Inside: Sick of being the “not fun parent”? Use these practical tips to learn how to be a fun mom for your kids and how to enjoy motherhood.
“I’ll never be a fun mom,” I tell myself as I try to suppress the irritation growing on my body like a big, ugly barnacle.
Cleaning up the Tupperware food storage containers and dishcloths that had gotten pulled out of the cupboards and spread on the floor for the millionth time today left my grumbling and complaining.
The frustration I felt was followed by a tsunami of mom guilt.
- Why can’t I enjoy being a mom instead of constantly feeling stressed out?
- Is every child literally a walking tornado, or is that just mine?
- I’m never cleaning up again. We’ll just live in a pigsty.
Why I’ll Never be the Fun Mom
“I’ll never be a fun mom” bounced around my mind so often that somewhere along the line I started believing it.
I convinced myself I could never be a fun mom because:
- I’m too tightly wound
- I get too stressed out
- My patience is that of a toddler waiting for a candy bar
The thought of leaving dirty dishes in the sink just a little bit longer killed me.
I couldn’t possibly raise my family in a pigsty.
And leaving the kitchen floors unswept for one more day? Not happening.
Eventually, I realized that my mindset is what was hindering me from letting loose and learning how to be a fun mom.
Because I refused to leave the dirty dishes in the sink or the floors unswept, I was putting greater importance to my to-do list than I was to my child.
I was so tightly wound because I thought that in order to be a good mom, I needed to get everything checked off of my to-do list.
If only I could keep up with my daily to-dos, then certainly I’d be a better mom and feel less stressed.
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But Here’s The Problem
The problem with the mindset of “the more you do, the better you will be” is that I was telling myself that to be a good mom – and in turn, a happy mom – I needed to do more.
- Do more housework
- Run more errands
- Do more structured activities
…but the more I did, the less fun of a mom I became.
All because the pressure I was putting on myself was telling myself that if only I can do it all every day, I could be a better mom.
But by “doing it all”, I was actually becoming a worse mom and was putting my relationship with my child at the bottom of my priorities.
I needed to fix my mindset, and fast, but the problem is – when you’ve ground the belief that the cleaner your house is and the busier you are, the better of a mom you are, into your mind, it’s not as easy as waking up one morning and saying, “today, I won’t worry about anything except playing with my child”.
It just doesn’t work that way.
I needed to learn how to relax and enjoy motherhood before I could start learning how to be a fun mom.
How Can I Be a Relaxed Mother?
There’s a whole lot more than just letting things slide when it comes to being a relaxed mom.
Here are some small things you can start doing today to learn how to be a relaxed mom and stop stressing so much:
Let It Go
The first thing I started doing in my quest to become a fun and relaxed mom was learn how to let things slide.
But trust me, it didn’t come easy.
I started by choosing one thing every day that would normally wind me up and throw me into an epic mommy-tantrum to let go.
Maybe it was the fact that my son had managed to pull every article of clothing that he could reach from the closet shelves, or that the kitchen counter looked like the clearance bin in Walmart, or that I spent all morning trying to convince a headstrong toddler that putting clothes on was a good idea.
It doesn’t matter what it is – all that matters is that you start letting one thing slide each day.
When you start to feel yourself get worked up, tell yourself, “not today. I’ll deal with it tomorrow – or later if I have time.”
Stop Worrying So Much
Stop stressing about the little things. Didn’t get your whole to-do list checked off?
That’s okay – you were busy soothing a fussy baby.
Didn’t get a chance to clean the bathrooms like you were going to?
That’s okay – you were too busy playing Legos with your toddler to notice.
Didn’t get everything done today that you thought you needed to get done to be a productive person?
That’s okay – you were too busy being a good mom.
One of the most challenging changes I made as a mother was becoming a slow mom.
This article by Kara Stevens was one of the most life-changing articles I’ve read.
Its simplicity challenged me to really slow down and cherish these moments.
In the article, Kara says,
“here I am constantly complaining about how fast time is flying by while at the same time I complain about how long it takes them to put down a “really pretty” dried up leaf they found outside.”
You’re Learning, So Are They
There’s no manual or guide for motherhood. You’re thrown into it not knowing what to expect and each new thing you encounter is a learning curve.
