Can mom have more fun? Any fun at all? How is it even possible with all these responsibilities? I absolutely adore this post from Tasha. I cried through it, because my mom-life is full and amazing but hard and exhausting. I needed this. I’m guessing you might too…
Can Mom Have More Fun?
by Tasha Hackett
Being a mother is amazing. A-ma-zing. But being trapped and tied down weighs on me until I might crumble. When all the parts of me that made me Tasha turn into Mom Mom Mom Mom, I begrudge this life that I find myself in. Sometimes it appears I’ve forgotten how to have fun as a mother. This post is because I know I’m not alone. I know I’m not the only overwhelmed mom out there who needs to hear this.
Why is it hard for moms to have more fun?
Of course it’s a foolish thing to wish myself out of where I am. I mean, come on! This is my happily ever after! This is the life I always wanted, always assumed I would have. As a kid, I hardly had any career goals because I knew I would be home with my kids doing all the things I loved–cooking, creating things, teaching my kids, singing, playing, holding babies and going on adventures with my mom friends and their kids. But instead I’m stuck doing laundry, and dishes, and managing the budget, and sweeping the floor over and over and over again until I’m staring at this home I’ve built around me and wanting to take a sledge hammer to all of it and go live in a cabin in the woods–which I would hate by the way, unless my family came with me because I totally love them.
As it turns out, God absolutely and completely knew what he was doing when he gave me these kids. Motherhood is a baptism by fire, and it’s growing me into a woman of courage and strength and refining me into something beautiful. (Right?! God love me for it, but I am so stinkin’ broken.)
Why is the fun gone?
You know why. For those of us who are in the grind of raising little tiny kids, we have routines that must be abided. We mothers are stressed by all the things we’re in charge of rattling around in our brains. When meals, sleep, and routines get out of whack, everyone pays for it. The energy it takes to simply survive doesn’t always leave much room to have more “fun.” Now, let’s be clear. I am not talking about creating more fun for the kids. No, I’m not worried about their fun. They get to play, play, play all the live-long day. I’m interested in mothers. Why aren’t we having fun? As a parent, am I having fun? Am I fun? What used to be fun? Is it still fun? Why not? What else can I do that makes me happy?
Side story about how much fun I had the past three years.
Incidentally, the past three years have been a doozy. Blessings upon blessings, but also a pile of personal, internal, trials. In the meantime, I thought it would be a good idea to start my writing career. Maybe not the best timing with the whole birthing of the fourth child and all.
But here I am, and writing has been so much stinking fun.
During the first lock-down of the pandemic, the husband worked from the basement. I seized the opportunity of the extra time and support and finished my novel, Bluebird on the Prairie. I don’t tell you this to brag . . . nope, okay, I’m bragging a little. . . but mostly because I am amazed and full of joy at having completed such a magnanimous accomplishment that I can’t help sharing it. Was it ever so much work? Yes. Girl… yes. So. Much. Work. Guess what else it was? Rewarding. And, you guessed it. Fun! It was fun.
A crazy thing about writing books is how much I learn from my characters when they start speaking all by themselves and spout off random bits of wisdom that I never could have thought up on my own. They’re smart like that.
Please read this scene snippet that tugs at my heart:
Zeke lowered himself to the ground and leaned against the tree. “It’s not that I’m not grateful, because I am. But I can’t . . . I’m not a farmer. I don’t want to be a farmer.” He set his hat on the ground. Running both hands through his hair before clasping them behind his neck, he sighed. “I don’t know, Chipmunk, do you ever feel like everyone’s got a plan for your life, and forgot to ask how you felt about it first?”
“Why do you call me Chipmunk?”
He grinned at her. “Wouldn’t you like to know.”
She pulled a handful of grass and threw it at him. The wind caught most of it and she watched it drift. “I envy you.”
“You wanted to go, so you did. To have that kind of freedom. To be brave enough to take a chance.”
“Stupid enough, you mean. Did you get a good look at the goober who fell on his face? That man was lonely, dirty, and starving.”
