Thursday, August 30, 2012

On not being a fun mom {and the linky button}

{my two kiddos, mid-hike to the top of a volcanic crater)

I think some of you have been tricked into thinking I'm a fun mom. I'd say I'm a creative mom, an intentional mom, and a great teacher to my kids. But fun? Not so much.

I guess when I place myself outside that "fun mom" box, it's because I know other moms who belong in it. They play Hot Wheels and fifty rounds of Go Fish and they go in the water. And while I do those things on occasion, they are just not part of what best defines me as a mom. I've always been a sort of serious person. Even though both my parents are really fun and social people, I was just always more analytical, more a thinker, less a doer. My mom tells a story about my first school experience, where my Kindergarten teacher approached her and asked if I was okay since I never talked. Well, Mrs. Fox (that was her name), guess what? I was just examining all you people and the whole school situation before I jumped right into the finger painting, kay? 

So I've come to have a little bit of a complex about not being very fun. I think it comes down to not being very good at playing. I never have been. I wasn't really that fun as a kid, or a high schooler, or a college student...or a mom. I'm great at doing fun things with my kids for the purpose of teaching them something or experiencing something together. But I'm not so good at sitting and playing. I honestly don't really know what to do. Sadly, I think that's the definition of grown-up, according to Peter Pan.

The thing is, I also don't know what's worse: being the mom who doesn't play very much, or the mom who is labeling herself as "not fun" thereby possibly making this characteristic a way bigger deal than it actually is (I mean, my kids don't really know any different, right?).

Maybe neither are all that bad. After all, I have many other fine qualities ('member that post?).

This summer, I've had a lot more opportunities to be fun. My parents so generously took our whole family to Hawaii. I immediately knew we'd have some chances to do things outside of my usual choices for activities. And I took them as challenges to which I could rise. So I hiked in a volcano crater. I went on stage with my daughter at the luau. I went in the water, a lot. I even went on the water slide at the hotel (once) and swam at the base of a waterfall. Friends, these are not things I'd typically choose, but I chose to choose them, if that makes sense. And I loved it.

On not being "fun," I realized I need to give myself some grace in two ways. Firstly, part of having grace for myself means being okay with saying, "No guys, not today," when they all beg me to come to the pool. I need not feel bad about myself as a mom. I do have many other fine qualities. But the other side of that same grace-coin is that I can choose to step out of the label I've given myself. I can go in the water, not just to "take one for the team", but I can actually enjoy myself.

I'm free to be outside all boxes, and I'm free to grow. That's what freedom in Christ is all about, isn't it? Let's not limit what He offers us to simply our spiritual state. I think Jesus wants me to walk in freedom in all areas of my life.

I can choose to take my husband's hand and kick out way beyond my water comfort zone to snorkel too. And I did. Some of my best memories from our trip were doing just that, just the two of us, seeing things in the sea that I've never seen before. We followed a beautiful sea turtle for about five minutes as it silently, gracefully flew through the water. It was magical, actually.

It was more than that. It was God's gift to me; he knows how much I love animals, and perhaps He was cheering on my freedom. I remember that afternoon and think, "That was fun." I was fun. After I willfully pushed aside my pretty substantial fears of deep water, of the surf, and the mystery of what may be beneath me, the experience was exhilarating. I also felt really blessed to have my husband, expert of all things water-related, and his strong hand to hold. At the end of the day, his encouragement was what made me try.

I know lots of moms who struggle with not feeling "fun." I pray that today, you'd claim your freedom in Christ: freedom to accept yourself as you are, as well as the freedom to choose differently in the future if the opportunity arises.

And on a totally different note, here is the button for my first linky on Friday called Thanks-living. To read more about it, click here. I spent two hours today figuring out how to write this code all by my big girl self. So take advantage of it and put it in your post if you decide to link up! (Let's hope it works.) Love you all.

P.S. Today we went to the beach. I went in the water. {Just saying.}



  1. Oh Thank the Lord that I'm not the only one that feels like this! I try so hard to keep up the good fight but I completely get so bored sitting and playing!!! And I feel so bad for that. I feel like I need to beat myself up for that. I have a five year old now and I still struggle with this. I love him SO much and it is hard to tell him no! Thank you for this post. It helps me to realize that Christ has given me other qualities that I can share with my little boy. I love to take him places and be the one that does "adventures" with him.

  2. you and I were cut from the same cloth my friend. but you already knew that :) I'm not the fun mom either. and when I think back, I wasn't really "fun" growing up or in high school either. I love this idea though, to claim freedom to step outside of my (self-imposed) labels and be something different. all the time or some of the time. and enjoy it too. I don't know if I could ever go snorkeling though. that would be huge.

  3. This makes me think of the Modern Family episode where Phil decides to be the "mean" one and Clair decides to be "fun" which was a stretch for both of them to go beyond what they would normally do. In the end every one was miserable and they realized that each of their unique ways of parenting was just right for the family. I have never been the fun one, but that's okay-my husband makes up for it. I balance out his fun loving ways by thinking about keeping the kids safe and healthy while they play like crazy, and that is good. And then I make sure everyone is in bed with teeth brushed after the fun is done. I think we balance each other out pretty well.

  4. this is a sweet post.
    very relatable and humble.
    i don't really know that i have ever thought about if i am a "fun" or "not fun" mom.
    but i liked reading about your experiences and thoughts on it.
    good job.

  5. I identified with this post on so many levels. thank you for speaking straight to my heart and speaking God's truth and encouragement to be who He made us (and is making us!) as we walk through motherhood.
    PS- I hold my hubby's hand while snorkeling too and the running dialogue of self-talk in my head could be an episode of Finding Nemo. Totally get ya!

  6. Like I said... we are the same. ;)

  7. "I can choose to step out of the label I've given myself." Amen! And I commend you for recognizing it is a label, not the truth about who you are.

    Btw- I do not love water. My kids, especially Noah, is REALLY proud of me when I participate in water activities.

    When we were in Maui last summer for our 15th I too went snorkeling. I chose to choose my husband over my fear of water and animals and my hair being frizzy.

    Continue to delight in who god has created you to be as a mom, you're kids will delight in those things too...i know, and it's wonderful!