As the COVID-19 pandemic spread with news that schools were closing and a stay at home order was in place, my hidden inner fears were immediately brought to light. “Could I even handle being a full-time fun mom?”
I am a full-time working mom, which means my children are either at school or daycare for the majority of the day. COVID-19 has really disrupted that daily routine. To say that I was unprepared for this type of togetherness is the understatement of the year.
Just have fun with the kids.
Before “social distancing” was the norm, I went to work every day after dropping the kids off at daycare/school. I would sit at my computer and dream about not being at work and instead getting to spend more time with my kids at home. I would imagine a day filled with fun activities like riding bikes, play dates, picnic lunches outside, and going to the park. Just having fun with the kids – it’s what I wanted, right? Wrong! I was petrified that I wouldn’t be able to do it. I rolled my eyes and thought to myself, “I’m not sure if I even know how to just have fun anymore.”
Typing those words makes me feel like a failure already.
I’m good at being the busy mom who juggles lots of plates. I wear that hat all the time. I’m great at getting the kids dressed, remembering to pack after school snacks, keeping up with the laundry, making sure we have toilet paper, and handling the various other small fires that come up.
Since COVID-19, Daniel Tiger’s advice to “take a deep breath and count to four” has become more like a mantra for me with the constant yells of “MOOOOOOOOM” from my kids. Ignoring that mountain-size heap of laundry sitting in the corner is futile because, of course, I know I’ll stay up to do it just to ensure that my youngest has that one shirt that she must wear every single day.
But being the fun mom? Just laughing and being laid back? Could that be me?
Being the busy working mom makes me worry that I can’t fit into the fun mom role anymore.
Normally, when I try to play a board game with my kids or read an extra bedtime story, my mind is racing a mile a minute going through my to-do list. While they are picking out a card game or coloring, I’m thinking about all of the things I still need to do.
Before COVID-19, I carried around so much guilt for not having a blast with my kids because I was so busy. I felt guilty for having to get up and go to work every day, telling them to give me a few more minutes to finish the work project and then having those few minutes turn into thirty. By the time I was done and ready to play with them, they had already moved on to something else.
I should be happy now that I was going to get to be with my family from sun up to sun down. I didn’t know if I was though, and that needed to change. Where did my happy go and could I find it again? I knew deep down even though I was worried about being the happy fun mom, I could give my kids what they deserved.
Let’s reclaim our happy – Who’s with me?
I decided to stop comparing myself to others, especially those perfect Facebook moms. I challenged myself to start each day with something that makes me happy. Changing my mindset, taking away the pressure to be perfect and looking at this time with my family as a gift and not a Most Fun Mom contest were my new goals.
I know I’m not the only mom who has stared at that mountain of laundry and kids running around, with tears welling up wondering when the fun part is going to begin. Even when you are drowning and want to throw in the towel, know you aren’t alone. I feel you. I am you.
So here is to being more present, throwing away the Pinterest list of activities, and reclaiming that happy fun, mom attitude!