I have been known to say things like: “I’m not a very fun mom.”
But that’s not strictly true. I love having fun with my children. We do fun things. But I tend to think of fun moms as the kind who fix their kids pancakes with chocolate chip smiles every morning, mix up homemade play-doh on the regular, and spend hours playing Legos on the rug.
When I actually think about the logistics of that kind of behavior, though, it strikes me that, while some moms have more of a gift for play than others, it’s just not super feasible to be a fun mom ALL the time, even if it comes naturally to you.
Sure, there are times I would RATHER play Uno with my kids than do laundry (um, always), but I (and the rest of the world) would also RATHER we wear clothes, so…
Plus, the Bible has a lot more to say about training and discipline than it does about “fun,” so there’s that.
Do I have a point?
Yup! I sure do.
My goal, as a mama, is to provide my kids with a childhood full of God’s truth, first and foremost, but, right behind it, an unswerving belief that they are loved (which, come to think of it, is kind of the ultimate God’s truth).
A lot of times, that means instruction and discipline (because I can’t think of anything more unloving than letting my child flail around, lost as a goose, or neglecting to turn him away from a destructive path).
And sometimes, that means taking an unexpected day off from school and packing a picnic to the park instead (one of the beauties of homeschooling).
There are many fun mom categories in which I fall short, including: crafting (it happens, but it’s rare), library trips (ditto), trips to the pool in the summer (thank the Lord that my mom has a pool, and my three oldest spend the night with her once a week), and any kind of play involving little characters that I dance around and provide high-pitched voices for.
One way to earn automatic fun mom status? Let them do school on your bed (my mom loves having her picture taken. Hi, Mom!)
Conversely, my “fun mom” strengths are:
1. Baking. I actually love whipping up something yummy with my kids in the kitchen. I don’t get uptight about their making messes (for most part), and I love to see their little faces light up when they take the first bite of whatever yummy treat “they made.”
2. Dance parties. I have been known to boogie down with my kids at least once a day. Okay, so there are stretches when that doesn’t happen for a week. But we almost always have some sort of music on during chores, and we take timeouts for a shimmy or two in between vacuuming and scrubbing toilets.
3. Reading. I’m pretty good about reading to my kids, which, to my delight, they consider fun. If I’m honest, I’m better about reading chapter books to the older kids, but I have read my fair share of Frog and Toad and Winnie the Pooh as well.
More specifically, these are two habits that elevate me to “Super Fun Mom” status in my kids’ eyes:
1. We have a constant rotation of who gets to “drive” down the driveway to our house, sitting on my lap (from Theo to Ezra, who is pushing 100 pounds). We’ve done it since the old house, and, while we don’t do it every single day, most days, whoever’s next in line clambers up to the front and gleefully “steers” us home. Good thing we have long driveways, eh?
2. Icees on Mondays. We established a tradition last year that, after we got out of home school co-op and before we hit the gym, we’d stop for Icees. What this means practically is that I buy a 32 oz. Icee and split it between all 6 older kids (Honor gets shafted), so they really only get it a taste, but they LOVE it and look forward to it every week.
And you know what? I’m guessing that these will be the little things that my kids remember about me. Not lavish birthday parties or flashy vacations but the simple, everyday pleasures we enjoyed most because we we did them together. Like when I let them listen to “In the Hall of the Mountain King” 7 times in a row (they would listen 100 times if allowed) while I prep dinner, and they race around the island shrieking with laughter, and then we all fall down in a heap of giggles at the end.
See what a fun mom I am? I keep a smile on my face even when my children are falling to pieces! Ha. Ahem. By the way, you really owe to yourself to see the rest of these photos (and read the story behind them) on my IG if you haven’t already.
I know these will be the things that I carry in my heart for always.
So, whether you’re a natural “fun mom,” have to fight tooth and nail for it, or fall somewhere in the middle (but with a definite bent toward the training side) like me, I just want to encourage you to create little traditions for your children to remember you by.
