresses of life.
For several years after my first children were born, I felt something was missing in my life. While I loved my children and the work of being their mom, I sensed an essential part of me was being neglected and I was suffering as a result. (And when mom suffers? Bingo! The whole family suffers.) The more I allowed myself to think about it (heaven forbid I have needs), the more I realized I needed to get back to doing some of the things I loved to do before I had children. For me, that meant starting a personal blog. I always loved to write and take pictures, and a personal blog was the perfect marriage of the two.
What’s your thing? Are you more of a sporty person? Artistic? Maybe you just love to get out of the house and socialize with other moms. (Nothing like a good girls night out to get you back on track.) Once you figure out what churns your butter, you can start thinking of concrete ways to incorporate them into your life.
- How do you make time for fun?
Luckily, keeping up a personal blog can be done from home after the kids are in bed. Not all hobbies are so compatible with motherhood. No matter what your thing is, there are ways to go about squeezing in time to do them. I’ll narrow it down to two: The grown up way and the kid way. I would say to use both.
The grown up way. Having fun the grown up way is putting your fun on the calendar, or scheduling your fun. While having to work for your fun is not so fun, it is always, always worth it. The other nice thing about scheduling your fun is that you know it’s coming. It’s a guarantee. Swap babysitting, hire a babysitter, schedule a night class when your husband is home, or otherwise make it happen. You need a serious can-do attitude for this, and there is no room for guilt. You have to care enough about yourself to realize this will make you a better mom, not worse.
The kid way. After a really long and super stressful day, I found myself spending the evening in the car driving from soccer practice to harp lessons feeling like my head was going to explode with all the things left on my to-do list. But it was sunset. And a full moon-rise. And I was surrounded by mountains and clouds casting incredible shadows. And I had my camera in the car. During the time I would normally wait for my daughter’s lesson to finish while taking car of business on my iPhone, I started driving around the neighborhood like a storm chaser trying to get the perfect shot of the moon rising over the mountain. It was awesome. I took my fun when and where I could find it and it felt great. A little time goes a long way.
So come one, moms! Figure out what you love to do, and make it happen. Why should kids have all the fun?
QUESTION: What do you like to do for fun?
CHALLENGE: Make it happen!
You can read Allyson’s Moms Just Wanna Have Fun (Part 1) here.