Monday of this week was a no school day due to Martin Luther King, Jr. Day. There was a happy boy in our home who lounged the morning away playing video games in his fuzzy robe. We probably should’ve marked the great man’s day with something more educational. We did read a bit about him and had a little chat about what he did and what his dream was. Nothing too structured, but still meaningful I think.
So our plan for the day was he got video game time while I worked at my computer (electronic time and guilt and gratefulness is a topic for another post!), then we would go have lunch with dad, followed by an afternoon of doing “stuff” together. Here’s the snag. In his mind stuff is playing non-stop with my undivided attention. In my mind stuff is getting things done while enjoying that we are together.
We began our post-lunch activities with attempting to blow bubbles in the -5 degree sunshine. I’d seen these amazing photos of frozen crystallized bubbles that were spectacular, so my expectations were pretty high. I even got out the good camera, so I was ready. I’m not surewhat we did wrong, but our bubbles were just bubbles. They didn’t freeze, they popped, ya know like regular old bubbles do. The only difference being that you could see little bits of white frozen soap float into the air. Ooh aah. Despite the fact that our fingers were freezing, perhaps it wasn’t cold enough. We tried and we did have a couple good laughs, but he capped the bubble solution and informed me that we were done.
Once we thawed, we moved on to other stuff. I was feeling ambitious, there were emails to still send, closets that could use purging, that Christmas tree still up in his room, vacuuming, etc. He followed me around asking what he should do, my response may included a suggestion to play with the abundance of toys or pack them up for some child who wasn’t as fortunate. That prompted him to select one toy that I could donate and his other toys instantly became precious and worthy of play.
We continued this back and forth for a bit. We chatted while I cleaned and he kept attempting to get my full attention. I resisted, because I wanted to be productive. Then he asked me “Where is the fun mom? I miss the fun mom. I want the fun mom back.” Aah crap. I want to be the fun mom. And despite the fact that I know I can’t be the fun mom all of the time, it still stung a little. I tried to explain that I like having fun too, but have grown up responsibilities. I told him I did the best I could to balance it all. And I do, I really, really try to balance it all.
At the end of the day, the work was mostly complete, the tree was back in the basement, we’d played trains, we’d wrestled, we’d cooked together, we’d chased each other around the living room, and read books. I feel like we played a lot and I’m sure he thinks it should’ve been more, but at bed time he sweetly said he enjoyed our day together – mission accomplished.
Balance is elusive. Fun can be too if we aren’t careful. These frigid days have caused some stir crazy around our house. We had spend far too much time stationary in the living room this past Sunday. The boy and I headed upstairs for a change of scenery. We aren’t necessarily strict at our house, but we discourage jumping and throwing in the house. But there was a lot of boy energy that needed an outlet, so I ran into the master and dove onto the bed. Game on. Next thing you know we are jumping on the bed as if it were a trampoline. He was concerned I may hurt myself on the ceiling fan, but I’m short, so no issues there. We both laughed and jumped until we were out of breath. Then I returned to adulthood, folded laundry and made dinner.
The fun/work balance is a real life teeter totter. I hope you’ll seize chances to be the fun mom or dad or grandparent or spouse. Call the occasional timeout from adulthood and be silly. It is good for all involved.