Here’s my big secret to being a fun mom: it’s not what you do that makes you a fun mom, it's how you do it.
Now that the secret is out, allow me to elaborate.
A mom isn’t just a mom. She is a hug giver, a bum wiper, a chauffeur, a chef, an event planner, a nurse, a teacher, a maid, a hairdresser, a lover, a tear wiper, a stylist, an accountant, a launderer, a gardener, a personal trainer. A mom has so many jobs. Of all the jobs a mom does, there is one job that moms don’t usually get credit for and that is being “the fun parent”.
Typically speaking, at my house my hubby is the fun parent. The kids crave time with daddy because he is so fun. His playful, unassuming tender heart, and wildly goofy side is definitely one of the most attractive things about him. He is unassumingly tender-hearted. Even though he gets credit for being the fun parent most of the time, on occasion it would be nice to be the fun one, once. When children see their mom (and dad) having fun, laughing, playing, and thriving as happy people, happiness will naturally thrive in them too.
It’s not easy for a mom to take a break from her responsibilities and odd jobs just to play and have fun. It’s not productive. It’s messy. It’s impractical. For a mom, playtime, especially play that is spontaneous in origin, can feel or appear nonsensical, or chaotic, and it most certainly is not productive. However, for a child, playing frees them from the cares and stress of everyday life because it allows them to feel in control of their world even if it is for just a brief period of time. Through play anything is possible which is exactly why playing is so important for children AND their moms.
So how does being a fun mom fit into the daily grind? How can a mom manage to be a fun mom and still do all the jobs she does before the sun sets? Here’s my big secret to being a fun mom: it’s not what you do that makes you a fun mom, it's how you do it.
Being a fun mom has less to do with the stuff you have, events you host, or food you serve and more to do with your openness, attention, and imagination. I’m sure you can think of someone in your life whom you viewed as the fun mom. What made them a fun mom? I put together a short list of fun mom facts for you based on some of the fun moms I’ve met in my life.
Fun Mom Facts
Fun moms are open to saying yes instead of always saying no. (Yes, you can invite your friends to play. Yes, you can build a house out of cardboard. Yes, you can play with dish soap in the bathtub.)
Fun moms are welcoming to everyone and anyone who has an idea to share or thoughts to contribute.
Fun moms pay attention to all the little details.
Fun moms notice and respond to body language and facial expressions cues.
Fun moms give other people their attention no matter how tall or how small in stature.
Fun moms have an unwavering respect for a child’s interests, energy and curiosity. (If they want to spend 20 minutes on one page off their book talking to you about the picture and the story then you patiently listen and converse with them instead of rushing them through their thoughts)
Fun moms have insanely big imaginations. They can create anything from nothing.
Fun moms have a great sense of adventure. No suggestion is too silly or too difficult to embrace.
Fun moms are "happy moms"
You’ll notice I didn’t mention that fun moms were rich or fancy. To a child being fun is so much more than material goods. Like I said, being a fun mom is all about how you do what you do. For example:
What do you do when your child asks you if they can paint?
a) get the paint out and walk away
b) paint their picture for them
c) sit down and paint next to them
Even just the slightest change in the way you normally do things can break up the monotony of a mundane task and make it fun. Even something as simple as using a silly accent when you talk can make a conversation more fun. Putting a little pizzazz on the humdrum of mothering gives us a little boost of purpose making it a win-win because us moms can get into some real ruts with our routines. By incorporating more fun into the day, you’ll spend less time wondering how many more peanut butter and jelly sandwiches you have to make in your lifetime and more time thinking about how many cool shapes you can cut the sandwich into before they start to think packing a lunch is not cool anymore.
I’m going to share with you some fun mom activities that make the ordinary mundane jobs of motherhood feel extraordinary and fun all over again.
How to make eating lunch fun
Most moms out there have made a few kids lunches in their day. Making lunch for your kids is a fairly boring and uneventful task. I’m certainly guilty of the occasional lunch funk of serving the same two things everyday for weeks on end. Midday is a great time to engage children and it's super easy and cheap to tie in some fun. Here are some easy ways to be a fun mom at lunchtime.
Arrange food on the plate in the shape of a face
Let kids play with their food before they eat it. Create patterns around the rim of their plate with food (grape, pretzel, grape pretzel and so on) and have the kiddos identify the pattern they see and then have them make their own.
Slice and dice things into different shapes and sizes. Get out the cookie cutters and go to town. Consider serving fruits and veggies without the peel. Simply presenting foods in different shapes and sizes is interesting and exciting for children. The smaller shapes or the lack of peel may even get them to eat a few more bites than usual.
