I’m Not “Fun Mum” – And That’s Ok.

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When I squeeze my bum on to the swing and kick my legs so I soar up high. When I dance around the living room to a My Little Pony song. When I get on my knees, not caring that the ground is wet, and chuck yellow leaves high in the air. 

I watch her face. 

Her eyes light up with laughter but also something else; surprise. “Who is this woman and what have you done with my mum?” I can see her thinking, because while we have fun, it’s quieter and understated. Less exhuberant, maybe. I don’t think she would describe me as “fun mum”. 

It had been decades since I last slid down a slide (were they always that uncomfortable?) and softplay hadn’t been invented when I was a child (I’m going to add a ‘thank goodness’ here, for my own mum’s sake). And while having Freya has helped me regain some of my joy in life, larking about doesn’t come naturally to me now.

Occasionally I do it because the mood takes me or often just to make her smile but I am more likely to be pushing her on the swing, applauding her after she has finished her dance or teaching her the names of different leaves rather than throwing them about.

Recently I started to feel guilty that this wasn’t enough. That I wasn’t enough.

We went on a day trip to a wildlife park, just the two of us, and I couldn’t help but think that she would have had more fun if her dad was with us. The same when we went trampolining (sorry, pelvic floor) and other mums were doing seat drops and backflips (ok, maybe not backflips) and all I did was really small bounces.

When he scrambles up the ladder at softplay. When he hurls her in the air until she squeals in delight or play wrestles her on the ground so that’s she’s almost crying with laughter. When he spins her around so she’s “dizzywizzle”.

I see her face. 

There is no surprise. Because he is “fun dad”.

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When your dad gets stuck at soft play. #awkward

I read a quote on Instagram the other day where someone said: “The best thing about having kids is being able to act like one yourself again.”

Is it? Am I a terrible person for not feeling like this?

Isn’t it enough that I make sure she is clean, well fed, appropriately dressed for the weather? That I teach her how to bake, use scissors, write her name. That I take her to singing groups, creative play and monkey gym. That we visit historic houses, go on boat trips and seek adventure in wide open spaces. That I tend to her throughout the night and still be ready (ish) to get ‘up and at ’em’ at 5am. That I am the one who explains why she shouldn’t hit or about homelessness when she asks why that person has a sleeping bag in the street. That it’s me she runs to when she’s hurt, upset or just wants a hug.

When I think of my own parents, I remember it was my dad who messed about with us when he came home from work (and is the same now with my nephew and Freya). My mum did everything else, including making sure we always had a hot dinner on the table, that our clothes were washed and our house was clean and tidy (as well as looking after my poorly grandad).

I don’t think any less of her because I can’t remember her doing The Birdie Song in our living room or climbing a tree. In fact, now that I am a mum myself, I appreciate her even more (especially when she comes to my house and still cooks me dinner #spoilt). What I was lucky enough to feel from both of them was love, even if it was shown in different ways.

If Freya thinks the same of me when she is older then I will believe its a job well done rather than she has missed out.

So while I take note of the posts that encourage me to “live in the moment” and “act like a kid” and admire the other mums for their bouncing prowess, I’m going to stop beating myself up for not doing it.

She has plenty of fun in her life – so what if I’m not “fun mum”?

What do you think? Are you a “fun mum”? Do you willingly jump in muddy puddles or zipline across a ravine (ok, even I might be tempted by that)?

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24 thoughts on “I’m Not “Fun Mum” – And That’s Ok.

  1. Children are only young for s short time, Tara. Most ofvour lives are spent as an older child and adult. This is a time when you will be fun mum to Freya, going on shopping expedition or chatting about life over a cuppa. I got so over playing ‘shops’ with my daughter I was close to loosing my mind, but those times so quickly pass, even though they don’t seem to. Dad are sure fun but they aren’t always there when daughters need their mums to reassure them when things go wrong. And the scales even up when Freya turns 13 and fun Dad becomes Daggy Dad and an ’embarrassment’ because he isn’t as cool as Justin Timberlake or whoever is cool then. Fun Dad will fade away but Mum will always be needed fun or not!

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    1. Morning! Thanks for your comment, what you’re saying makes a lot of sense. I actually don’t mind shops or dolls, it’s the jumping about more physical stuff that I find a challenge. Maybe it’s more about my personality? She already thinks her dad is a “dagg” (love that word, it’s so Neighbours”. He was messing about with a big fluffy toy in a shop the other day and she said: “daaaaadddd!” Like she was 13, not 3. Hehe.

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  2. Just lost a comment! I think what I was saying was that I’m not sure young, or even older children prioritise fun as a characteristic of their main carer. I think they want is focused attention, consistency, interaction, appreciation for their efforts and attainments. Fun to me implies an element of self absorption that doesn’t always fit with childcare. But then I am a bit of a miserable cow!

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    1. Hah, you’re not, Caz! I think you’re right, too. She’s probably not even bothered, it’s just a feeling I get sometimes. Sorry your other comment was lost, thanks for trying again.

