“You’re gonna have a blast, mom!”
She had somehow convinced me to buy a slip and slide obstacle course.
We returned home and when I tucked her in, all she could talk about was that slip and slide. She asked me to check the weather on my phone. “It’s going to be perfect weather for the slip and slide.”
The next day she didn’t miss a beat, “Are you going to get your swimsuit on mom?”
When I became a mom and my mom would babysit, I was always in awe at her ability to have fun with the kids. My kids would return home with stories about the activities and adventures, but most importantly, they would talk about how she had fun with them.
I always felt a pang of resentment that I wasn’t the “fun person” in their life. I was overwhelmed. I barely had my head above water. Washing my hair with dry shampoo, rushing to work, downing coffee, frenzied daycare drop-offs, my couch was filled with clothes I didn’t have time to fold. I really wasn’t the fun person in their life. Or my own for that matter.
It was easy to be consumed.
It was hard to pull away and have fun.
It was easier to say no.
The sink is full of dirty dishes.
I haven’t lost the baby weight.
The laundry needs to be folded.
But making excuses gets old. And at some point, they are going to stop asking.
At one point I probably would have declined my daughter’s offer to take a run on her new slip and slide. But now, I’m having fun like a kid this summer. Having a run on that thing made me forget worries that have been weighing heavy in my heart, I saw my daughter’s eyes light up with love, I belly-laughed and we are still talking about it.
Here’s the funny thing. The sink was full of dishes. My guest room was exploding with clean laundry that needed to be folded. My legs were super hairy. My swimsuit size is in the mid double digits and it is tight. And you know what? My daughter couldn’t care less about any of those things.
My daughter cares if I have fun. Free-spirited, fun like a kid, fun.
There is never a perfect or right time to have fun.
There will always be household chores.
There will always be hairy legs and swimsuits that don’t fit exactly how you wish.
The scary thing is, you can’t have the moments back from this summer. Next fall when you look back at what you did this summer, do you want to say to yourself, “I am so impressed by the amount of laundry I folded and put away over the summer?” Nope. Me neither.
So I’m having fun like a kid this summer.
I’m going to get on the swing next to my kids, pump my legs and close my eyes.
I’m going to eat a bomb pop when the ice cream man comes down our block.
I’m going to take slow walks, smell the flowers and not worry about the time or where we have to be next.
I’m going to dance my silly (usually reserved for the living room) dance at an outdoor concert.
I’m going to take my shoes off at the park.
I’m going to run not because I’m trying to get exercise but because I’m playing tag or chasing bubbles.
I’m going to let my kids cover me with sand at the beach and pretend I’m not afraid of sand bugs and spiders.
I’m going to go down water slides, ziplines, slip and slides, and dog paddle until exhaustion in the pool and not care what I look like in my swimsuit or what other moms look like.
When I stood up from the slip and slide and wiped the mud and grass off my legs, my daughter hugged me and her eyes filled with a look of pride and love that I had never seen before. “I knew it, mom. I knew you would have a blast.”
The reality is that I can’t always be the “fun person” in their lives. But there will be moments this summer when they ask me to have fun, and in those moments I’m going to say yes. I’m not making excuses about time, chores or my body.
I’m going to have fun like a kid this summer.
And I’m going to have a blast.