Truth be told, I envy my children’s father. I do. I can admit it and I give you permission to admit it too. I know there are other parents out there who have a spouse or partner who is identified as the “fun” one. That my friends, is not usually me. Case in point, look at exhibit A.
This is my view from our upstairs bedroom on a beautifully inviting day. The kids were playing in the sprinkler and waging war in the world of water fights with their father while I was where? Upstairs creating lessons plans, finishing laundry, preparing meals for an entire week and cleaning. Not atypical. Not atypical for many of us, I would assume.
I don’t turn into fun until the kids are down for bed, with a bowl of popcorn and a cocktail by my bedside and I fall asleep before I have even taken a sip. That’s about as “fun” as this mama gets with three kids under the age of 5.
I envy the front-line because like most of us parents in the back-line, no one sees what we’re doing to make it all fun. Among our many titles, party-planner, organizer, financial planner, coordinator, educator, disciplinarian and housemaid (just to keep this rather short), we’re not usually the spontaneous risk-takers or joy-seekers. We are the responsible, gotta-get-it-all-done-or-else-no-one-is-going-to fun-goers. So there are many moments I watch my children and their father while I somehow inherited the “responsible” (a.k.a.) “boring” title while he basks in their infectious laughter and bottomless smiles.
Until California. He had to go on a work-related trip for 5 days. So I got to thinking. Instead of wallowing in additional envy for what would be 5 days of sight-seeing, restful nights, uninterrupted bathroom breaks and even a solo flight filled with his very own musical entertainment, why not make it our own? Just the four of us.
Throw in the towel (or in my case, loads of towels) and declare a fun-filled weekend. This usually responsible, organized and Type A mama was trading in her aprons to prove that their mama can be fun too darnit! So that’s what I did.
Every day I planned a new adventure and instead of starting and ending each day with the household tasks that attempted to summons me, I started with the kids first. Every one of those faces greeted me and I replied to them with innocent excitement for our time together.
We visited family back home where I got to experience Isaiah’s very first go-carting experience.
Not sure who had more fun actually!?
I got to break all of the dairy intolerant rules by allowing Benny his very own whipped cream cone in place of ice cream.
I got to play mini-golf, swim and fill up plastic cups of forbidden tokens with games I usually insist are off-limits.
We got really dangerous folks. We went off the beaten path and indulged in fast-food, non-organic meat and even had a “make your own sundae” night where no artificially flavored candy was off limits.
We knocked off a park on our summer bucket list where we made friends with extinct animals.
Walked alongside lions and tigers and bears (oh my)
And even learned that giraffe’s are good french kissers.
We released our inhibitions in the form of birds beneath our feet and taking flight off of our heads.
This smile still fills me up.
We watched movies and had our very own sleep-over night in the living room,
We even broke the rules with the months of sleep training mom worked hard to enforce.
That may have been a bit too dangerous (for me).
I found myself smiling unlike what I can honestly say I have. It’s hard to smile when your brain is operating on minimal sleep and auto-pilot at all times for the necessary but daunting responsibility to keep it all together.
I found myself experiencing the joy of these three blessings of mine as we laughed together, held hands and captured memories with just the four of us.
I bonded with my eldest son whose arm would find mine just to look up at me and say, “Thanks for bringing us mom,” to where I’d silently wipe thankful tears from my face.
By the end of the five days I was beat, my house was in disarray and I had entered what I believe to be a sincere medical diagnosis of complete and utter sleep deprivation, but you know what?
I can’t wait to do it again. That’s what I’ve realized this past week. I’m fun too. Our children offer daily invitations to reunite with those parts of ourselves we often forget still exist. I may need to insist that the “fun” mama come out to play more often. It’s important that my kids see mom can be and do both. That’s the extraordinary divinity that is us women and mothers. We do it all but sometimes, we forget to give ourselves permission to have fun while we’re doing it. We forget our kids want to see both and we deserve to have both.
This week I got to show my kids that mom can have fun too. We just need to work on the sleep part.
In Love & Truth,