Mary Poppins Is My Kind of Fun Mom - by Katell Schmitz for MotherHustle
“Worrying about being the ‘fun mom’ most definitely didn’t make me a ‘fun mom.’ You know what did? Redirected my perspective.”

Doesn’t it seem like some personality traits have been arbitrarily placed on the ‘everybody must have’ list — completely ignoring the fact that we are a collection of beings with various colors and shapes and we all have different personalities?

I don’t automatically have an issue with that idea — I know some things are generally good to pursue (honesty, loyalty, kindness…). However, where I tense a little is when those said personality traits are wrongly defined to begin with, or rather defined only from one perspective and then pushed on everybody.

The concept of ‘being fun’ has always bothered me for that very reason.

Of course, I have nothing against fun itself. What I don’t love as much is that assumption, the pressure imposed by society, to be a ‘fun person.’ And the definition of fun, in that context, synonymous with wild, reckless, willingly jumping out of a plane, TPing houses, roller-coasting, loving of bone breaking activities … and so on.

Unless you’re risking your life or embarrassing yourself or others, while screaming YOLO while doing it, you have no business being in the fun gang.

Well, I say sayonara to that! Not interested!

I have always been quite adventurous (growing up in Africa, it’s sort of in the water — like that Adele song says ,”but it’s in my roots, it’s in my veins, It’s in my blood”). But I quickly realized as a young girl that, although I loved adventure, I am not too fond of ‘fun’ in the definition above, and that I wasn’t considered a ‘fun person’ consequently.

It was a big identity sore point for me as a teenager — trying to find what type of person I was or really what type of person I needed to be, in order to be liked by other teenagers. (You can roll your eyes. I am too, now that I am on the other side.)

Becoming a mother brings a whole new set of pressures and assumptions and identity sore points…as you all well know. Being the ‘fun mom’ is most definitely on the list of those must haves. Now I don’t know about you, but I need to meet that ‘fun mom’ — because, once again, the definitions here are a bit blurry to me.

What is a ‘fun mom’? What does she eat for breakfast? What kinds of thoughts does she have at night when her head hits the pillow?

Am I supposed to go hike in Thailand with my little ones to be a fun mom? (Which I actually would like to do). Would that make me worthy of the ‘fun mom’ badge? I don’t know, friends. I have been a mom for almost six years now, and I still don’t have the answers for these questions. Even more alarming, I have been alive for 31 years and I don’t know about that ‘fun person’.

It all fosters guilt and the imposter syndrome. And we beat ourselves up for not doing it ‘well’.

As with everything life drags us through that isn’t comfortable, I had to come to a place of peace and contentment — especially as a mama with little eyes constantly set on me. Worrying about being the ‘fun mom’ most definitely didn’t make me a ‘fun mom.’ You know what did? Redirected my perspective.

Last week we watched Mary Poppins (again) and one of her famous lines hit me right in the blood pumper this time. The darling lady said:  

In every job that must be done, there is an element of fun.”

Well Mary, isn’t that the truth, I thought to myself — and knew I had to share with you fellow mamas. I have been living that way already, but just couldn’t pinpoint what it was that I was doing.

I thought I was failing at being fun for my kids — I knew I didn’t want to chase perfect (whatever that means anyway), and I didn’t want to try and earn the ‘fun’ label while actually just stressing out my kids, so instead of attempting to force the fun, fun, fun in life, I have been forcing life into fun.

On one hand I want to be the cool/fun/adventurous mom but on the other I want order … I mean, life comes with its own set of not-so-fun tasks. Finding the balance, teaching the balance with peace and joy to my kids, is MY definition of being the fun mom.

It would shatter me to have my kids only see me as the rule enforcer.

I want to create a lasting friendship with them. And Mary Poppins, that lady knows how to do not-so-fun stuff in the most fun way — but still firm and loving. I want to be like her when I grow up (that magical voice and the jumping into chalk drawing included).

At the end of the day I am not striving to fit into the ‘fun person’ or the ‘fun mom’ mold and pre-conception, but I have found the right definition and heart attitude to be fully me, fully a teaching mom and fully a mom who is also a friend to her kids.

I believe fun should be defined as having the best time with yourself or the people you love — in ANY way that suits the people involved (limb threatening or not, that’s up to you).

Turning the everyday moments into forever memories, with joy and peace, that’s fun for you and that’s not easy! Be encouraged, actually feel fantastic about yourself and walk into this freedom today — the freedom that you don’t have to live the wild life to be considered fun and most definitely not to be ‘fun mom’.

As I’m writing this article, I am also planning the ultimate summer road trip for our family. Boston – Disney World – Nashville – D.C. museum tour – Boston. A whole two weeks of making memories, eating sandwiches in the car, telling jokes, watching fireworks, taking silly photos, learning about the Amelia Earhart, pushing sleeping kids in strollers, riding tea cups, etc …

I think that gets me tons of fun mom points in my kids’ hearts … but helping them clean up their rooms with songs and games also does. I am fully happy and satisfied with that! I am fun! I am just as fun as Mary Poppins! That’s something to sing about…

MotherHustle Panelist Katell Schmitz is the creative director + brand designer at Reverie Lane Designs and The Creative Session, where she works with passionate dreamers on a mission to create beautiful, memorable and impactful brands. She’s a French expat who’s living her American dream but also gets homesick from time to time. She’s a happy wife and mama of two and presently lives with her multicultural family in Boston. Find her on Facebook and Instagram.


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