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How To Be a Fun Mom (when it doesn’t come naturally)

I have a confession to make:  I’m not a fun mom….BUT I’m getting better at it.  Lately, I’ve been discovering how to be a fun mom, even though it doesn’t come naturally to me.

Afterall, fun is rooted in joy, and we all could use more joy in our lives, right? Further, we all have the capacity for joy and fun….it’s within each of us to discover.

So whether you’re the mom instigating pillow fights and dance parties or the mom simply orchestrating plans for fun behind the scenes, I hope this post helps you discover and embrace whatever type of unique fun YOU bring to the table.  

How to be a fun mom when it doesn’t come naturally

Are you fun? 

Being a fun mom has a lot to do with how you experience fun as a person and I’m not what you would think of as a “fun person” by nature.  I don’t want to give you the impression that I’m never fun or that I cannot be fun, but in general, I struggle with fun.  

Fun just doesn’t come naturally to me.  I’m used to feeling let down by new experiences and they often give me anxiety.  I’m not a “go with the flow” kinda gal.  Nope, I like to know the plan ahead of time. 

This allows me to evaluate whether or not I think something will be fun, but honestly, my mind usually goes first to what could go wrong or the difficulty of the plan, rather than the potential positive outcome that could come from it.  

I wish fun was easier for me.  But hey, it’s never too late to try to change something you don’t like about yourself.

Related:  “This is 40(ish):  A Letter to My Younger Self”

Making the leap to “fun mom”

Having this self-awareness has encouraged me to try to embrace my fun side more often for the sake of my kids. 

We even have a name for the fun version of me, “fun mommy”.  She’s not usually the version they get, but when they do get to spend time with “fun mommy”, I see how happy it makes them.  

I know they’re always going to remember these fun times together and that they’re constantly watching and learning from everything I do.  Thus, I’ve decided it’s imperative that I model how I’d like them to be and it’s of the utmost importance to me that they learn how to have fun and bring joy into their lives as they grow up.

Still, being that I am not naturally a fun person, it makes it that much more difficult to then make the leap to “fun mom”!

Having fun is hard for moms

Even for those of you who actually are “fun” by nature, somehow this changes when you enter motherhood, doesn’t it?  The demands and responsibilities of motherhood tend to stifle our fun sides.

A lot of us moms fall into the trap of being fixated on being productive, and having fun can feel frivolous.  Our to-do lists are endless and there is only so much time in the day.

Who has time for fun once you become a mom?

Furthermore, moms often assume the main caretaker role, while dads get to be the ones who “play” with the kids.  I am married to “fun dad”.  He is the king of fun.  He plans, organizes, creates, and wholeheartedly partakes in fun with our kids.  

Fun definitely comes naturally to my husband and this is a quality that attracted me to him in the first place, but honestly, it’s hard to compete with fun dad!

I’ve had to learn how to embrace my own brand of fun and recognize the ways I also bring fun into our family as well.

If you struggle with how to be a fun mom like I do, read on for some ideas on how I’m able to have fun with my kids.  Maybe something will inspire you…

Related:  “The Real Truth Why Being a Mom is Hard”

How to Be a Fun Mom (discover what’s fun for you!)

The first step in how to be a fun mom is to think about what you are doing when you feel happiest and what brings you joy.  This is the best way to discover what is fun for you.  Then consider how you can bring that joy to your relationship with your kids.

I hope that my ideas below might inspire you, however, it’s important to recognize that everyone is going to view fun differently and thus what is fun for me, may not be fun for you and vice versa.  That is ok!

The point is to discover how to be a fun mom in a way that is true to who you are.  If you don’t like getting down on the floor and playing pretend games, then don’t do it.  

Figure out how you do like to have fun and infuse that into how you bring your own unique fun to your family.

Here are 10 ideas on how to be a fun mom that work for me:

10 Fun Mom Ideas to try with your kids

1.) Travel together

I love traveling.  Before we had kids, my husband and I made it a point to travel as much as we could.  Certainly, it’s not as easy once you have kids, especially babies, but we’ve managed to still prioritize traveling on family vacations.  

Since traveling is something I’ve always enjoyed, I’m able to let loose and have fun with my kids on our family trips and they’ve become little world travelers just like their parents 🙂

Also, family vacations aren’t always extravagant trips either.  Sometimes it’s just a short road trip for a little weekend getaway.

2.) Spend time outdoors

Spending time outdoors in nature is something that grounds me and brings me joy.  I’ve found that it’s also a great way to have fun with my kids.  

