As the calendar ticked down to the end of the school year, I felt relieved to be done with the school shenanigans — yes, of course. But I also was very, very afraid.
Allow me to be frank if I can for just a moment.
I love my kids and I do love a lot about summer — the carefree days, the always-appropriate excuse to go get ice cream, the flexible bedtimes and (hopeful) sleeping-in that my children will do. But at the same time, I always completely and totally dread summer. Because, the truth is, I am just not a fun mom.
I want to be the fun mom, I really do. I dream about being the spontaneous type of mother, the one whose friends will feel comfortable to call up in a minute and hit the beach with kids in tow or the mom whose house seems to be the one where kids congregate because it’s just that fun, but I just don’t think that’s me.
Maybe it’s the sheer amount of small children I have at the moment (four, aged 10 months to 7 years), but I seem to be living in “survival” mode most days and there are some mornings when I definitely wake up and think, Crap. What the heck are we doing to do all day?
I dread the afternoon slump the most, when it’s blazing hot outside, energy of all seems to be lagging, the kids hit that wall of tired and cranky and yet because I have a napping toddler and baby, we are still tethered at home. Those are the moments when I wrack my brain to summon the willpower to be the “fun” mom, the one who can declare, “Kids, it’s time for an obstacle course,” or “Who wants to run in the sprinkler?”
Except I usually can’t summon that energy. And yet, the older I get and the more kids I seem to add, I also seem to be reaching a strange place in my mothering. Instead of forcing myself to be the “fun” mom, I’m coming to terms with the kind of mother I am — and the kind of mother I am not.
I may not be the type of mother who can happily create a water balloon fight with her kids to keep them entertained, but I am the type of mother who never misses the summer reading program and has kids who genuinely enjoy visiting the library every week.
I may not be the type of mother who takes her kids camping (the horror), but I am the type who will happily pitch a backyard tent. Or tell my husband to, to be more accurate.
I may not be the type of mother who gladly makes homemade popsicles bursting with fresh fruit, but I am the type of mother who creates memories every summer making homemade strawberry jam that will last us through the winter.
So, no. I’m not necessarily a “fun” mom all summer.
But I’m still a pretty darn good mother.
More on motherhood
Ways to be a fun mom today
Fun mommy-and-me activity ideas
Be the fun mom! Surprise your family with a getaway