Do you ever feel a dull sense of guilt that you’re not as fun of a mom as you should be?
Do you find yourself wishing, every once in awhile as you scrub hard cereal off the side of a bowl, that you could just loosen up a bit more, laugh a bit more freely, and be more silly with your kids?
Maybe your partner has taken on the role as the one who plays all the backyard games, wrestles on the floor, and takes them through the fast food line every once in awhile.
Because that’s definitely how it is in our house.
How did this happen? This motherhood journey started out with ME as the hero! I was the life-giver. The one who carried them for nine months in my very own belly. The one who birthed them in the hospital with all my might. I want to give everyone a little shake on the shoulders and say “Remember how awesome you all thought I was that day?” For a year, I was the only one who could feed them the liquid gold that flowed out from me like a golden goddess. I even cured a case of pink eye once with a drop of my breast milk. (Look it up, it’s real.) I was the one whose voice could calm them within seconds. I was their world!
As much as my partner tried, and many times successfully, to bond and forge special memories, let’s be honest here, folks. There was no competition.
But over the years, as they grew into new developmental stages, they needed less and less of the evolutionary mothering I had been doing. Less skin to skin snuggles. Less soothing. Definitely less breast milk.
And now it was my partner’s time to shine. He’s a former camp counselor, and a darn good one. He makes up games I don’t understand and hikes through the woods even when it’s cold and windy out. He comes up with funny chants, and takes them on Pokemon hunts. I’ll admit it. Even things that I also do are just more fun with him. Car washes are more fun with him. Buying donuts is more fun with him. He’s just well, more fun. We all know it.
Honestly, who needs me anymore?
I know, I know. Of course, they need me in different ways. I’m still providing my maternal love and care for them. I’m making all the meals to nourish them. I’m helping keep their space safe and clean. I’m washing every piece of clothing they ever wear. I’m purging all the stuff that piles up. When life was normal, I kept track of their activities and school paperwork. And now I’m homeschooling them, for crying out loud.
But somewhere along the way, I realized that fun was not on my resume anymore, and I didn’t like it. It didn’t seem fair to get grunt work without the spoils.
I mean, I’ll willing to concede the fact that I’ll never be the MOST fun mom. Honestly, I won’t even be a REALLY fun mom. But I definitely want to at least aspire to be a “kinda” fun mom, you know? When my kids talk about me to their friends, I want them to describe me without hesitation and with full confidence as a Kinda Fun Mom.
But, here’s the kicker. I realized early on that I can’t try to be the same kind of fun as my partner. That’s just not me. I’m not him. And the absolute worst thing I can do is fake it.
Because fake. Isn’t. Fun.
Here’s the deal. I refuse to play pretend for more than 30 seconds. I’m not going to play Flag Football or Capture The Flag. I’m not going to watch Nickelodeon. And I’m definitely not going on a Pokemon hunt.
So over the years I’ve reflected on what is truly fun to me, so that I can share that with them in a really genuine way. In true not-fun form, I’ve thought long and hard about the interests that my kids and I have in common.
Playing H.O.R.S.E. with my son. (I’m unexpectedly and shockingly good at it.) Roller skating with my daughter. Classic novels at bedtime. Banana bread baking. Belly tickling. Gardening. Biking through the neighborhood. Hair braiding. Nail painting. Dog Walking. Sidewalk Chalking. Watercoloring. Piano Playing. Kitchen dancing.
With these activities, I don’t have to fake it. I’m kinda fun without trying. And I can show my kids what it looks like to truly enjoy and love life.
So, no, I’ll never be the REALLY fun mom. But you know what? I am the MOST kinda fun mom you’ll ever meet. And I think my kids will turn out a-okay with a mom like that.