Tuesday, June 12, 2012

Journaling about my journy to find play in the middle of work.

Stressed out Mom Try’s to be Fun!

If you never did you should. These things are fun and fun is good!
~Dr. Seuss

Funny story and good lesson I had to share.

Today I found myself in my “Drill Sergeant Mom” mode….Again!  Even though it is summer, and we are not as busy, I still find that I often make our play activities seem like work. You know how it can be packing and unpacking a car after an activity? All the details of cleaning up and getting everyone ready, on top of the accumulated mess at home and dinner I have to prepare. If I focus on all that, I can quickly find myself in a not so relaxed or fun mode.

We went to the beach today and I think from the moment I got the car packed with all our surf boards and gear, found parking, unloaded and suited everyone up, to the time we got home to clean up the mess from the day (as well as the mess we left at home) I was in intense drill sergeant mode. I was so focused on all the work that I forgot we were playing. I barked orders for the better part of our day. My kids all tried to avoid eye contact with me in fear I may give them another job or chore for them to do.

I just wanted to be fun mom today. I just wanted to smile and laugh and chase my kids in the water. I have been to the beach before, I was aware of the tasks that involve taking four kids surfing. I could of kept it light and fun, but I let stress get the better part of me. And when I “go there”, everyone suffers.

Well after my ranting and raving, I let the kids go in another room to watch a movie so I could tackle my house cleaning. I scrubbed and mopped and dusted and vacuumed, and during the hum of my vacuuming I remembered how cool my kids really are. I remembered how much I like them and how I could have been a lot nicer today. I asked God to help me focus on the play to be found in every day more than the work. Stuff, and not always fun stuff, has to get done. But if I am always in the taskmaster mode my kids won’t have fun with me or find me an enjoyable person to be around. When my kids are grown I don’t want them to remember me as, “ a really responsible moody mom who got crap done!” I want them to remember me as a happy, fun, playful mom who still got crap done!

I have walked long enough and close enough to the kindness of God to not go into "guilt mode" over the days happenings, and I know Christ in me has made a way for me to be fun and playful, even in the middle of stress. So as I kept cleaning, I decided to find some fun spontaneous ways to be playful with my kids. I want to fill up a bunch of water balloons and then hide and peg them with them when they least expect it. I want to be the one that says, "you know, lets have ice cream for dinner, just once!" I began to form a list of FUN in my mind that should keep me busy for the remainder of summer. I decided that I would even do something spontaneous and fun tonight! John recently got me a fancy espresso maker for my Birthday, and I have promised to make the kids steamers with it, so I thought, “tonight I would surprise them with steamer even though it is bedtime.” This is the part of the story that gets funny in a not so funny sort of way:

After the milk was heated and steamed, I divided it into the kid’s four special cups with their initials on them, and then I went to go find flavoring syrup I remembered I got during Christmas. It was a seasonal pumpkin- spice syrup and I thought it would make an, oh-so good flavor of a steamer. I was really feeling like a fun and spontaneous mom at this point.

Well, I guess the pumpkin flavoring syrup was a product that needed refrigerating after opening and I hadn’t realized that when I decided to store it in my pantry, because when I shook and then opened that sucker, it exploded! It literally exploded all over my freshly moped and scrubbed kitchen and all over me. There was thick, orange pumpkin- spice flavoring syrup on the ceiling, walls, floors and even on the inside of my open cupboards covering every single clean plate and cup. There was “pumpkin syrup from hell” all in my hair and all over my jammies! Here I was trying to be fun and spontaneous and it literally blew up in my face!

I wanted to loose it and start using every four-letter word I knew in that kitchen, but I didn’t (well maybe I thought about the words in my head). I knew that this was life, and life can be messy and unplanned. This is what I had just asked God for and I knew he gave me, the ability to get crap done and still be playful. It was my test, an immediate test from what I just asked for, but it was such a gift to be able to get my rag and spray cleaner and tackle that mess without loosing my cool and goal to play.

After about an hour of cleaning up pumpkin goop before it solidified, I reheated and foamed the milk and called the kids to the table. I told them how awesome they were and I wanted to surprise them with the steamers I had promised them months ago. I sat with them and talked about the exciting things they wanted to do this summer as they enjoyed their Honey flavored steamers.

When he marked out the foundations of the earth, I (Wisdom) was with him as someone he could trust.
For me, every day was pure delight.
as I played in his presence all the time,
playing everywhere on his earth,
and delighting to be with humankind.
(Proverbs 8:29-32, Complete Jewish Bible)

I think that no matter what we are doing, no matter how stressful it seems, if we remember to purpose to play and remain in a playful state of mind, we will eventually not be able to make the distinction between work and play. I want to be that kind of mom!

Be playful with your kids mom's. And don't worry about the mess!



  1. Awww, thanks for sharing that!! I just wanna be a fun homeschool mom, too! ~Carla Hays, J.C., KS

  2. Great post... I think many moms can agree they have been in the same place. :) Thanks for sharing.

  3. Yes! Wonderful! What an amazing mom you are! Full of love and joy and fun and spontaneity - I used to love to do things like have waffles with whipped cream and strawberries for dinner! Or go out back and make mud pies or during a long road trip even though it was an hour before dinner stop and get ice cream! You are going to have the best summer ever!