Are you a Fun Mum? Really, are you a Fun Mum? If you want an honest appraisal, ask your kids! It’s no longer enough to be Head Chef, Cook, Cleaner, Nutritionist, Disciplinarian, Hug-giver, Hair-detangler, Chief of Transport, PA, PR, Social Secretary, Education Consultant (i.e. homework-doer) Barbie-shoe-locator, Fashion Adviser, Appointment Keeper and Bottom Wiper…now we have to be FUN as well! Seriously, there are actual websites, books and blogs out there dedicated entirely to this pursuit. If you’re not taking your children on regular outings to pet shops or baking hundreds of cupcakes (which you let them ice and decorate without advice or instruction – even if the Smartie design is not symmetrical!) then you are most likely not, a Fun Mum.
Am I a Fun Mum? Um, not so much. I mean I try! I really do…but somehow I end up redecorating the Christmas Tree and buying the sugar free ice-cream. And when I try the spontaneous, free spirited, get-in-touch-with-your-inner-child stuff, it usually ends up backfiring. Like, the car wash incident.
A little while back, my Dad gave me a token for an automatic car wash. I was so excited – a job I didn’t have to do myself and it was free! I was saving it for a special occasion. Expecting a visit from my in-laws, I decided the time had come. I had also decided to be kind to myself and organise some help from professional cleaners (a rare treat which I was very excited about) to ensure my house would be sparkling. Awaiting the confirmation call from the cleaners, I headed off to school to collect the kids. I had a fun treat for them and they were going to love it! I herded them all into the car with the promise of an exciting, special and fun ‘job’ to do on the way home. We arrived at the car wash and after a few moments trying to figure out where to put the token, we rolled on forward with anticipation and delight. As the huge brushes engulfed us and the soap started to squirt and bubble, I turned around to witness the looks of happiness and wonder on the faces of my children.
So, you can imagine my surprise when I was greeted instead with wide eyes, quivering lips and looks of sheer terror….just then the car started to shake violently and Master L let out an ear piercing scream that no amount of apple chips could console. I reached over and grabbed the baby out of his seat and gripped him tight to my chest while his sister also began to cry. Locked in a noisy, shaking, bubble enveloped car, I began to rethink my idea of fun. Just then the phone rang…it was the long awaited call from the cleaners. Under extreme stress, I couldn’t think and above the noise shouted not to worry, I had decided to do it myself, a decision I would later regret, like, really regret. Finally, the noise stopped, the shaking subsided and we rolled forward and into the light like you might have rolled out of a night club circa 1998…physically exhausted, emotionally spent and dying for a greasy kebab (or you know, a lot of vodka…whatever). With the baby still on my lap, I pulled over to the side of the car wash bay. As we were getting our breath back Miss F asked…”so, are we still going to do that fun treat Mum?” I laughed to myself (or was it cry?) “No… no fun today”.
And so maybe the idea of the Fun Mum is over rated. What about being a fun kid? Maybe we should launch a website about that. Some of the questions might include…do you sit quietly for at least ten minutes while your mum has a coffee? Or…do you tell your teacher, father, GRANDMA if your mum has more than one gin and tonic? Or how about…do you do what your Mum asks in a timely fashion to avoid making her into an Un-Fun Mum?
For me, it’s a matter of balance. For me, it’s more important to (try) to be a good Mum first…and if everyone is healthy, happy and excited about life, there will always be fun and laughter regardless…even without a trip through the car wash!