When I starting having kids I didn't think about fun. I thought about names, baby essentials, nursery themes and diaper bags. It was exciting. I suppose I hoped for fun, but that's not really the advice anyone gave me. I was personally inundated with resources: mom groups, parenting classes and conferences. And I was eager. Though more than slightly exhausted, I felt as though my mothering success was riding on "all the things". Lots of pressure, a little fun.
I learned immediately being mom meant shifting priorities. More baby, less me. I had to shift my schedule of to-do's and desires to work around the other. Each time I added a bundle to the mix, the complexities multiplied. These were days of yoga pants and only occasional showers. Most of this season has come to an end (kind of). Now, I have time for things beyond diapering, feeding and picking up toys. But so many years of cleaning up, early mornings, long nights, losing myself under lots of pressure meant lots of work and a little fun.
This was the season of tireless travail, with little applause from the grandstands. Most nights I collapsed into my bed. Lots of responsibilities, a little fun. Most of what I did merely required me to keep them fed, warm and alive. It didn't feel like fun.
I've now entered into what I have referred to is as the sweet spot of motherhood. All my kids can wipe themselves, get dressed and keep themselves more or less clean. They go to school seven hours a day, and there is way more time for me to do things for me. They can participate in competitive sports, which keeps weekends busy, but entertaining. And they are funny around the dinner table in their own rights, as their unique senses of humor have blossomed. I've given myself permission to have more fun. Fun with my kids. Turns out, mothering can still be lots of pressure, but we don't have to forget the fun.
We spend so much time working to measure up to whatever expectations make a good mom. We are so concerned with getting it right all of the time afraid our fail or mistakes will send their sweet lives into a tail spin. Sometimes I lose track of the days, forgetting it's minimum day and I am late to pick-up from school. I get the dates wrong for class parties (there are four of them to track). I don't always check homework like I’m supposed to, and I skip dental appointments and well-checks on occasion. I run out of bread and pack lunches they think are disgusting everything once in a while. I occasionally yell when we are late and when everyone seems to be missing one shoe. I’m sure my kids will lay on the same therapist’s couch I’ve tried out a time or two. These are the challenges and pressures of any mother and every life. This gig is for the long haul, and I don't want to forget to have a little more fun.
They might forget their shoes but they won't forget the fun.
Fun keeps me present. It makes me slow down. The fear of the past, and the worries for the future, will rob us of these precious gifts God has given to us now. Being a mom is a challenge. But it can also be fun. Many days you will be last on the list of to-do's. You might even lose yourself in the process. But the life you will gain is rich with unconditional love, a new sense of confidence and a life rooted in what truly matters most. So look up and and enjoy each moment.