“Wow, you are such a fun mom! How do you do it? Y’all are always doing something exciting!”
I get told that a lot and take it as the utmost compliment. I do.
But, wanna know the truth?
I’m TIRED…. I feel tired all the time. All. The. Time. I’m stifling a yawn as I write this. I blame being in my eh (early-closer to smack dab in the middle) 40’s with three kids eight and under to wrangle as the reason for my lethargy.
But, you know who doesn’t care about a mama who’s in her (early-closer to smack dab in the middle) 40’s being tired? Three kids who are eight and under. That’s who!
Therefore, when driving the fun bus for a quarter of a dozen kids, I feel like putting that sucker in auto-drive. Good thing I’ve put together a few ways when I’m feeling less than energetic to make me still be (or seem) like the fun mom!
(“But, isn’t this about being a tired mom? How do I dance when I’m so drained?”) I knew you’d say that, but hear me out, mama. You don’t have to necessarily break out the Encanto soundtrack and pretend to like it. Although it is rather catchy, right? But, let’s save not talking about Bruno for another day and put on some of YOUR music. Why do the kids always get to choose the playlist? Some of our best family dance parties have happened when I busted out a few of my fave old-school jams. (Nonexplicit lyrics, of course.) The kids have even liked a few of them and added them to their playlists.
Seriously, we’ve been known to jam out to “Soulja Boy” in the car on the way to school in the mornings. On repeat, thank you very much. Need a place to start? Just throw on the 2022 halftime show! Show em what ya got once the beat drops. And, somehow, you’ll find some renewed energy to get you through the rest of the day. Music has a way of bringing out the best in us.
A Basket of Books
Keep a basket of books on hand for days when you feel sluggish. Yeah, it’s not as exciting as the dance party, but there are ways to make it fun. I will purchase books throughout the year and tuck them away in this magical basket of books, and it’s always a pleasant little surprise for the kids to find something new in the basket. Also, please think twice before throwing away the Scholastic book fliers that they bring home from school. There are some excellent deals there, and it’s a great way to buy books by the bundle at a low price.
Also, when putting together your little basket of books, it doesn’t have to be all one type of book. I also throw in some activity books, Where’s Waldo, Mad Libs, coloring books, and many funny books. Some of my kids’ faves that I can always count on? “Harvey the Heart Had Too Many Farts,” “Freddie the Farting Snowman,” and “Lucky the Farting Leprechaun.” I have found that kids love books about bodily functions. So if reading them, a story called “My Butt is So Noisy” can give me a chance to prop my feet up AND seem like a fun mom, I’m here for it.
A Trip to the Park
I get it. You are draggin’. You don’t want to leave the house. It takes energy to load up those little hoodlums and set off on an outdoor adventure. The energy that you don’t have. Power through it, Woman! Put your hair in a messy bun, throw on a new pair of leggings (you’ve been wearing those for three days), grab your keys, and go. Half the battle is getting out the door.
Once you do get out the door, don’t forget to stop for a latte on the way to the playground. You deserve it. Now get to a park, let the children run free, find the nearest park bench, and park it. Bonus points if you park it next to a fellow mom suffering from kid-caused exhaustion. Caffeine, Vitamin D, and a new friend to bitch with about how tired you are all the time. After all, misery loves company. And, your kids will love you for taking them on an enjoyable little outing. Look at you! You fun mom, you!
A Movie Marathon
We’ve all seen the meme that says, “I used to think that my parents did pizza and a movie on Friday nights to be fun. Now I know that they were just tired.” It’s one of the most favored quotes floating around on social media if you’re a parent. All because it’s just so darn relatable. However, it doesn’t have to be a Friday night to pull out the pizza and a movie card. You can opt to do that any time during the week when you feel worn out.
Pizza means you don’t have to cook. Movies for the rest of the night mean that you can cuddle up on the couch with your favorite little people and maybe even sneak in a little snooze. So call in some Dominos and throw on some Disney+. This is your chance to get some much-needed rest and be the mom who does pizza and movie nights because she’s so much fun! Wink, wink.