The same is true for your child. They’re learning how the world works. They’re learning how to act and react.
And they’re learning by watching you.
Take motherhood one day at a time – when you lose your temper and yell at your rowdy kids for the third time today, remember that you’re learning. You’re not a failure, and you’ll try better next time.
As with your child. Remember when they act out, they’re learning. Maybe they’re scared, uncertain, or don’t know how to react.
Maybe they’re overstimulated and need to go somewhere quiet to settle down.
Focus On The Positive
Psychology Today states:
“thinking positive, happy, hopeful, optimistic, joyful thoughts decrease cortisol and produce serotonin, which creates a sense of well-being. This helps your brain function at peak capacity.”
Focusing on the positive, rather than dwelling in negative thoughts, will help you be content and more joyful with the things you do.
Learning how to be a relaxed mother is the first step in becoming a fun mom.
Below you’ll find 29 more things you can do every day to be a fun mom for your kids (to put a smile on your face and help you really enjoy motherhood).
Before we get to the master list of fun activities to do with your kids to help you be a fun mom, first we need to learn the qualities of a good mother, because being a fun mom is so much more than filling your day with fun activities for your kids.
Being a fun mom comes from the heart.
What Are The Qualities of a Good Mother?
What defines a good – a happy – mom?
Why do some moms radiate joy even when their children are running around like wild dogs? How can she stay so calm?
It all stems from a good heart.
Here’s how to get the qualities of a good mother so you, too, can keep your calm next time your child makes you want to lose your temper:
She’s a Teacher
As a mother, your kids are watching your every move.
And what’s even scarier than them watching everything you say and do?
They’re learning from it.
The things they learn from you now are the things they will carry with them into their adult life.
Remember that as a mother, you’re not just teaching your children how to do their schoolwork when you assist them with their homework, you’re teaching them every moment of every day.
You’re teaching them how to act, react, talk, and treat people.
She’s a Good Listener
Being a good listener and actually listening when your child is trying to tell you something is a vital part of being a good mother.
It doesn’t feel nice when you try to talk to someone and they’re only half-heartedly listening (and you can tell they’re not really paying attention to you – even if they insist they are).
Your kids don’t like it, either, and they can tell when you’re distracted with other things – even if it’s as subtle as checking your phone while they’re trying to talk to you.
Be a Role Model
Be someone you would be proud for your children to turn into when they grow up.
Kids hear, see, and repeat.
If you handle stress poorly, chances are your child is going to grow up to handle stressful situations poorly.
However, if you show your child by example how to manage stressful situations calmly, they will forever carry that with them.
Overflow With Patience
Not yelling at my kids? Sure, that’s not so hard.
Letting them play outside in their bare feet and drag dirt through the whole house? I can be okay with that.
But patience? That’s a whole other playing field.
Patience is something I’ve always struggled with, and becoming a mom only accelerated my patience-problem.
Every day, I need to remind myself that just like I am, my child is learning.
Everything is new.
Remembering that helps me extend an extra dose of patience while I clean the spilled cheerios off the floor for the hundredth time.
By showing patience to your kids, you will be equipping them to extend patience to their peers in their older years.
A good mother doesn’t dwell on the negative, and she seeks out the positive in every situation.
She Controls Stress
Even when her child is throwing an epic tantrum in the dairy aisle… she still holds it together and handles the situation with grace.
She may be dwindling away on the inside – but she holds it together and doesn’t give in to the temptation to lose her mind and yell.
Gratitude is Her Attitude
A good mom expresses gratitude – towards her spouse, her friends, her kids.
She’s grateful for what she has and works hard not to take her life for granted.
Every day, she finds something to be grateful for.
She Enjoys Life
No matter what season of life she’s in – sleepless nights and 104 diaper changes a day, or toddler tantrums and skinned knees – she learns how to enjoy the season she is in.
A wise mom knows that time goes by fast, so she doesn’t waste any of it wishing for the end of this season, instead, she makes it her goal to be grateful and thankful for the family she has been blessed with and prays for an extra dose of patience for the hard days.
She is a Disciplinary
She knows that by disciplining her children, she is equipping strong, independent, respectful adults.
Her Feelings Don’t Label Her
Instead, she labels her feelings.
