Back When I Had Fun…

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I used to have more fun. At least, more fun than I do now. Or maybe I should say I used to be more fun.

I started out as the mom who would always think of neat things to do for her kids. Think Pinterest, just simplified. I was one of those “cut a piece of celery and turn it into an unrecognizable creation with peanut butter, raisins, and candy corns” people. I actually really enjoyed it. I would even make {gasp} crafts with my boys when they were younger…and I just had two kids. But then we went and grew our family overnight from 2 kids to 4 kids under the age of 4. And then a few months later decided to “round it out” by making it 5 under 5. And then…suddenly, sadly, quicker than the disappearance of a puff of breath on a cold winter day, my fun ran out. I’m not sure where it went, but wherever it is, it’s sitting back, enjoying the break.

I kind of miss the fun me, though. I’ve become more of a drill sergeant these days. “Pick up those toys!” “Brush your teeth!” “Go to bed!” “Please! Please! Just be quiet!” “The door was closed! That means don’t. come. in!”

I’m just a shadow of the fun, easy going mom I once was. It’s all about efficiency now. And sanity. Figuring out how to get to the end of the day still feeling like I have more to give, instead of wanting to slink into my room away from the chaos. I always swore I would never be a mom who “survived.” You know what I mean? Going through 18, 20, 30 years of raising kids, only to get to the end and realize you survived their childhood instead of enjoying it? Looking back and wishing you would have actually engaged more often instead of putting blinders on to everything going on around you? Yup, that’s exactly what I don’t want to do.

Honestly? I think it is survival. Sometimes it’s so difficult to get through a day of parenting, teaching, cooking, blogging, volunteering and actually having my hair brushed and makeup on. I go through many days, lay my head on my pillow and think, “Shoot. I could have done that better.” And that’s ok. I think it’s normal. It is normal, right? I have guilt from having so many kids, feeling like I could give two kids more love and attention (and fun) than five. But then I think about where these kids would be if they weren’t with us, and I realize how much better it is for them to be with “unfun” mom than the alternative.

But my old fun self is hidden in their somewhere. Every once in awhile I think I feel it bubbling up, asking for permission to emerge. And it’s usually at a moment when I really don’t feel like having fun. The logical part of me takes over and says, “That wouldn’t be a good idea. It would be better to _________.” Eat dinner quietly? Or have a burping contest? Um, quietly please. Stay up late telling scary stories? Or go to bed on time so that I’m not a zombie tomorrow? I think you know the answer.

Now, I don’t want to sound completely down on myself. I do think I do an ok job at being a mom. I can have fun sometimes, but I have to admit, it’s almost always provoked by Superman. He pulls me out of “mom mode” and forces me to let go of the reigns a bit sometimes. But even then, it almost feels awkward. Like I’m pretending to be someone I’m not. I have no idea why that is. I used to be so carefree, and didn’t give a hoot about what people thought of me. Actually, I think I did care, I just did an excellent job at making sure it seemed as thought I didn’t.

So, where does that leave me? Well, when I notice that something is lacking in myself, I often want to set a goal. It bothers me when I see something in myself that I would like changed. So, I’m setting a goal: I am going to be a little more fun each day. But what does this mean, you may ask. So vague…so vague. Well, I guess I’m doing that kind of on purpose. But, I will say that I am going to try to let go a little more. Laugh a bit more. Stop myself once in awhile from going the “logical” path and letting myself go the “crazy” route. Just once a day. And only if an opportunity presents itself. I’m not going to force it, but I am going to open my heart to it.

So, are there any other former funners out there? Wanna join me in my quest to find my old fun self?

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  1. mamaof4 says

    OOOOOOOOOOooohhhhhhhhhhhhhhh, this is SOSOSO me! I better join you, for the sake of my 4 wonderful children!!!! I just have so much trouble and guilt b/c of having severe mood disorder/anxiety/depression.

    • says

      Mamaof4, I know what you mean. Although I don’t suffer from a severe mood disorder, I do struggle with melancholy often, and finding the motivation to be perky is often difficult. =) Good luck with trying to live a little more!

  2. Heather says

    This speaks to my heart, I have trying to once a day doing something silly and to my credit I can really pull it out when they are having a bad day but I am so happy to hear someone else has the same struggles. Not 5 kids but had the whole 4 kids under 4 yo thing with two of them a surprise 3 week international adoption :o)

  3. Carole S. says

    Oh, Shanti, it’s like you read my mind and then put my words on paper. Thank you so much for sharing this and helping us moms to know we’re not alone in our struggles!

  4. Summer says

    Thank you for sharing. I am not a mom, but as I’ve gotten older, I can tell my sense of adventure has waned quite a bit. Your eloquence is refreshing!

    • says

      =( I really believe some people are just made to be more serious to help make the world a working place. lol It’s never too late to start trying, though! I can imagine it would be very difficult to “force” something that’s not natural, but I guess that’s kind of the point. Oh, and I have to say, just from what I know of you, you are an awesome gift-giver and seem to be truly genuine person. That goes a heck of a long way…

  5. Natasha says

    Oh, you sweet thing! Your openness and authenticity is such an encouragement! And yes, it IS normal. At least, I think so! Thank you for this post!

