When I Allow Myself to Be a 'Fun Parent'
I don’t know if it’s just me or not, but quite often in life I forget to have fun. The kind of fun that makes me feel young. That makes me laugh so hard my belly aches. The kind of fun that takes my kids and husband by surprise.
I get so caught up in the day-to-day monotony of life, that I forget about fun. With a family of five, there are lunches to make, benches to wipe, floors to clean, dinner to cook, shopping to be done, washing to fold, bathrooms to clean, kids to drop off, readers to get through, diaries to sign, weeds to be pulled, lawns to be mown, windows to clean, nappies to change, cupboards to sort, dusting to be done (who am I kidding, dusting never even makes it onto my list, let alone actually get done). The list is endless.
And as a mum of a son with extra health needs, there are appointments to attend, letters to chase, forms to fill in, medication to give, a hospital to contact and therapy to be done.
And this all happens around my work. It can be quite overwhelming.
As a task oriented person, I find it so hard to put my never ending, continually growing to-do list aside. Interestingly, my husband noticed recently that when I get busy or stressed, I tend to focus on everything I’m not doing, so I find it even harder to stop ploughing through my list because I focus on everything I haven’t done. These are the weeks I should probably be doing the opposite and going easier on myself, but for some reason my brain manages to make me even more stressed. Maybe a psychologist could give me a great reason of why I do that.
But, every now and then, I decide it’s time to just have some fun and surprise my family. To hopefully give them memories that make them smile while they’re falling asleep. To make myself chill out a bit and not take life so seriously. To feel like I’m a cooler mum than I probably am. To embrace one of the great things our son’s heart condition has taught us: you never know what the future holds, so make the most of your life while you’ve got it.
Like the time I initiated a shaving cream fight in the middle of our dining room! Our daughter had planned a shaving cream fight outside for Family Night, but the weather ended up being terrible. She was so disappointed. So I thought, what the heck, let’s just do it inside. Shaving cream is such an easy thing to clean up, and we had an absolute blast. (Well, not our sensitive son who couldn’t handle the mess and chaos, but the rest of us loved it.)
Or the time I threw my bathers on and joined our three kids playing in the sprinkler outside. You know what happened? It motivated my husband to get into his bathers too and we had such a fun time playing some made-up shark game in the water.
Or the day I bought a scooter to join in with all the fun our kids were having on theirs.
Or when I snuck down the street one Saturday morning and brought McDonalds breakfast home for everyone. Am I an advocate of McDonalds? Definitely, it’s a life saver for parents and an excellent coping strategy… don’t let anyone tell you otherwise
At the end of the day, I think we all know that having fun as a family is a better investment than cleaning the house. I just need to remember it a lot more often instead of working through a to-do list which, let’s face it, is never going to be finished.