by Sue LeBreton
Recently, I celebrated a “big” birthday so family and friends extended the celebrations appropriately. I returned home from one outing with girlfriends and proudly displayed my bright, orange, latte mug. Painted across the front is BFF: Brilliant, Fun-Loving Friend. My thirteen-year-old daughter piped up, “Do you really consider yourself fun loving?” Ouch.
Her comment burrowed into my mind, not for its apparent hurtfulness but for its potential truth. I had to ask myself, am I less fun-loving now that I am a mom? Probably. Do my children see me only as the responsible, serious woman who manages their lives and schedules? I am afraid to ask.
It is challenging for busy, exhausted moms to remember, or find the energy, to have fun in addition to planning everyone else’s bliss. Here are some suggestions to inject more fun into your mommy life.
- Give yourself permission to get excited about something, anything and tell someone. It can as simple as that new book you are itching to open. According to Christiane Northrup, M.D., on her CD, The Power of Joy, when we share what makes us feel good and excited, it reinforces the joy connections in our brains.
- Dance. Our bodies are made to move and dancing will lift your mood. Hence the immense popularity of Zumba. If you need motivation or do not want to dance alone, tape The Ellen DeGeneres Show and dance with Ellen during her opening. Or, crank up the tunes and shake things up.
- Get dirty. It is freeing and you will feel like a child again. Remember water or food fights? I love to ride my bike on muddy trails and embrace that shocking, cold, first splash. Now that you are the grown up, no one can complain about the mess you make. The popularity of Tough Mudder events shows many people enjoy getting dirty.
- Laugh until your belly aches. Watching funny movies or sitcoms is an obvious way to exercise your humor muscles. But a visit to a great card shop can also have you chuckling. Buy a few cards to send to friends or keep them as a smile starter.
- Sing loudly and with gusto. If your ability to carry a tune is as poor as mine, use the shower or time alone in the car to belt out tunes that you love. Imagine yourself as the child who sang into her hairbrush with no restraint.
- Bask in baking. I’m talking about cooking for fun, not the rushed, get something on table in time for dinner type of cooking. Think sumptuous and decadent. Tackle it on a day when someone else is charge of meals. Invite your spouse or a friend to join you but only if that would add to your fun.
- Go to a local art gallery and let the color and beauty stimulate and awaken your creative senses.
- Become someone else. Playing dress up never gets old. Invite some moms and daughters over for a princess tea party. Make a trip to the local thrift shop and look for the most outrageous bridesmaid’s dress to wear. Hosting a Murder Mystery Dinner is another opportunity to get into a character and costume.
- Host a games night for grown ups. When choosing games think about games that involve larger groups and force people out of their comfort zones. Guesstures, Catch Phrase and 5 Second Rule are so much fun you may not care who wins.
- Take yourself on an Artist Date, a term coined by author Julia Cameron. The Artist Date is a solo weekly outing anywhere that interests you. Cameron stresses that the outing must be fun. Think a sense of play.
- Watch your children play. What can you learn from them? Join them on a swing and see the world from a new perspective. Why should kids have all the fun?
- Do something that scares you. The adrenaline rush will wake up all your senses. How about zip lining? Rock climbing at a local gym? A scary ride at the amusement park? Feel free to yell as loudly as you must throughout the ride.
Sue LeBreton is a health and wellness journalist, a trained yoga teacher and mom of a tween and a teen. She is a fun-loving mom and has the mug to prove it.