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Family Fun and Other “F” Words

Family Fun

The word “fun” sounds like fun doesn’t it? It conjures up images of good times, easy and carefree. Saying “fun” often starts the process of having fun. Someone mentions the word and we immediately gravitate towards the person who spoke it, wanting in on that action. You get what I’m saying right? Remember this train of thought.

Remember fun activities that, pre-motherhood, were enjoyable and relaxing,such as the beach, vacations, and barbeques? I’ve recently discovered something this past year or so: putting the word “family” in front of “fun” changes the meaning of it entirely. Fun at the beach, pool, or vacation is still there to be had; you just may not be the one having it. These days, fun has completely transformed itself, sometimes calling to mind another “f” word of an entirely different meaning.

Why? Because I start thinking about all the preparation I need to do for the fun to take place. My mind instantly creates a list of things to do in order make it happen: packing bottles, binkies and sippy cups. Sunscreen: waterproof and paba-free. Waterproof diapers for the pool. Snacks and naps (where and when). Milk, pack my organic vs. use regular on location?

So you can see how planning “family fun” can turn into a logistical nightmare. The prep work these events require would put some Thanksgiving dinners to shame. I’m a fairly organized person. And not lazy. Actually, I don’t think I could be lazy if I wanted to as a mom. It just doesn’t work that way, does it? And, of course, there’s the fact that I want my family to have fun. I want to expose them to interesting and unique cultural events, as well as the good old fashion classic American favorites. My parents did that for me; they’re some of my most cherished childhood memories and now I’d like to pay it forward for my family.

The good intention is there, but it’s still hard for me to find the fun at some of these family fun events (there, I said it!). I’ve prepared in advance for every possible scenario I can think of, and when we actually go to this fun activity (transporting always being an adventure in and of itself) I find myself putting out fires the entire time. If it’s not one thing, it’s another. And that’s okay. I get it: I’m a mom of a young child and this is how this stage of life goes. And, I just want to take part in the fun too! Maybe not the whole time, but just a little bit. Otherwise it feels like I’m watching this goodtime movie unfold in front of me, and I can’t find a way in to participate.

Or can I? Who made up the rule that I need to prepare and do and fix everything? And then the answer hits me like a ton of bricks…I did. I assumed that this is what I should be doing. It looked like what other moms were doing, so I followed that agenda. They seemed frazzled and stressed and running around, so if I’m not feeling that way too at our family fun event, I must not be doing the right thing. And I want to look like a real mom, so I better stick to that agenda, right?

Wrong! I say it’s wrong as of right now. I have a husband who can help me. And at your family fun events, there are usually other family members around. I can share the load with them and ease the burden on me. And I can wing a few things and just make due. I’m not going to be stranded on a desert island, right? I’m sure they’ll be a way to get milk…no need to pack it on ice and travel. And if a binkie falls on the floor, I’ll just wash it; I don’t need to bring four as spares. I can ease up a bit here and there and try to relax. Heaven knows I deserve a good time too! I’m sick of cursing to myself endlessly at these activities. I’m going to have some family fun, even if it *#$!ing kills me!

Author: Amy

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