Make a Fort
If you are like me, you hear the words “Mommy, let’s make a fort,” and you want to do anything…… but make a fort. “Hey, sweetie- what about your pop-up tent that’s already put together? Let’s get that bad boy out. Easy peasy.” But, if your kids are like my kids, they don’t do easy. So you cringe as you picture your living room floor covered in all the pillows and every blanket you own tied to the dining room chairs and everything just so out of place. It’s enough to give you a mini panic attack.
But, breathe, mama. Let them build the fort. You are just there to supervise. Let them get out all the blankets and even the bedspreads if they want to. Someday they’ll grow up, live in their own little fort with their own little fort builders, and this will all be but a distant memory. Make it a good one. And, if you are genuinely that tired, play the part of the “sleeping bear.” Every fort needs one of those.
Hide and Seek
I will always say yes to playing a game of hide and seek. And, we play it a lot. I mean, my kids are some hiders and some seekers fo’ sho! Who doesn’t want to bend their body into the most uncomfortable position and cram themself into a dark laundry hamper while waiting to be found? If that doesn’t sound like the epitome of fun, we can’t be friends. Ok, I know it sounds pretty brutal.
But, YOU don’t have to cram yourself into a dark laundry hamper and wait to be found. Leave that for the kids. All you have to do is when it’s your turn to hide is to hide under the covers in your king-sized bed and tell those little fun-seekers to count to 5,000. Rest assured, you will get your rest, and they will enjoy some quality time playing their favorite game with their mama. Kinda.
Just Say Yes
This one used to be hard for me. However, I’m getting better at it because I’ve learned that sometimes the odds are actually in my favor when I say yes and am willing to bend the rules a little bit. “Mama, can I have ice cream before dinner?” YES. “Mama, can I stay up an hour past bedtime?” YES. “Mama, can I have extra bubbles in my bath?” YES. “Mama, can I have extra bubbles AND the dog in the bath?”
YES. (Although, I may not say yes to that one again.) I’ve learned that saying yes to the things that aren’t going to put them in danger or make them ill is freeing. Some things aren’t worth putting up a fight for. And, if you are a tired mama – do you have the energy to put up that fight? If it ain’t no big thing, don’t make it such a big thing. I’m not saying to give them a positive affirmation every time they ask for something. You’ve got to set some boundaries and show them who’s boss. I’m just saying that sometimes saying ‘yep’ can be a positive thing for you.
Ex: “Mama, can I watch two whole hours of Bluey?” YES!!!! Because that means two whole hours of rest for you. Or two full hours to do laundry and catch up on emails. You do you, mama. I’m not going to say yes to “Mama, can I get my phone at age 8, play baseball on a busy street or jump off the roof into the pool.” But, I can say yes to “Mama, can we go stroll the aisles at Target?” And, you can bet I always will.
Give Them the iPad
Yeah, yeah, yeah. We all like to act like we don’t let our kids indulge in that horrible, dreadful screen time. But, can we normalize allowing ourselves to admit that we let our kids indulge in (dare I say it) screen time? Sometimes you gotta call in the troops. And, sometimes those troops look like a guy in a blue shirt and orange suspenders who calls himself Blippi. Sometimes those troops look like other kids playing with other toys (why is this so fascinating?) Sometimes those troops look like a 10-year-old who plays with other toys, has his line of toys, and makes far more money than I ever will in this lifetime.
Don’t get me wrong. It’s not all just Kids YouTube. There are millions of educational apps out there too. As long as you monitor what they are viewing and playing and set a time limit, is it all THAT bad? I’m not one to even let my kids have the iPad that often. But, when I’m tired to the point of passing out and my brain needs a break, I will let them have some screen time. And, you, Judgey Judy, are not gonna make me feel bad about it.