  6. ame says

    Here is my secret… become a kid with them again. We all know you turned out great. How did you do that? Was it because a grownup yelled at you all day? No grownups yelled at me most of the time. I was allowed to play out in the wild and develop my own intrinsic senses of right and wrong and innate connection with the natural world. I struggle with humans a bit and it used to be difficult for me to understand why they were so mean to one another. Until… I became a mom in suburbia and looked around at kids being drilled 24/7… do this, do that, buckle up, blah, blah, blah. Even their “fun” is directed by boring adults. Baseball? No pickup games or hitting pine cones with sticks. They stand in rows and are told what to do, hurry! hurry! faster! faster! THAT SUCKS! I lucked out and got super sick. And also very depressed cause I could not see living 18 years of my life that way. Had to remember what made me feel good. Simplified food majorly. I hate to cook. We eat primarily paleo. Dinners are separate whole food ingredients that each of us puts together to our liking. Kids don’t like it, I don’t cook it. Plenty of other stuff to stress over. School was horrid. Kindergartners had to sit still, don’t talk, stand in line, be quiet, and for the love of God do not sing in the bathroom or you will get the dreaded red card. First grade got worse. Must read so many words in so many minutes or you FAIL!!! My 6 year old was talking about flunking. What? I freaked out. Looked like stormtrooper training camp, not to mention the emphasis on $, #s, testing, rushing, consumerism and materialism. YUCK! My grandpa came to the US to get away from Hitler so I may be a little overreactive when I spot irrational unloving command and control situations. Pulled the kids out of our neighborhood public school and put them in a waldorf-inspired charter. SOOOOOO happy there! The parents lounge on picnic blankets waiting for the happy kids who are enjoying their day at school and connecting to their own creativity and intelligence and self esteem and minding teachers who are calm, centered and super loving. No bullhorn? No yelling? No time outs? I must be dreaming. I AM. And it is my reality now. My kids love to go to school and are sad to come home. MUCH better! All that said, do I yell at my kids? Yes! I have even spanked (uselessly) but they were really beating on each other and I completely lost it which happens to all of us mothers who are engaged 24/7 at times. I spend my time doing stuff with them that I like to do. We play at the lake. We go climb on rocks. We look for fairies in the park. We watch butterflies. We bike ride. We swim a lot. I engage them in cooking dinner. They like to help fold laundry. I am convinced they learn much more from watching us than they do by listening to us. Skyler fixed me a salad the other night. Greens, avocado, olives, red peppers, zucchini and feta. I stopped cleaning up as there is a constant level of clutter no matter what. I stopped trying to talk on the phone cause it just was not happening… instead I Facebook with my friends which the kids allow for some reason. I wear comfy clothes and pony tails most days. Once in awhile I dress up so I remember I can rock it if I choose. Play, play, play! Good for them and good for you. We only get to be children once in a lifetime. And sometimes remembering those carefree joyful days are the only things that are able to cheer me up amongst the ick I observe on this planet. I should mention my children refuse to be controlled… I am 99% sure they are uncontrollable which is what made me figure out the best I can do is show them the way that I know best. Use discernment, be kind to others, be considerate, take care of yourself well, etc. etc. etc. People who blindly follow rules scare me anyway. Maybe I listened to too much Pink Floyd but that “busy signal” at the end of The Wall after “you can’t have any pudding if you don’t eat your meat!” really awakened me. LOL What I am learning now is to be easy on myself and chill out. :) Thanks for this opportunity to express what apparently I really needed to. LOL

  7. sarah says

    Guess what! You are normal. There is a thinking change between the moms who enjoy their kids and moms who survive. :) Welcome to the change. Just remember to give yourself some slack… You are coming from a huge fast change in family size, and from a huge diet change. Its ok you were just surviving. You needed that mind set for a time.

    For me personaly I found encouragement from the blog “ABakers Dozen and Apollo”. When I read her posts from the begining she encouraged me to have fun. I copied many of her parties and had fun.

    The second thing I did was grab my camera. I started to blog about funny things the kids said or did. When I was mad I took pictures first then took care of it. My challenge was how to laugh about what they did…like the time my son sprayed 1/4 inch of water all over the kitchen…

    The third thing I did was I vowed to never complain about the kids. If I need to talk about something bad about them, I find the good, and ask a question for help.

    Phew. This is way longer than I ment it to be. :). Good luck. You might also want to check out Titus 2 ministies.

  8. ame says

    P.S. Still not done! LOL Also 99% sure kids know better than adults in a lot of cases. My stepmonster made me eat stuff I didn’t like (e.g peanut butter, chicken, eggs, pancakes). Found out at age 26 I am allergic to all of those things. Also found out recently I am likely on the autism spectrum and the doctor suggested pediatric occupational therapy for me (at age 38…ROFL). Looked at the exercises and they are the games we kids preferred to play on our own. No expert or adult intervention necessary. We figured it out ourselves. Makes me wonder who is really learning from who and who REALly knows best?

  9. Tina Carey says

    You know it, sister. I’m right there with you :). I need God to unfold it, using exactly where I am and who I am today. And letting go of my “picture”, while staying mindful of my limits, right? 😉

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