Are you a FUN mummy or a frantic Mummy?

Do you feel as though you are ‘managing’ your baby and children? Is your life all about ‘staying in control’ because the alternative is just too scary to contemplate? Or are you having fun with them?

Are you racing on a treadmill as you strive to do ‘all the things‘? Do you feel energised or exhausted by the work you do? Or do you feel as though you are constantly running a race against the clock, whether you work at home, run a business or you are balancing a career with family,  with no finishing line in sight?

The beginning of this brand new year is a great time to re-evaluate how to nourish yourself so you have the energy to have fun.  I’m not asking you to make resolutions – I gave up on these long ago, it just seems like more pressure.  Instead, why not give yourself a huge high five for all that you are and all that you are doing right now. You are enough. You don’t need to keep up with anyone else, you don’t need to feel ‘less than’ whatever you feel you ‘should’ be. You have probably heard me say ‘don’t let anybody ‘should’ on you – and that includes YOU!

So instead of adding more ‘to dos’ to your list, let’s pause for a few moments and do a ‘health check’ of the ‘fun versus frantic’ factors in your life. Check in and ask yourself, how do I want to be as a parent and a partner?

If you have had a year of stress and pressure it is time to make some changes because:

  • We all know babies and children are little barometers of our own stress. If you are a frantic mum, your child is more likely to be frantic: if he senses your disconnection, his efforts to reconnect with you can present as ‘difficult’ or unsettled behaviour. A need for ‘attention’ is just asvalid as a need for food and nourishment – your touch, your eye contact, listening attentively and being present are nourishment for your little (and not so little) one’s soul and self- esteem. They tell him, I am valued. Then he can value himself. He will feel safe and loved and he won’t need to do ‘silly things’ to ‘get your attention’.
  • Fun parents who seize the moments to create fun create happy memories – for you and your child – that will last long after your littlies have grown. What do you remember as the most fun when you were a child? How can you create some of these precious memories for your own family?
  • Happy families are healthy families – stress affects your immune system and your child’s. On the other hand, laughter really is the best medicine! Making time for laughter and joy will save time and money on health care for stress related illness – from runny noses and cranky behaviour in children to more serious stress related disorders in adults.
  • We can never get back this moment, this day or this week with our child at this age right now. While it’s great to have lifelong goals and aspirations, it’s important to take off the blinkers and stop pretending that we are ‘doing this for our kids’ if these goals are really stealing time and energy from being present and being aware right NOW.  Babies and children don’t care whether they have an ‘inheritance’ when they’re twenty one. They don’t give a hoot if you are the leader of the free world if you are so busy you are always saying, ‘in a minute’ or ‘hurry up!’ They need you NOW – to love; to laugh; to have fun; to teach them and model values, so they can make their way in the world with confidence and joy.

Making it FUN!

Please, take a moment to visualise the kind of family you want, the kind of things you can enjoy with your little ones and the values that are important to you. Remember, no pressure, you don’t need to be perfect, nor do your kids.

Create a FUN board: this is like a vision board for fun – you can include your kids, especially if they are old enough to cut or glue  – cut out pictures, collect articles and advertisements for activities that you and your child(ren) can enjoy together.

Write a FUN list: write lists of all the things you could enjoy with your family – things that you can do spontaneously in a few minutes – blow bubbles, wrestle, hug, dance to happy music, jump on the trampoline together, plant some seeds or pick flowers or veggies from the garden, paint each others’ faces, bake a cake, eat a picnic lunch outside or on the floor inside if it’s raining, make a ‘cubby’ from old sheets pegged onto a tree, ‘paint’ the fence with a small bucket of water and a large house painting brush.

If you feel burn out or ‘all played out’, here are some quick, simple ideas for fun that don’t involve creating extra messes to clean up – you can even enjoy a cuppa while you play these. 

Schedule FUN days: think of things that require a bit more time and perhaps money (but fun shouldn’t create financial stress) – then schedule at least one day a month all this year to spend on a fun family activity with no interruptions. This is sacred time that can’t be put aside – whether its’ a trip to the beach, a pizza and movie night at home or a live concert, this is FUN time!
Say “NO!” Above all, guard your own energy by learning to say ‘NO’ to activities and people that will sap your energy and ‘YES’ to activities that nourish you – your child needs a model of fun and joy, as well as fun time with you. Life is about choices – make the choices that fill your own tank so you have energy to enjoy your family. Delete, delegate and simplify and say, “YES” to fun because fun mummies have FUN families!

 

Pinky McKay is an International Board certified Lactation Consultant (IBCLC), and best-selling author with 4 titles published by Penguin Random House, including Parenting By Heart, Sleeping Like a Baby , 100 Ways to Calm the Crying and Toddler Tactics. See Pinky’s books and audio recording packages HERE

9 Comments

  1. Beverley Says Reply

    Totally love this blog! It is so true – we can never get back those wonderful precious childhood years with our children. The time and attention we give to our children will be repaid over and again. I found that by ‘being’ and ‘doing’ with my children when they weren’t clamouring for attention, but just as an every day part of our daily life, meant they were happy to play or do be engaged in activities that interested them without my assistance or attention when I needed to do other things, such as the chores.

