Well, the Fun Mom I know is in Costa Rica right now with her kids, backpacking through the rainforest. Before she went away on vacation, each evening was an ice cream excursion where they would try out a different place and new flavor. I never knew this woman before kids, but I imagine she’s always had this zest for living boldly and taking life as it comes.
I’m not Fun Mom.
I used to be fun. But since having kids that’s all changed.
First off, there’s a gap between what I think is fun (and doable w/ the kids) and what M & GL think is fun.
Like eating candy for breakfast. GL thinks that’s fun.
Then there’s the trampoline that was at our vacation home.
At first glance, I thought we were going to find fun together…bouncing around is totally something I could get into…there’s a huge exercise factor in that.
But after getting on that thing for longer than 30 seconds it was more uncomfortable than fun.
On a long car ride recently M asked if we wanted to play 20 Questions.
Not fun is what I thought…
but instead said OK.
Turned out, it was a little fun. We got a few laughs for a few minutes.
So as M + GL get older, the gap between my fun and their fun is slowly shrinking.
It used to be that family fun was all about me watching them have fun — like seeing GL swing across the monkey bars, or M score a goal in soccer.
Now, it’s getting easier to find things we all enjoy. Like rock hopping through a stream.
The interesting thing though is what I consider fun often involves some element of risk. Yet it’s this very risk factor that makes things un-fun for me with my kids. Often their fun makes me a little nervous. Fun Mom doesn’t get nervous. She’s too busy having fun.
When we went rock hopping through the stream, it was great until they started to get further into the river. Then I stopped having fun, and started worrying what was going to happen to them. (GL ended up falling in… I knew something like that would happen.) Mom’s instinct perhaps?
So clearly, Momhood has shifted my definition of fun. But it’s also expanding it.
Watching my kids have fun can be fun for me. Okay it probably wouldn’t stay fun for an extended period of time. But for a bit their laughs and smiles can do the trick.
And as for being Fun Mom? I don’t know how she does it.
Maybe by doing different things? Or keeping an open mind, and seeing something as an adventure…no matter what it is?
I do try to get creative and figure out what’s fun for everyone. Headstanding in the park and making up songs in the car has been working lately for us.
Basically, if I lighten up and live in the moment, I may start to feel a little like Fun Mom.
What do you think makes Fun Mom or Dad stay fun?
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Fun is in the eye of the beholder, Elysha. At least, that is how I feel as I grow older. How to stay fun? The answer must come from the inside and will change with time. My kids loved it when I played with them. Now, I can’t find them most of the time (they are in colleges). When I do, I try to spend quality time together, enjoying their company.
Having gained insight into parenting in general over the years here is one observation:
There is no such animal as “Fun Mom”, “Patient Mom”, “Has Her Shit Together Mom”……at least not 24/7. A Mom is all of those and more SOME OF THE TIME. In my early years I wanted to be all of those rolled into “Perfect Mom”. It is an unattainable goal and should not ever be a GOAL. I’ll try for “Basically Accepting Mom” who accepts herself and the kids she was lucky enough to get. Just call me “Strong Opinions Mom”.
Thanks, Elysha! You make me think!
So true, Terry, that our definition of fun evolves. I’m feeling it firsthand these days! I try to remember that I won’t always be near my kids, and it definitely won’t always be how it is now… so enjoying them as they are becomes part of the fun.
GGW, I love the part about being Accepting Mom. That’s one I’d like to wear for awhile. Thank you, Strong Opinions Mom!
This is so true!
Elysha, I love this post-so honest, wise, wry, and true. And I agree with girlgatheringwisdom above–there is no such thing as Fun Mom or Patient Mom or Cool Mom…although I still find myself wishing I could be more like the illusion of all of these ideal/unreal Moms. So insightful of you to notice both that being present and your kids’ getting older is closing the fun gap–I found the same to be true and deeply relish sharing pleasure and fun with them. Thank you very much for inspiring thought, humor, and joy through this piece, Elysha. Xoxo
Recognizing the illusion is half the battle, ST. Thank you for stopping by and sharing your wisdom. I always love having you here! xo xo