It should stand to reason, then, that we are not really a fun family.
I don’t mean “fun” in the sense that we are marginally entertaining people with whom to spend time. Rather, the “fun” kind of people who are going out on adventures, seeing the sights, taking in museums and attractions, et cetera, et cetera, et cetera.
I have admitted to some people that we just don’t do fun things. Which is a half-truth. Maybe a three-quarters truth. We do the bare-minimum of fun things. Mostly because they are emotionally exhausting and if we’re all especially in synch, everyone ends up in a puddle at some point during the fun.
When I left my job three years ago, I thought the world of fun family things would be our oyster. Somehow we manage to plan for fun when one or both of the kids have a silent ear infection plotting fun’s demise.
So earlier this year, I made a conscious effort to let go of convention and do something fun, the spontaneously capturing photographic evidence or these moments with my kids and branding them with hashtag #FunMom. You know, picture or #FunMom didn’t happen.
We did things like lunch at Krispy Kreme on National Donut Day.
And had sparklers on Fourth of July (which, let me tell you, got ALL the kudos from the grandparents who felt obliged to share their horrifying childhood fireworks experiences afterward).
Which really gets me to the point: I have a major stick up my ass when it comes to parenting.
I know what you might thinking: “but you seem pretty laid back with your kids when I’m around you….”
Sure, sure. I may appear laid back as my children willfully ignore my repeated requests to head home from the park or refuse to hold my hand to cross the street, opting for a rousing game of human Frogger instead.
But once you’re out of sight, my frustration knows very few bounds. I rant and rave, I mean, how dare they! And passive-aggressively sigh in resignation at my ineffectiveness as a parent. Weep uncontrollably in the driver’s seat of the car at my failure to get my kids to care even just one fraction of a fuck about me as their fearless leader. Among other winning parenting strategies.
What am I so worried about, you wonder?
Well, aside from their potential future spent in despair and destitution (and perhaps, incarceration), I care about being judged. Judged by those very non-judgemental parents of my own. Judged by my peers. Judged by teachers. Judged by society. Because all of my life I have cared about what people think about me. And also I’m terrified that someone is going to come along to say: “Just fucking with you! You’re not supposed to be a mom. We’ll take over from here.” [SHUDDER]
And I know we’re not supposed to be judgy, and I admit I have been a very judgemental person most of my life (probably to surmise what it is about you that my alter ego (see previous post) needs to be more or less like, but also because it was ingrained in me to be the adjudged, so as you are, so you do). I promise, though, I have been working on it.
So this spring and summer I tried to break free from the bounds of #NotFunMom (aka just regular old Mom) and be #FunMom. I wish I could say I thought my kids noticed the microscopic shift in the fleeting presence of #FunMom, but they were probably too busy playing in traffic. Against my wishes, of course.