My kids have always loved going to the park for the day.  We’ve been known to bring a picnic lunch and spend a good part of the day at a park playing on the playground, walking on the walking trails while the kids scooter or bike, or playing a game of soccer or “Around the World” basketball.

As they’ve gotten older, we’ve expanded our outdoor time to family hikes, bike rides, and day trips to the beach.

3.) Movie night

Watching movies and snuggling up on the couch with my kids is one of my favorite things to do.  During the COVID pandemic, Friday nights became our “pizza/movie night” and the tradition has carried on.

Some of our recent picks have been movies I loved in my childhood like “Mrs. Doubtfire”, “Cheaper By the Dozen”, “The Parent Trap”, and “Back to the Future”.  

Giving my kids a glimpse of who I was as a child and what I liked when I was their age is fun in and of itself!

4.) Family dinners out

I love going out to restaurants and so does my husband.  Thus, for a fun night out with our kids, we do a “family date night” at a local restaurant.  

My kids are a little older, so this works, but we also lived in NYC for many years and therefore my kids learned to behave and enjoy nice restaurants at a pretty young age!  Now, they get just as excited to go out for a nice meal as we do!

5.) Dance party

This is an easy one and a crowd pleaser.  When my kids were younger, I used to put on a fun song and we’d dance around our little apartment together.  They’d giggle and delight in showing off their dance moves, while burning off some pent up energy before dinner and bath/bedtime.

Even now that they’re a little bit older, they still love it when I put on some music and we dance around making fools out of ourselves.  I think they especially love just watching me let loose.  

6.) “Do whatever you want night”

“Do whatever you want night” started on New Years’ Eve 2020.  We were all stuck at home due to the pandemic and so I told the kids that since it was a special night, they could do whatever they wanted and stay up late until the ball dropped.  

They delighted in drinking apple juice out of champagne flutes and eating chocolate chip cookies after 9pm while engaging in way too much screen time.

“Do whatever you want night” is something we still partake in on occasion.  Yes, it usually involves too much screen time and junk food, but it’s fun for them and allows my husband and I some free time too.  

The bonus is that my kids totally think I’m a fun mom for letting them do this.

7.) Competition

I’m not going to lie.  I hate playing pretend and even board games won’t hold my attention for long, but if we infuse a little competition into our play, it definitely helps to up the fun factor for everyone.

We’ve had Jenga competitions that have resulted in the loser having to do 20 push-ups, complete with a little age-appropriate trash talking to keep things exciting.

8.) Get out of the house

I’m not your DIY crafty mom and I loathe long stretches of time at home where I feel the need to entertain my kids.  Furthermore, when we’re at home together, I often feel the need to accomplish something, rather than focus my undivided attention on my children.

Hence, I’ve realized I’m much more able to have fun with my kids when we leave the house. Doing some sort of outing together works much better for my brand of fun as it allows me to be more present with my kids.

It can range from something as simple as going out for ice cream to a more ambitious outing to the zoo or trampoline park.  

And yes, “fun mommy” has been known to jump on the trampolines with her kids, although after birthing 2 children I usually pee myself when jumping so this isn’t always so much fun for “fun mommy”.

9.) Try new things together

Trying new things together is one of the best ways my kids and I have fun together.  My boys are always up for adventure and being that they’re still pretty young, they are trying a lot of things for the first time.

Since I’ve never been the adventurous type, a lot of these activities are new for me too.  Having “fun mommy” take part in these new activities for the first time alongside them adds an extra dose of fun to the experience for my boys.

In the past couple of years, we’ve tried ziplining, ATV’s, water slides, and paddle boarding, among other things.

If you’re not up for adventurous activities like these, trying new things together could be as simple as trying a new food for the first time.

10.) Let stuff go

Sometimes the best way to bring fun to your family is to work behind the scenes.  Set up your kids for fun by planning and preparing them to be able to have fun on their own. 

This also means learning how to let stuff go and allowing them to make their own fun.  Yes, your house may look like a war zone after their nerf gun battle, but they had fun.

Often the simple acknowledgment that you’re “letting stuff go” is fun for your kids.  What kid doesn’t think it’s fun when mom says he’s “allowed” to build a pillow fort in the living room, eat ice cream before dinner, or get dirty digging for worms in the backyard?

What are your ideas for how to be a fun mom?  

Did any of my ideas for how to be a fun mom spark something for you? How do you like to have fun? I’d love to know! 

Comment below and let me know how you bring fun to your family.

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