Ever have one of those days where you think “Why can’t I just have fun with my kids?!” A simple task turns into an epic power struggle between mother and child – sometimes I catch myself saying “all I wanted to do was have fun with you!”
I am the mother of two extremely strong willed girls – 12.5 months apart. My daughters’ endearing personality traits will help them be emotionally strong adults someday; but in the meantime “having fun” can be extremely overwhelming, and at times, disastrous.
Us moms scroll through our social media feeds and see pictures of our friends (and sometimes strangers) having perfect fun with their kids. We even say “Aw!” and wisely think to ourself, “I think we will try something different and fun!” like a normal family. After we convince ourselves (and sometimes our significant other) to go for it we ambitiously embark on our quest for fun.
For some moms these ventures go off without a hitch and a fun picture is subsequently posted.
For other moms, that brave idea of fun turns into a hurricane of children saying “no” or “I don’t want to!”. A mixture of toddler talk and preschool personalities seem to more often than not end in epic frustration. “F” is not for fun.
The other day I decided to take my daughters for a fun trip to pick out Valentines. “It’s a girls trip! The boys are staying here!” I chanted with a jig. My 3-year-old responded “I don’t want the boys to stay here. I want a boys and girls trip.” Her scowl foreshadowed our evening. By the end of our fun time together I was ready to pull my hair out – and I didn’t even get a fun picture!
I was almost in tears. Why can’t I just have fun with my kids?!
Our generation habitually posts successful parenting moments. When we see other moms’ shining moments, we subconsciously judge ourselves based upon our own lack of perfection. It’s a vicious cycle us moms put ourselves through.
My husband (an educator) put everything in perspective rather quickly – “F” the fun!”.
Life will be incredibly less stressful when we stop getting conned into having picture perfect moments. This means don’t worry so much about what we as parents want and consider more about what our kids need. Do we want the kids on a schedule – heck yeah I want quiet time – but sometimes kids need extra time to eat; sometimes kids need extra time to play; and sometimes kids really need extra mommy time. Usually what I want and what my kids need are at opposite ends of the spectrum. While I’m pushing my version of fun, my kids don’t understand and need their version of “fun”.
So instead of thinking “Why can’t I have fun with my kids?!”, let’s shift our perspective during moments of frustration and ask our self “What do my kids need at this moment?”. I’m pretty sure if we go with the flow a little more (I’m not talking about crazy chaos!) and follow queues from our kids life will just happen and fun will follow. Then we can teach our children “F” is in fact for fun.