What are your stand out memories of your Mum? Was she fun or was that your friend’s mum?
Was fun the domain of your Dad, or your Grandparent? Maybe the fun was for kids only and the grown ups just didn’t do it? My Mum used to sing funny songs, with made up, ad-hoc lyrics that always rhymed. We loved them because they were always about us. We loved them because, inevitably, one of the words to rhyme with ‘you’ was always going to be ‘poo’. That was terrifically hilarious when sung by a very proper lady. It’s not like my Mum was constantly fun, but the times she was are shining memories in my childhood. They are the glitter dusted on her personality.
I love those memories. In my own parenting journey, I often think I would like to sprinkle more glitter. I’d like to be a fun mum. That kind of mum. The one on the kids ride, jammed in right beside her happy child, whooping it up. The one in the supermarket doing the chicken dance for her toddler or at the traffic lights singing songs at the top of her lungs. If she is embarrassed she doesn’t show it, she is lost in the moment of connection with her kids. She’s not just being fun, she is having fun. She obviously hasn’t got the same species of children as me. Or someone gave her a magic injection of joy… or took away all her bills, or provided regular massages and a team of happy cleaners to wrangle the housework. Yep. That’s how she pulls it off. She clearly doesn’t have to be carrier of the Responsibility of Motherhood and the Future Happiness of All Her Children, Forever.
Or maybe, that is exactly what she is doing! Thumbing her nose at the boring bits while she is at it. It occurs to me, that being a fun mum is about letting yourself let go of the anxiety sometimes and being a kid yourself. I often think, wistfully, I used to be fun, it’s just that all the tasks of mothering seem to get in the way.
For me, it seems so remote, that state of being; fun-ness. I’m so busy wondering about whether we’ve got sunscreen (and where exactly ARE the beach toys?) that I don’t easily get into the spirit of adventure. The trick, they say, is in a little shift of that slippery little sucker, attitude. There are ways to get around all that organisational anxiety (more on that in later posts). But the attitude of fun is about doing a big exhale and seeing the world through your children’s eyes; not for the whole day, just for a while.
Take in some oxygen and be silly. You are so good at keeping on top of the safety stuff, the nutrition, the shaping of character, that you CAN rest on your laurels for a bit. Open a can of funny and have a laugh. I really love it when the silly stuff happens unexpectedly. Like yesterday, I turned off the car radio to have a stern chat with my kids about not fighting in the back seat. It must have been rather effective, because there was silence from the back. Feeling satisfied that I had got my point across, I turned the radio back on with a self satisfied flourish, just as the song belted out “I’M SEXY AND I KNOW IT!” “ooh!” I exclaimed, a bit horrified. They laughed, then I laughed and the tension melted from the car. It was a only a brief moment of fun but the re-connection with them was instant. Fun, it seems, is the fast-track into positive togetherness. So why not engineer the unexpectedness for them?
Why not fun-bomb the kids?
Here are a few ideas for infusing a bit of silly into your everyday parenting:
What ways do YOU find to be a fun parent? Please share them with us …
This post puts me in mind of one of Sark’s beautiful graphic posters about ‘How to Really Love a Child’. There is something here for all of us.
This blog post written by the glorious guest blogger, Rachel Cox, specifically for Rainbows and Clover. Rachel IS a Fun Mum, and she's also an Educator, Wife, Daughter, and all-round Amazing Person.