There is a lie I have believed for a long time.
It’s that I’m just not very FUN. Or really that my husband is the fun parent and I’m just not a very fun mom.
OK, so my husband really IS a fun parent. He is adventurous and likes to try out new things with the kids. He loves activities and takes the kids bike riding, camping, etc. He’s the one who wrestles with them and makes shadow puppets and talks football with the teenagers.
Me. . . not so much.
I’m the parent that makes the meals, washes the clothes and has no time to play because I have “stuff to do”. So over time I have convinced myself that I’m just destined to be “boring mom”. You know because I do the boring tasks and then make the kids do boring things like clean their room and because we homeschool I also get to be “teacher” mom.
And so while I have believed this lie for a while now, I’m at the point where I’ve had enough.
Life is too short and my kids are only small for a short time to not spend it with more joy.
Plus I just finished reading Hands Free Mama by Rachel Macy Stafford which really encouraged me to let go of some of the distractions that have been keeping me from truly enjoying what matters most and be more intentional with my time. I highly recommend it.
I want to be fun. I want to be creative. I am trying to be really present with my children and in order to do that I need to engage them.
So I’m reclaiming my inner “fun” and making it my own. I mean I think I can be entertaining because I actually have friends who I believe enjoy my company so there’s got to be something there right? It’s just the being amusing with the kids that’s hard.
Part of the reason I don’t feel very entertaining or interesting with them is because I don’t always know how to just “play”. I don’t know about you but I don’t always enjoy sitting on the ground playing cars with my son or dolls with my girl. So I have to figure out what I can really do and enjoy with them.
You know? Like I’m semi-crafty; I like to play
some kids games. I can handle going to the park or being adventurous at times. But. . .
Really I’ve had to look at my strengths, which is something I do with my coaching clients and figure out realistically how I can be more fun. The realistic part is key because I could come up with all kinds of awesome goals that I will never actually do and then get discouraged and convince myself again that I’m not only not fun but that in fact I’m probably the lamest mom ever.
So one of my strengths is that I’m pretty easy going and flexible. But that means that I usually go with the flow and rely on others to come up with a plan and have a harder time being proactive and motivated to try something new myself. How I’m using this strength for fun is just try to be more of a yes mom than a no mom. And by that I mean that I often say no to my kids even about simple things, it’s become just a reaction, no we can’t go to the park today we have too much to do. No we can’t have a play date, the house is a mess. No I can’t watch the movie with you; I have chores to do. . . and so on.
I’m trying to say yes more within reason and it takes practice but I’m learning it can really be enjoyable for all of us. And really they haven’t asked to do anything too outrageous. . . yet.
For example, my younger two who are 4 and 5 like to build forts out of blankets and chairs because they’re kids and of course they do.
Well a few weeks ago they asked if they could have their nap in the fort. Now friends the fact that my 4 & 5 yr. old still nap is a miracle from Jesus so I protect this time with my life because for a good 1-2 hours in the middle of the day I get time to work, read or just rest myself.
So my first instinct was to say no, because I’m thinking they’ll never actually nap in the “fort” and I need those nap hours.
But because I’m trying to be more of a yes mom. I said “Ok sure, why not?” And figured that if they didn’t sleep at least they would have a good time and maybe they would at least be quiet(ish) and I could get a few things done.
They were thrilled; they made a cozy little nest and guess what? They actually slept. Both of them for like 2 hours. It was the most precious thing ever.
And I learned a valuable lesson that being agreeable mom can be good for all of us and is really not so hard.
So based on my gifts, talents and also personality and limitations, I’ve come up with a list of things I’m going to be more intentional about saying yes to as potential opportunities for “fun”, here are a few:
1. Getting out of the house-because when I’m home I will find boring things to do so going out will keep me from being boring thus hopefully opening up doors to fun.
2. Getting crafty (in my own way) – I don’t mind crafts; in fact sometimes I kind of even like them. Really I don’t mind making a mess or anything like that it’s more that. . . how can I put this? I don’t want to end up with useless projects.
Is that wrong? I hate clutter and I already have all kinds of folders full of “art” from my kids so if we have to come up with even more “crafts” to store I will lose my mind. I’m trying to live simply remember? So we will be crafty with a purpose. For example making cards or gifts to give away to others.
3. Being fun with others. I’m an extrovert mostly so I love being around friends and my kids love being around friends so I’m trying to be more intentional about making time to have fun with others by having play dates, impromptu parties and just inviting other friends over to use their gifts and talents, I have friends who are crafty, others who are just downright artistic, and so I want my kids to be around other people who have different gifts and talents to share.
4. Find fun in the everyday:
Letting them help with cooking (or other chores they might actually want to help with)
Telling stories/acting them out
Working on a project together
Learning something new
Making school time interesting
I can’t always get away from mundane, everyday to-dos, but I am working on finding more joy in the wonderful ordinary of our days.
So when my daughter asked if we could go to breakfast at Denny’s sometime this week (because those are the sort of fancy people we are) 🙂 I said yes.
And though I personally have no desire to eat runny eggs for breakfast, the smile on her face is absolutely worth it. I think I’m starting to like this “yes” thing.
Friends, are there lies that you have bought into? Maybe that you’re also not fun or exciting, creative, etc.? How can you use your strengths to combat the lies and reclaim your own inner “fun”?