We’re not saying you should channel Regina George’s mother in Mean Girls, oh no. We’re not talking dressing like you’re ‘down with the kids’, getting them drunk on margaritas aged 12 or discussing the merits of Taylor Swift’s love life like you’re an actual OMG LOL teen (Ok that last one is sort-of allowed as who isn’t intrigued by the are they for real? cultural phenomena of Hiddleswift?) What we mean is rather than stressing about the mess/homework/school grades, do you actually have fun with your kids? Or is that super-important, perhaps the most important part of childhood being forgotten amidst all the admin of day-to-day life?
We admit it can be hard to channel your inner party-starter on a few hours sleep, when you have a to-do list as long as your arm and your smallest nearest-and-dearest are acting feral. But, at the same time it’s horribly easy to fall into the trap of always being the Bad Cop nagging about homework and tidying up, worrying about healthy eating, trying to get them into bed and stressing about the noise levels, whilst at the same time thinking about work, your stack of unanswered emails and that annoying stain on the bedroom carpet. But really, what does it all matter? Childhood goes so fast, the world can be so horrible, surely the home admin can wait?
Even if it’s just for 1/2 an hour. Stop. Throw your Motherhood Manual in the air and forget about the boring grown-up stuff (because let’s face it, it is boring) and get down (literally and figuratively) to their level. Burp. Roll around on the floor. Dance around the kitchen. Play lego. Play tag. Wear fancy dress. Draw silly monsters. Make up faux-naughty words. Go on a mini-adventure. Make a crisp sandwich. Forget about rushing them to bed and enjoy their mad little thoughts that always come out at that time. Give their toys a bath. Make up a story. Chase them with a hose. Look for bugs. Cook the most foully gooey chocolate brownies ever. And whilst you’re at it, turn your phone OFF and engage, because *whisper* these days won’t last forever. And guess what? You’ll end up having fun. And they’ll have fun, maybe even squeal ‘this is the best day ever!’ as my son did when all we did was play tag with him in the garden after bedtime. And with fun comes joy, love and a desire to make you happy. Which means they’ll be more inclined to do all those boring things you actually want them to do. But, above all you’ll feel so much happier, closer and better for doing it. And, in a world where so much bad stuff is going on, surely we all should, even just for 10 minutes, have a little fun?
Are you a fun parent? Take our quiz to find out…
1. Dancing with your kids means…
a) Three hour contemporary dance sessions followed by ballet, tap and modern. No-one said being good at something is easy.
b) Heading out clubbing. Drinks are on me!
c) Having an impromptu kitchen disco. Why yes, I may be old enough to be his actual mother, but that doesn’t stop me from admitting that Justin Beiber’s new stuff is really rather good.
2. A day spent with your kids is your idea of…
a) Sheer hell. There’s just so much to do, so much to organise. I know they’re only 4 and 6, but it’s just so hard getting them to understand Mandarin. If only the tutor could come all day, every day.
b) Woo Hoo! We can pardeeee! There’s nothing like a pub garden on a sunny afternoon.
c) Full-on, but fun! They’re only young once, so I’m going to make the most of it. And besides, this is way better than work.
3. You think your children’s dress sense is..
a) *No sticky fingers!* Sorry? What was that? *Wash your hands!* Sorry? Where was I? Dress sense? Nowhere near smart enough. I want my progeny to look like Prince George and Princess Charlotte. What do you mean that’s totally unrealistic?
b) Boring! Higher, tighter, more body con! That’s what I say….
c) Eclectic. But, then all the best people are.
4) Childhood is….
a) A training ground. We’re not going to get into Oxford if we don’t start the hard work now.
b) I’m still in it, baby.
c) Fun, free, dirty, messy.
Mostly a’s) Take a chill-pill mummy-or-daddy-O’. Yes, school/good manners/tidying up are important, but so is childhood. So why not throw the rule book in the air (for at least a day), lie back and spot animals in the clouds, dance in the kitchen, play tag in the garden? You can get back to that Mandarin later.
Mostly b’s) Woah there Edina Monsoon, you are the parent in this family. If you don’t want to end up with some seriously dysfunctional relationship then start setting some boundaries. Of course, you should be enjoying time spent with your kids, but they have lots of friends, what they need is parent. That’s what you are, ok? You are Not Their Best Friend. Repeat after me. You are Not Their Best Friend.
Mostly c’s) Give yourself a high-five. We’d like to hang out with you even if you’re kids don’t.
Please let us know how you like to have fun with your kids. Any ideas, however simple, are always welcome! Please comment below!