When I watch home videos of when my now eight-year-old daughter was a baby, I wonder if it’s really me behind the camera. The person talking seems to be somebody who is lively and fun. It’s somebody who was enjoying the moment and creating an upbeat narration to go along with it. No, that couldn’t be me, because nowadays I cringe at the idea of trying to narrate a home-video.
When the kids were smaller, it was easy being playful. Other than the sleep deprivation, there was nothing that irritated me or made me want to rip my hair out. They merely played on the floor in the most innocent of ways, taking in as much as they could of the world around them. A little bit of pureed carrot-colored spit up got on the white carpeting, no big deal. So what if my daughter scattered the entire toy box across the living room or emptied the toilet paper all over the bathroom. They were easy fixes and things that would make me laugh.
Sadly, that playful, fun feeling jumped the tracks somewhere within the past five years because now I feel like nothing but a Hoover vacuum chasing after two Tasmanian Devils! Every (yes every) time they come into the house they leave their shoes and coats on the floor right in the walking path. They have also discovered the knack of sneaking food onto the couch in the living room, dropping crumbs all over it or leaving drip marks from whatever they are drinking. I’m pretty sure they think anything that falls to the floor is a lost cause and should become a permanent feature of the house’s decor. And then the attitudes – backtalk, disrespect, ungratefulness, and whining are enough to make my blood boil. Why does completing the simplest of chores warrant a cry fest? Why can’t they play games without me having to mediate their sibling rivalry? And where did 6-year-old girls learn to act like teenagers? No wonder I’ve lost my reason to have fun…
Most of the time, I feel like there’s steam coming out of my ears. It seems easier at this point to bark orders or send them to their rooms rather than to create fun out of these situations. I don’t typically have other kids over to play because the idea of managing more kids than my own stresses me to the hilt.
Where’d the Fun Go?
I’m sure my kids think I’m the least fun mom ever, and I can’t say I’m any better as a wife. My brain is so frazzled at the end of the day that all I can do is attempt to decompress on the couch in front of the TV. If my husband tries to start up a conversation, it’s usually a one or two-word answer. I often balk at taking the kids out to dinner because I know how they will act. Should we actually get a sitter for a date night, I’m pretty much ready to go home and hit my bed by 9 pm.
The fun in me certainly seems to have left the station, and I’m not the only one. Many of my friends say the same thing and wonder why they don’t know how to have fun anymore. Where did all our fun go? Why are we unable to lighten up and see the fun side of life? Is it just the kids, or maybe all the extra responsibilities that simply come with adulthood? Are we destined to feel this way the rest of our lives, or can we bust out of the boring rut and learn to have fun again?
There is, I believe, a lesson to be learned in all of this. As much as our kids can turn us into lifeless, angry grouches, it is up to us to try to find the fun in situations. We owe it to them to be a fun parent at least every now and then, and we owe it to our spouses to have a good attitude for the times when the kids aren’t around.
I’ve made it my goal this year to try to see the funny side of things and be more lively. It’s not always easy and I often regress, but when I act fun everyone seems a little bit happier. I will once again feel more like that person behind the camera, lively and narrating life.
Will you join in on getting your fun back?