  2. Tina Swan Says Reply

    I am a fun mummy to my 7 1/2 month old boy. Time is far too precious to be worried about housework etc. My paying job is as an Executive Assistant which requires quite a significant amount or organisation, control and management. When Liam came into this world, I let control go out the window.

    It will be very hard when I go back to work to leave my precious boy with someone, but like alot of mums, I don’t have a choice.

    Children grow too quick, so I say enjoy every minute with them and never say you can’t wait for school holidays to be over so you can get rid of them. Maybe you shouldn’t have had kids if you can’t enjoy them.

    • Donna C Says Reply

      You have a 7.5mth old. I have 4 school kids, and I love them to bits. But believe me, there are plenty of days when I can’t wait for them to go back to school! Maybe wait tlll you have school age kids before you judge parents of kids that age.

  3. Belinda Says Reply

    I have 3 active, beautiful, amazing, noisy, boisterous little boys. Twins aged 2 and a 6 yr old. I love adore and cherish them so much … But LOVE 7pm bed time when they all disappear! And school holidays to end when I have one less for a few hours each day! It’s incredibly hard work but I wouldn’t change a thing as I wanted and planned for each of them but wanting a break every so often and having “me” time does not make me selfish and not a deserving parent… Actually makes me an amazing parent 🙂

  4. Kelly Says Reply

    I love the message here! I’m an energy therapist and the points you have made about children being the barometers of their parents is something SO significant, yet so easily forgotten. When our kids ‘play up’ we look to change them with discipline or other outside influences. It’s not very often we look within to make some changes, but this is where they are needed and where the biggest change begins.

    Thank you for sharing such an important message to the world!!

    • Katie Says Reply

      Kelly, your post resonated with me! I have recently reconnected with my 3yo and the change is amazing!! Since her brother arrived I have suffered depression related mostly to the onset of Bell’s palsy ( one week postnatal). I was seeing her as just another job which devastated me and her. Her “dramatic” behaviour was a cry for help. On a bad day she would reflect my mood right back, but if I was gentle and generous with her, the energy of the entire family lifted. I’ve just asked my husband and he has noticed that after a few weeks of really trying to parent gently and let her be a 3yo without trying to shut her down, we are laughing, dancing, baking, tickling and hugging our way back to each other. I’ve learned that it is my response that sets the tone and I hope my changes continue to nourish our relationship.

  5. Jennie Says Reply

    I used to be a fun mummy. I used to do crafts with my daughter, take long rambling walks, play outside. But these days, I can’t seem to snap out of frantic mummy mode. My almost 3yo son is full on and I hate crafts with him because it is a DISASTER to clean up after – and for the 10mins he’s engaged it’s almost not worth it – except my 6 yo daughter is suffering. As a single mum, I spend all my time simply trying to keep my head above water. I work at home, and I am spending more and more time at the computer trying to get jobs done so that I can afford food and utilities. My daughter is now coelaic, and gluten free life is so expensive that I find I say no to everything she wants to do because it all costs money- and I’m already burning out just for essentials. All of this wheel spinning trying to keep my head above water activity means my daughter is no longer the sweet girl I know she can be. Our relationship is at a crisis point. I want to be a fun mummy again. I want to repair it. I don’t want her telling me I don’t love her when I correct her gently for dangerous or unwelcome behaviour (like me asking her not to pus her brother in the pool). But where do you find the moment to be the fun mum? How do you put aside the deadline that pays the bills for play time? It’s like a long dark tunnel with no exit and no other option but to keep going forward for a glimpse of light.
    Today, I took 5 mins between essays to have a tickle/kissey/wrestle fight with the kids. It helped. It wasn’t enough – it is never enough when they have leaky buckets – but it is a step. I am leaving this comment to show that it is not always easy to be the fun mum. That sometimes being frantic is the only way you can survive in that moment. But small steps can help.

  6. Charlotte Says Reply

    I figure you can’t have a neat tidy perfect house when you have kids….so relax play and have fun. Stuff the cleaning and keeping a house neat. All the people who enter your house should understand that play is more important than having a magazine cover house.

  7. Stephanie Says Reply

    This is a great article and I wish I could be the fun mum that my little girl deserves. I waited so long to have her and she is such a wanted child, but I to am now a single mum really struggling just to get by. My little girl has been surrounded by tension her whole little life, it’s improved since separation but I know things could be better for her. I try and take a few minutes each day to hug her and play with her, I tell her every day how much I love her, I hope that one day soon I will be able to relax and be her fun mum, it’s my greatest wish.

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