Eloise did remember, and blushed thinking of it. If it hadn’t been for her standing in the creek only half dressed, he never would have fallen. “At least you keep smiling through it,” she said, “I don’t know how to have fun anymore.”
“I just do what makes me happy. Within reason . . . Fried chicken? Makes me happy. Catching frogs? Makes me happy. Singing? Makes me happy. What makes you happy? Do that.” He shrugged, like there was nothing to it.
What did make her happy? There were things she used to do for fun, but when put to the question she was stumped.
Zeke prodded. “There isn’t anything you do, that makes all the bad stuff disappear for a while?”
“I don’t know. If there is, I’ve forgotten.”
Can I share a fun secret?
Fun doesn’t need to be extravagant. Sometimes I forget to be happy. It’s wrong and it’s not God’s plan for me. Sometimes I don’t know how to have more fun as a mother. I get so caught up in what I can’t do and what I wish I could be doing, that I don’t make use of the fun freely available. One of the things that brings me joy is writing. And so I do, and I did. Laura lets me talk to you and I have dreams of many more novels to come! But… the simple, freely-available-doesn’t-cost-anything fun? That comes from a spirit of peace. A peace that knows my kids are well loved, even if their rooms are a mess because I haven’t properly trained them on how to keep them tidy. A peace that extends to the husband when he’s 20 minutes later coming home from work than I expected.
Peace comes from knowing I am worthy of God’s love.
Listen up, friend. You are worthy of God’s love. He didn’t raise his son from the dead for someone he didn’t love. He didn’t come back from the grave for us to walk about the house grumpy about laundry! I believe He wants us to have life, and have it to the fullest–not just later, but now! Absolutely we are called to sacrifice so much of ourselves. But nobody ever asked us to stop having fun, we did that all on our own.
Here’s how I had fun today:
- When the kids played in the yard, I read a book for 45 minutes.
- When the kids asked for a snack I opened a jar of peanuts and gave it to them. And then showed off, unsuccessfully, how I could throw and catch one in my mouth.
- While the baby played with a stack of books I got on my hands and knees and growled at him until he looked my way, then I slinked towards him like a tiger. He squealed and laughed at me.
- I was blasting show tunes on my phone when Ben came home from work (20 minutes late), and as I sang along, I started dancing for him. He pulled me into his arms, twirled me around a few times and dipped me over his knee before the kids claimed his attention.
- At dinner I shared a new book idea with the kids and asked them to come up with any funny things that might happen to my characters.
You are pretty when you smile.
Yeah, okay. I know. Sometimes life is really really hard. I understand hard. I’ve been there, and I’m still there sometimes. To be perfectly honest, I don’t want to get out of bed most mornings because I dread the tasks ahead. Being a mom and the humility, compassion, empathy, and selflessness that needs to come with that is the hardest thing. I’m a work-in-progress.
A few years ago I laughed at something and my, then five-year-old, son said, “Mom! You’re so pretty when you smile.” And it broke my heart in a million tiny pieces because what he really said was, “I haven’t seen you smile in a long time.”
Do it for you.
Can you find ways to have more fun? I don’t know everything going on in your life that’s causing you so much stress you’ve forgotten how to have fun. But I can guess at some of it. Here’s a hint: Don’t make food harder than it has to be. Laura’s given us way too many resources and recipes for us to be wasting time complaining about kitchen duty.
I’m not even going to leave you with scientific facts about how laughing is healthy and makes you live longer. Nope. How about we make time for fun, simply because fun is fun? Nobody goes to bed thinking, “Man, I wish I hadn’t had so much fun today.”
Tasha Hackett, author of Bluebird of the Prairie, (a heartwarming romance releasing Spring 2021), is fueled by sunshine or hot chocolate—whichever is more readily available. She pretends to be a ballerina while cleaning the kitchen and can sing along to every word of every Wee-Sing Silly Songs album. Four children and a husband have filled her days with more than enough to keep her busy, but creative hobbies continually find their way onto her to-do list. You can connect with her on Instagram @hackettacademy or for Laura @heavenlyhomemaker.