My idea of a good time usually involves music and food. My idea of a good time to my preschooler, however, typically includes Disney Princess costumes and jumping on things-ideally simultaneously. She gets this imagination and energy from her daddy, certainly not from me. I joke with Chris that I’m with him all day. All the darn day. The live long day. Are you picking up what I’m putting down? They are the same person. I don’t operate the way they do, and as such they are two peas in an Energizer Bunny Pod. I don’t get it and I’ve chalked it up for years as we’re just different and that’s OK.
Recently I’ve stopped making excuses for letting her use her imagination while playing by herself. I frequently thought, “It’s alright, she needs to learn to play alone. I can’t be her only friend” or “She’s like her dad and like down time to be alone.” Though these are accurate on occasion, my reality is that I’ve been a selfish mom regularly since I brought that sweet girl into this world.
I confessed to Chris this weekend that I feel like K tolerates me as her caregiver through the day-keeping her alive and mostly happy-but her joy comes when he’s home. She’ll deal with me because she’s three and she has to but there’s not the bond between us that there is between he and she. Typing that is painful because doing so makes it real. It acknowledges I’ve let myself and my child down. My laziness as a parent has gone on long enough and my conviction to be the parent she needs, not the parent that I naturally am, is going to take work and discipline. I don’t understand how to play. I have zero imagination and have no idea what kind of conversations to carry on with Ariel, Cinderella, Daniel Tiger, and a plethora of other toys she has. I want all the animal friends to have a seven hour nap time because they’re so tired and K should be a good mommy and help them sleep.
Though that’s a stretch, my point remains: I’ve forgotten that I have two children with two very different personalities that need to be raised, played with, encouraged, and disciplined differently. What comes naturally to me is not what’s best for my kids most of the time. Seeing them as a gift and realizing that God has entrusted me with His children to raise, shepherd, love on, and care for is something I forget regularly.
So here we are. I’ve accepted the conviction of my parenting style and am diligent in making it better. I asked Chris for ways to help myself get out of my own comfort zone and have committed to daily doing at least one activity that I don’t want to do that’s full of energy, outside, or messy and spend quality time building a relationship with my daughter. I assure you this does not come easy but as a woman who doesn’t have the discipline to even exercise or shave her legs regularly, this is a fantastic step. Now that I know an area of my life desperate for improvement I can fix it. I can only move forward to be the mom to K that Christ intends me to be. I can’t do better unless I’m clinging to the cross and regularly looking to Him for strength. Chris isn’t the ultimate parent, though it’s hard not to put him on a pedestal and envy him. He is my teammate but he is not my God. If I’m going to answer my soul conviction I can only excel by growing deeper spiritual roots. Pinterest isn’t going to fix anything, although it’s a great resource for finding activities as a means to entertain my kiddo. Since the problem in and of itself is not the lack of activities available but my lack of engagement I, then, am the problem and I, then, have to run all the more quickly to my King.
I know I’m not alone in this and so I intend to document my journey to being a Fun Mom. Fun doesn’t mean not disciplining behavior and being without rules and boundaires, but it does mean that I no longer seek to be the source of my own contentment. Several times a day I actively choose to die to myself, say “Ok, I’ll watch/help/play” instead of tending to the million other things on my plate that are usually not important.
Day One: Stuffed Animal Battle
K love forts. Chris loves forts and cinematic adventures involving fighting. Heck, I love forts (not so much any cinematic adventure besides Pitch Perfect. And Rent.) I decided to combine these into an afternoon of fun ending with attacking Chris as he got home. I set YouTube up on the Roku to play the Rocky theme when he walked in the door (so cool, I know) and we let loose our cotton cannons. Fun and chaos lasted maybe a minute, but I assure you I was pulling heart strings in my daughter and encouraging myself that having an imagination isn’t all that hard. I thanked God all through the day for the wonderful time I had playing with C and K in the floor, being engaged and off my phone. I was able to enjoy my kids, be thankful that I’m their Mama, and get another taste of what it means to really connect as a family.
I’m unsure what today’s Adventure in Being a Fun Mom will hold-likely a tea/dance party combination. Tomorrow’s will probably be something like ” I Kept My Kids Alive Where’s My Gold Star?” Whatever activity we choose, I assure you it won’t be long lived or something Pinterest worthy but I’m thankful that standard isn’t one I’m held to.