Before you had kids, what did you do for fun? You know, FUN. Remember that word? Did you go out for cocktails? Flash your bra? Dance on tables? Can you even remember? Or perhaps you’ve fallen asleep just trying to cast your mind back that far. Well, isn’t it about time we remembered? And you don’t even have to find a babysitter…
Routine. It can be a real killjoy.
A while back I wrote about The Monotony of Motherhood. About the limitations of routine with young children and how there never seems to be enough time for fun. Lots of you shared your thoughts and agreed that whilst routine is important, it needs to be flexible to enable us to actually enjoy our kids.
But what about us? Enjoying OURselves?
I mean, don’t we deserve to have some fun too?
It isn’t easy having fun when you have small children who are so dependent on you.
Breastfeeding, clingyness, illness, tantrums and unsettled bedtimes can all leave you wondering if it’s actually worth it. There are a million reasons, it seems, why you can’t have fun anymore. And that’s before factoring in the cost of a babysitter who will bleed you dry whilst eating your crisps and drinking your wine.
So, what does that leave you with? Endless nights festering in front of the TV. Or abandoning routine and going out with your kids.
No sodding way.
Enter Gerry Ford.
Beaver and Godivy are Gina babies. Don’t shoot me. Please. I didn’t know any better.
Well, if Gina stands for routine, structure and predictability then The Boy With No Name must be following an alternative parenting guru. Let’s call him Gerry. Gerry Ford.
Gerry stands for winging it, chaos and ‘I’ll do what I like, thank you very much.’ Because no two days are the same. One day he likes self-soothing. The next day I get a confused look, legs in the air and a wail. ‘What? You expect me to go to sleep ON MY OWN?’ WAIL. Yup people. Self-soothing is soooo last year, didn’t you know?
The good news is that when your routine’s going out the window anyway, you haven’t got anything to stop you.
From going out as a family and HAVING SOME FUN.
Kids AND fun?
So last weekend that’s exactly what we did. We had fun. At adult parties (with a family-friendly dimension). That went on late into the evening. Halloween and fireworks.
We tricked and treated, we boomed and sparkled. The girls hung out with the other kids. And The Boy With No Name snoozed his way around the guests. Daddy Pig and I started conversations. Daddy Pig and I finished conversations. I’m still amazed we actually had anything to say.
‘Welcome to the 1970s,’ said one mum, as the many kids traipsed door to door collecting ‘treats’ and then stayed up late together eating all the treats. And I knew what she meant. Because it was exactly how I remember growing up. At parties hanging out with other kids whilst my mum and dad had fun too.
We had so much fun we didn’t get home until midnight.
Gerry. Maybe you’re alright after all.
Rebels WITH a cause.
The next day we went WILD and the fun continued. We overslept. We missed swimming. And all went for brunch instead.
It felt good to be doing things we weren’t supposed to be doing. It felt good to go with the flow. And this is the thing about FUN. Once you remember how it feels, you want to keep feeling it.
You start to care less that no one has consumed any fruit or vegetables aside from a Haribo cherry fizzy thing (that counts, right?). That no one has napped. Hey, you can all have a disco nap later. Remember those?
And anyway, Beaver didn’t even really miss swimming.
Because later, when we went to feed the ducks, she fell in the duck pond.
‘Let it go’ (really).
Come Sunday night, we were all knackered. But then again we’re always knackered by the end of the weekend. Only this time we were happy and knackered.
And I’ve realised that it’s really, really important for us parents to have fun. NOW. Not wait until the children are older and it’s more manageable. It’s important to let our kids see us having fun. Perhaps not downing shots or showing our bras. But certainly letting our hair down a bit, socialising with other grown-ups and not allowing our kids to be the centre of our universe (for once).
Being ourselves. Before we became parents.
Because these occasions teach our kids valuable social skills. Just as much as a trip to soft play or the farm. Maybe even more so. They teach them that fun isn’t just something kids have.
And that’s something I want my children to know.
Happy mum. Happy son.
And do you know the best part about all of this?
By having real fun ourselves we’re actually being better parents. Because the happier we are, the happier our kids are. The less stressed we are, the less flustered our kids feel. And the more connected we become as families.
You see. It’s really a very selfless act on our parts.
Now. Where’s that table?