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  3. I think if mums are the main carer even the fun ones feel like the dads get all the fun times. As you said the day is filled with so many things, some of it mundane, that the fun times perhaps aren’t noticed as much, days all merge into one, especially if you are tired.
    In my situation my partner has far limited time with our baby than me. So he spends it mostly having fun. He got the first smile and the first giggle!
    I like to think that if I get enough sleep I will be a fun mum.

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    1. Sleep/energy levels certainly play a part for me. Yes, Mark has limited time with Freya too so I guess he needs to make the most of it. My mum claimed she got Freya’s first smile when she was four weeks (I think it was wind) ๐Ÿ™‚

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  4. With my older kids, I was early 20’s, I was a “fun mum.” After all, I was barely past childhood myself. Now I am the mum who sends you to a room full of toys to entertain yourself for thirty minutes. We do art and work together too, but playing airplane in the living room just isn’t something I enjoy anymore.

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    1. Probably age has something to do with it for me too. Certainly I don’t have as much energy as I once did. I quite like nice quiet games, crafting, playing with dolls etc. just not the running about, whooping ones.

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  5. Tara, I love everything about this post and can really relate to it! I was never the fun mom while my husband was always the fun dad. I made sure our boys did their school work,treated others with kindness and respect, and did all I was supposed to do to raise decent human beings. Yet I never had time to get down and play with them, once in awhile when I threw caution to the wind. I did the best I could and raised wonderful and kind sons. Do I have regrets? Maybe a few…but at the time I had so much to do and I did the best I could. I think my sons love me for me and what I did and they never compared me to their dad, for we are different people.
    It sounds like you are a wonderful mom and that you’re raising Freya right. She will always remember you for all that you did, not what you didn’t do. ๐Ÿ˜‰

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    1. Thank you, it’s a lovely to get the perspective of someone who has been there, done that and come out the other side. Your boys always sound wonderful so I’m sure you have done a fab job on the important stuff. I hope I don’t have any/many regrets either.

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    1. Thank you, I definitely think we have fun with the things we do but I’m not convinced she would think I was a fun person but then as long as one of us is, she has the full set ๐Ÿ™‚

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  6. You’re a fantastic mother. Freya still gets her crazy physical fun time with her dad, so she won’t be missing out on that and has you for support. No one wants to have two fun parents. I read that once, years ago, when I was wondering about how growing up with an asperger mother had affected me. She can’t even get jokes and I sometimes found it hard to interact with her because she was always so literal and serious. But dad was fun dad. If she had been fun mom as well, who would have been my rock? And that’s what she’s always been.
    Perhaps the thing here is being a parent enables us to relive our childhood… If we want and when we feel like it. But it’s not an obligation. Besides, crafting and playing with dolls is another, though quieter way to do so.

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    1. Thank you, it’s wonderful to hear your perspective. I agree, as long as she has all her bases covered, as it sounds like you did, I think I need to stop worrying about it. I would very much like her to think of me as her rock.

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  7. I’m the same. I have occasional bursts of being a “fun mum” but mostly I’m a practical mum. The one who encourages independent play because playing endless games of shopkeepers frazzles my exhausted brain.

    Hubs is definitely a fun dad though. And I am perfectly fine with that. ๐Ÿ˜Š

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    1. I didn’t know I had an issue with it until recently when it just seemed like something was missing from our adventures together but after reading all the comments I realise I am not alone. I love blogging for this very reason.

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  8. Hi Tara, don’t be so harsh on yourself. We should always be who we are and not try to be something or someone we aren’t and I bet Freya wouldn’t have you any other way! And I bet you are more fun than you think.

    My Dad was the one who entertained us and my Mum was the feeder and fusser (still is) and I wouldn’t have them any other way.

    I wouldn’t describe myself as a fun Mum, as splashing in muddy puddles is something I would have done before children (who can resist?) and I do it for my own pleasure. I must admit to having used my children as an excuse for getting in the ball pool when they were little (again for my own enjoyment – they’d be the ones calling me telling me I’d been in there long enough). And I always had to check the slide was safe by sliding down it myself ten times before allowing them on….. My children would probably describe me as pain in the bum Mum or an embarrassing Mum (I’ve just asked my son who is wholeheartedly agreeing)….. I wouldn’t be the Mum doing back flips on the trampoline as that’s not what children do, I’d be bouncing trying to reach the stars or to fly.

    Thank you for linking up with the #MMBC.

    xx

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  9. I can really relate to this, I do find unwelcome thoughts about feeling boring whereas everyone else is ‘fun’ or ‘silly’ and that doesn’t come naturally to me. I try to focus on the fact that I am glad that Boo has that with her daddy and so she isn’t missing out completely on the silliness. I think it’s good that children are surrounded by all different types of personalities, above all I just hope that Boo keeps the confidence she has now!

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    1. Larking about definitely doesn’t feel natural to me, at least not now. I would imagine a big part of the reason why Boo is so confident is because of the way you have brought her up so unless you completely change your parenting style I can’t see that changing.

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