By Michelle Jayne
At 36 years old I fell pregnant and that was when my whole life changed. I went from being a successful computer applications specialist , party and dancing girl, to a full time wife, mother, task master, shopper, health nut, trainer, household manager, business owner, cook and baker, just to name a few. Basically, it was motherhood and mothering, and to me, it was tough.
Although happy about my new little one, and determined to be the best mom ever, by the time the first year had passed I felt like I had aged 25 years. Although busy as heck, I was also bored, fatigued, fed up, it seemed like I was never having any fun. I missed the nights of dancing, partying, staying out late and never having to worry about responsibilities at home. I missed the little freedoms that people without kids take for granted – but most of all, I missed myself and who I used to be. The idea that I was responsible for a little life made me stressed out and often times depressed at the thought of doing it all wrong. Nevertheless, I wanted to find a way to laugh everyday like I used to when out with my friends and dancing, as apposed to being a constant task master and constantly advising what to do and what not to do and how to do this or that.
One day, while chatting to a friend, who seemed to have it all together, I got such a shock when she said to me, “I love my kids, but there has to be more to my life then this or I am going to lose my head!” She and I both agreed that the days for us lacked fun and excitement and although we were proud of our developed motherhood skills, and proud of the job we were doing, all the more reason we deserved to have some fun in the midst of everyday mothering.
Then it occurred to me that although grown up fun doesn’t usually mix with kiddie fun, I could still find ways of putting a little craziness into the day that would leave lasting memories for the family, make me laugh, and above all else, feel alive.
Here are some of the crazy, fun, out of the ordinary things I have done with my kids to add laughter, smiles, and memories, and have given me a sense of fun ever day. They also make for great stories to tell friends and family and have added value and life to my journey as a mom.
1. Feeling tired and just want to put your feet up for 5 minutes? How about doing it at the beauty salon? Give your child a brush, hair clips and a mirror and let them do your hair. Most kids love this and it also gives mom a chance to put her feet up and relax for a while.
2. Need your child to relax, not be so hyper and chatty? Give them a baby massage. This massage benefits child and parent. Follow the massage with a cup of herbal baby tea and honey. This also offers your child health benefits and for mom it offers a quiet, calm household for at least a little while. You will love it when afterward your child cuddles close to you and you can smell the essence of the massage oil you used and the atmosphere in the house.
3. At the end of year, take a family photo and choose a theme. Everyone has to dress up to match the theme. Have one nice photo taken and one silly one. Each year when you hang the new photos, you and you kids can laugh and remember things that took place when you took the previous picture. A useful accessory to motherhood is the ability to take captivating, skillful pictures.
4. Want your hubby to know just how hard your job of mothering is? Switch roles! You are sure to come out of it with a big prize when he sees what you have to deal with and how gracefully you do it everyday. Take photographs of him and his facial expressions while he is struggling through the simplest things, or when the kids throw food on him, or when he looks like he can’t stand for another minute. When he puts the kids to bed, take one last photo of him. Print the photos and put them in a special book to show your kids and share with friends – trust me, it’s hilarious!
5. Barney, Sprout channel, Sesame Street? – Blah! Turn your kids on to Bob Marley, Whodini, or Jill Scott. Let them move and groove to the music. Give each one a present for doing a dance show for you. Take pictures for you and the kids to laugh at later. You will marvel at your mothering when you see how not only adorable they are but how their little bodies are so uncoordinated and how they move so adorably. You will have a smile on your face for hours and your child is sure to come up with a funny dance move that you can imitate and make them laugh. Not to mention this is great exercise for the kids.
6. Go the movies – no baby sitter necessary! Take your baby to the movies. (Infants love the dark, and loud trailers make them snooze immediately….. usuallu) Munch on your goodies in peace and enjoy the flick – without the fifty million interruptions!
7. Let them help you escape. Let your kids be the excuse to do the things you want to do, like hopping out for a manicure or pedicure, having an unusually junky meal for dinner, or going to an amusement park. Use your kids as an excuse for not doing things you don’t want to do or don’t feel like doing. Believe me, there are perks to motherhood and you deserve to use them!
8. Every Mother’s Day, have a picture taken with your kids. Store the pictures and the keep sakes from your kids in a nice box (let your kids decorate it and gain some time for yourself in the process). Every year visit the box and see how much your kids have grown and how much their crafts, coloring, writing, and drawing skills have improved.
9. Give your kids quiet time every day. Teach your kids to play independently with books, crayons, blocks, and music. These are just a few healthy ideas. When your children learn to play on their own in frees mom up to get tasks done in a reasonable amount of time, without all the interruptions. It also gives mom an opportunity to have a chat with a friend on the phone, which I am sure you will all agree would be a nice piece of grown up time. It is also very beneficial for your kids.
10. PJ Day is one of my favorites! The kids, well, lets just say they wish everyday was PJ day. Mom and kids hang out in their PJ’s all day. Matching PJ’s are extra fun! Eat your favorite foods and watch your favorite movies. Kids can watch their movies on a laptop while mom watches hers on the TV. Lay out drinks and snacks so they won’t disturb you for these things.
11. Star Gaze the night away. Tent up in your backyard with a radio, s’mores and other great camp out food and drink. Use it as your reading room or to star gaze. Kids can star gaze and play while mom reads in the tent.
12. Do you have a house fairy? No! Well, you had better put one in place as soon as possible. Invent a house fairy, give her a cool name and tell the kids she is always watching them and keeping track of all their good deeds and naughty means.
13. When your child falls asleep at night. Lay next to him and absorb his sweet baby smell and listen to him breath. This experience will relax you, and will add one of the warmest memories to your collection of motherhood.
14. The Laugh Master Game. Have fun, be a kid, be a little crazy and make them laugh. It’s contagious and you will soon all be laughing together. Embrace their laughter, their smiles, their funny faces, and their out of breath flops when they are pooped out from laughing. My little one is pooped out after this and usually falls asleep just after dinner.
Motherhood is a wonderful part of life but requires that we constantly give of ourselves. Learning to find fun and laughter in the things we do and the ability to laugh when we don’t feel like it is a gift worth giving yourself. It makes us all the more better at what we do – for ourselves and our kids.
Michelle Jayne (AKA The Parent Fairy) has 22 years parenting experience, with a teenager and preschooler under her wings and enjoys sharing what she’s learning along the way.