Rather than saying, “I’m so angry!” she says, “I feel angry right now”.
When you label your feelings, you rob the feeling – the emotion – of its power over the way you act. Instead of the feeling controlling your actions and words, you control it.
You may feel angry, but anger is not who you are.
Now that you know the pieces of the puzzle that build up the qualities of a good mom, let’s dive into how to be a fun mom.
How to Be a Fun Mom
Ready to go from grumpy-mom-on-the-block to fun mom in 5 minutes or less?
Want to know how to have more fun with your kids and be the mom you want to be?
Dive into these fun activities to do with your kids to get started today:
Make a Mess
1. Make homemade (and edible!) slime. Learn how to make some here.
2. Blow bubbles (here’s how to make homemade giant bubbles.)
3. Make edible Play-Doh. (Or grab Play-Doh here.)
4. Paint each other’s faces with these washable paints.
5. Use bath paints to draw pictures on the tub walls at bathtime.
6. Bake together and let your child help out as much as possible. (The end product may not be edible but it’s the memories that count.)
7. Have a water balloon fight. (For extra fun, add a few drops of food coloring into the water balloons, put on plain white T-shirts and some ratty old pants, then go outside and see how colorful you can get each other’s T-shirts.)
8. Draw with sidewalk chalk.
9. Have a drawing contest.
10. Color together. (Here’s a coloring book that mom won’t get bored of.)
11. Paint a masterpiece together. (Be sure to put on some old clothes first.)
12. Make friendship bracelets.
13. Draw on the windows with dry-erase markers.
14. Finger paint.
15. Do pranks together. (Surprise other family members with some family-friendly pranks.)
16. Build a fort in the living room.
17. Grab a massive cardboard box and ask them what they’d like to do with it. (Turn it into a slide, cut out some windows and make it a house, etc. You can grab a big cardboard box here.)
18. Start an indoor herb garden together.
19. Create an at-home treasure hunt using items from the house and backyard.
20. Make a meal for a neighbor together.
Just Have Fun
21. Family slumber party under the stars. (Drag a mattress onto the deck and camp out for the night.)
22. Balloon toss. (Throw the balloon back and forth. Don’t let it touch the ground.)
23. Pillow walk. (Grab all the pillows in the house and line them up, tell them they can’t touch the ground.)
24. Read to each other.
25. Play a board game together. (Like The Ladybug Game.)
26. Have a dance party. (This one is my niece’s personal favorite.)
27. Bury a treasure. (Place a coloring, a toy, or something else in a box. Bury it to dig up in the future.)
28. Have a picnic on the living room floor, deck, or backyard.
29. Fly a kite.
2 Things Fun Moms Don’t Do
Fun moms do a lot of stuff. But if you’re wondering how to be a fun mom, here are a few things they don’t do.
(Keep in mind, even the most fun mom in the world isn’t perfect.
She still slips up from time to time – but these are two things she critically tries to avoid doing.)
- Fun moms don’t put housework above their family.
Yes, housework must get done. It’s just not an option to leave your house uncleaned for 4 weeks straight.
But, if it comes down to scrubbing the dishes for 20 minutes after supper before your kid’s bedtime or spending that 20 minutes reading to and playing with your children, always choose your family.
After the kids are in bed, enlist your hubby to help with the dishes, you’ll be able to whip the kitchen into shape in less than 20 minutes.
Or – if your kids are old enough, have them help you with the dishes right after dinner, then once the dishes are done, everyone gets to play.
- Fun moms don’t spend their day complaining
When you’re negative – and when you complain – you release cortisol, the stress hormone.
An article by Travis Bradberry states,
“Repeated complaining rewires your brain to make future complaining more likely. Over time, you find it’s easier to be negative than to be positive, regardless of what’s happening around you.”
So, the more you complain, the more likely you are to complain.
And every time you complain, your body releases cortisol, which makes you stressed.
(If you’ve ever wondered why it feels like you’re becoming a more and more negative person, and negativity engulfs more of your language than positivity? Now you know – it’s addicting.)
How to be a Fun Mom… Your Turn
Did you struggle with being a grumpy mom? What helped you change your attitude and become the fun mom you desired to be?
Share your tips in a comment below to give other struggling moms a hand!