Pack up lunch and have a picnic somewhere. If you are a one car family and can’t leave your property, that's okay. You can enjoy your picnic from the comforts of your own yard. The key to having a picnic is simply eating your lunch somewhere different then you normally eat it. You could even spread a blanket out on the floor in your living room and have a picnic indoors.
Serve everything for lunch on a stick, kabob style.
Fill up an ice cube tray with tiny portions of a variety of foods instead of a plate. They will be delighted to see miniature portions and a wide variety of food to choose. All the wiggle worm toddlers out there will appreciate your extra effort.
How to make taking a bath fun
Bathing is a regular occurrence, obviously, and over time it becomes a mundane thing. For a child though it can be the best part of their day if it is fun. It’s easy to spice things up at bath time.
Turn your bathroom into a disco tech by turning the lights off and using glow sticks, a few flashlights, or even your kiddos nightlight and boom you’ve got yourself a glow in the dark bath.
Take a color coded bath. Dye the water using a few single drops of food coloring, bath bomb, or color bath drop from crayons. Have the kids go on a color coded toy hunt for toys of the same color as the bath and let them play with the toys they found in the bath.
Play Legos in the bathtub
Listen to their favorite songs or playlist while they take a bath
Put the kids in their bathing suits, add seashells and swim goggles and let the kids pretend like they are taking a bath at the beach.
How to make cleaning up toys fun
Cleaning up the kids' toys is a big ‘ol fat chore. We do it literally everyday and sometimes even twice a day. Since the toys are the property of the children we require that the kids contribute to the daily toy clean up chore. I want the kids to value the things they have and take responsibility for keeping it nice. Cleaning up the tryouts is the last thing we do everyday and I make it fun because, well, why not?!
Ask the kids to each pick up one toy and let them race to see who can put it away the fastest.
Establish a special clean up song the kids like and play it on repeat during clean up time.
Assign each child to a different color of toy to pick up. (This works well with things like Legos, pom poms, and magnetic toys)
Play a variation of “I Spy”. Call out various shapes or colors of the toys around the room and have each child find the object you are describing and yup, you guessed it, whoever finds it gets to put it away.
Put all the toys in one big massive pile in the middle of the room. Sort them. Give each child a bag, box or tray and have a hand person use their specially assigned toy transporter to put away their toys.
Ask the kids to count the number of toys they pick up and put away and whoever puts away the highest number of toys earns a privilege such as selecting the next family movie on movie night.
Break your own rules once in a blue moon
Someone has to be the rule enforcer and moms are no exception. Kids need structure and a healthy set of expectations. Isn’t it fun sometimes to go against the norm? It’s thrilling to break up the monotony. Every now and then you can surprise your kids by breaking your own rules.
Change up the bedtime routine by letting the kids set their own bedtime.
Instead of your typical healthy balanced dinner serve fresh baked cookies and milk.
Drive on the highway with the windows down and let the kids scream at the top of their lungs just for the heck of it.
Blow up a giant beach ball or a couple balloons and make up a game to play indoors.
Let the kids be the chef for a day. I think you’d be surprised what a kid can do in a kitchen when left to their own devices. (Obviously you’ll want to supervise to make sure they are safe but try not to micromanage. I know my own kids can get pretty far with a butter knife, peanut butter, a jar of jelly and a loaf of bread (If you try this, please, please, please send me pictures). Also, fair warning, this one has a tendency to get pretty messy.
Even though it isn’t easy to take a break from the mom hustle, it’s important to have fun doing what you do day in and day out. This funny mom quote by Tina Fey really sums it up, “Being a mom has made me so tired, and so happy.” Our children model our behavior and if we are aiming for healthy happy children then we need to model healthy, happy behaviors. Let's teach them through our own actions that ordinary things can be extraordinary when there’s a fun mom around.
About the Author
Kelly Hater, owner of Mama Bear Domain, has over 15 years of coaching experience along with a B.S. in Health Promotion specialized in Exercise Science.
She specializes in helping clients overcome mom burnout, providing a clear, decisive plan that leads her clients on a path of success. Her clients no longer let mom guilt steal their identity and goals. Moms deserve to be happy and live a fulfilling life. She personally has overcome overwhelming struggles herself. Get the accountability needed to take action. As a mom of two she gets it. Join NOW "The Mom Coach - On Demand" for the proven program to "stop existing, start living."
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