It’s such a simple directive; one we give and hear almost every day. Our kids go off to camp: “Have fun!” … We get together with friends: “Have fun!” We head out on vacation and are told: “Have fun!”
“Have” is a verb. It means “to experience, undergo.” And I’ve been thinking about that subtle definition a lot lately.
Because too often, I’m not the one having fun. I’m watching fun. I’m orchestrating fun. I’m enjoying the outcomes of fun. But I’m not actually experiencing fun.
I think it’s because, as a mom (and maybe as a boss, too) I always feel responsible, on the watch, required to think 10 steps ahead. Taking part in the fun feels somehow … irresponsible. Instead, it’s my job to set up the fun situation for my kids to enjoy, and watch them have the fun as I plot out what comes next.
After the kids get out of the pool, I have to get them showered and ready because dinner reservations are in one hour and oh my god how the hell am I going to get their clothes together and get them ready in time and did I remember to pack their nice shoes and did I bring a hair brush and …
The sad truth is that maybe I’ve forgotten how to have fun. Maybe I’ve misplaced it as a priority for so long that, like an unused muscle, it leans toward relaxation rather than exertion.
And a lot of that (all of that?) is my fault. No one is stopping me from having fun. No one is telling me to be the vigilant fun-watcher. No one is forcing me to be the dedicated fun-photographer.
I’m done with being a fun bystander. I don’t want my kids to remember me watching them have fun — I want them to remember me having fun WITH them.
That’s why I making a fun-commitment. I’m jumping in the pool. I’m riding the waves. I’m getting my suit filled with sand and my hands covered in paint. I’m eating the ice cream – on a cone. I’m taking part. I’m joining in. I’M ENJOYING MYSELF.
I know that when I just relax and get involved with family fun activities, I’m always happy afterward. It feels fulfilling, rewarding, accomplished. It feels more real and substantial — like a full memory rather than just a snapshot.
This year I went on my first rollercoaster, EVER, and I was
scared to death so happy I did. My kids were shocked I went through with it (and so was my husband) and it made them so excited. And this weekend, we went to the amusement park. I went on my first swinging pirate ship ride. And for real, I actually liked it.
Those may sound like small victories, but to me they were huge. I’m usually the one holding the camera as the kids whiz by on the ride … the one watching the bags or the stroller … the one checking the schedule for what’s next.
So mamas — who’s with me? Who is ready to commit to a month of real FUN?
This month, we’re exploring fun in all forms here on MotherHustle. And I want to know: what do you consider fun? Do you want more fun in your life? Join the conversation here or on Facebook and Instagram, and let’s have some #MotherHustlin’ fun together.
She adores being mom to her two little ladies and drinking obscene amounts of coffee from mugs with pithy sayings. Find her on Instagram, and learn more about ways you can collaborate with MotherHustle.
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