And never measure yourself by the standards of whatever other moms are doing–even if it’s creating magical, glitter-dusted fairy wings out of nothing but Elmer’s and a scrap of tulle just because.
With that in mind, though, I’m always looking for ways to improve that fit within my wheelhouse of strengths (because the traditions that form organically stem from a shared love–both yours and your kids’–of the activity, and that’s going to vary wildly from family to family).
So, hit me with your best fun mom ideas! Who knows? I may just find a new tradition to steal!
I recently got called out on playground by kids as fun mom & parents as “geee thanks. Now I have to slide & swing & climb & run races!” They were lovingly picking (I hope!) but I genuinely enjoy playing with my kids. We also eat ice cream (actually frozen yogurt or smoothies, but they don’t know that!) for breakfast sometimes, ride the ranger/tractor often, and play in sprinkler to cool down on hot days. And if I’m being honest, I sub it as a bath if I can! You’re a fun mom, Abbie. Your view of it & your kids’ view may be different. But I would guess they think you’re super fun! My kids also love it when I do cannon balls, flips, belly flops & crazy moves jumping into swimming pool. It’s the little things! It won’t be long before your older two boys will be driving in front seat without you.
I also see myself as not a “fun mom”. Hubby definitely generates more fun than me. Love your ideas! I do the same driving thing with my kids. We live 1/2 mile from my in-laws down a dirt road so I let them sit in my lap and drive.
We also do movie nights with pillows & blankets and popcorn. I bought some plastic popcorn cartons from the Dollar store and the kids think its so great to eat their popcorn out of them. I also watch the movie instead of doing other stuff around the house.
Occasionally, we have an impromptu picnic for lunch. I’ll make a stack of PB & J sandwiches and cut up a bunch of fruit on a tray. We put out a blanket on the porch or the living room if its cold and picnic away. The kids think its so fun and it really is easy 🙂
Reading aloud was something we all loved. The entire Freddy the Pig series, etc. I miss it 🙁
We used to make up silly lyrics to songs like Polly Wolly Doodle. They loved that.
Sometimes while I was making dinner I would make them go in the living room and then I would hide a little green rubber frog (actually a pencil eraser) somewhere in my kitchen. Then I would call them back in and they would have to find it. He would be peeking out from somewhere. Took me just a little time and them lots of time 😉 and they loved it so much.
Your idea for hiding the little frog is genius! Dinner time is so crazy! I’m definitely trying this one 🙂
This brings back memories of racing down the driveway to meet my dad on his way home from work in the evening to ‘drive’ down our driveway! Good memories! It’s really those little things that I remember that make up the happy memories of my childhood!
Yeah, i remember catching fly balls with my dad. That was our “thing.”
Reading this post was such a nice way to start my morning! I think my favorite idea is how you let the kids take the wheel on your driveway. They must looooooove that! I’m like you, Abbie, and lean more towards the training side of mothering, but I do try to be fun on occasion. Yesterday, for example, one of my sons was disappointed that his brothers were served whipped cream with their strawberries, while he wasn’t because he had chosen grapes. I told him, “Open up!” and squirted some whipped cream directl
y into his mouth! He and I both laughed because it’s just so out of character for me. It’s also a big treat for the boys when I do read-alouds in Mommy and Daddy’s bed, because our bedroom is normally off-limits. If we finish a read-aloud and if there is an appropriate movie version, we’ll do a movie night with homemade popcorn.
My kids loooove it when I squirt whipped cream in their mouths!
Thank you. Thank you! Between this and an encouraging note from my sweet mother in law, I have been given a much needed boost! Your last post was so me, too. My two year old is in the same stage as Theo. Ready for him to move into a less whiny stage any day. Love reading your nuggets of wisdom and encouragement!
Ha! Yes, those 2-year-old whines last way longer than we want them to, for sure.Thank the Lord he uses it for our sanctification! Glad you were encouraged!