Learning to Have Fun With My Kids

It’s been a long week. Friday afternoon and I’m toast. Drained by the voices of more than 160 students, all I want is a hot bath, a good book, and some soft jazz in the background.

But motherhood interrupted my dreams of blissful bubbles.

The kids wanted to go full-on redneck with the sprinkler in the front yard. Someone had to supervise. The hot sun, a good lawn chair, and soft breezes in the background became my Friday afternoon.

A mom could do worse, I guess. Or at least I thought, until little voices beckoned.

“Mom! Are you going to come play in the sprinklers with us?”

“Come on, mommy!”

I answered with a resounding, “No way. Not a chance. Um, yeah, no.”

As they dodged drops of water, I fiddled in the garage listening to the song of laughter ring from the yard. My mind drifted back to all the times I played in sprinklers during hot summers.

There was even a time my cousin and I may or may not have played in a john boat filled with water under the Florida sun. (I may know a little something about redneck, too…)

I remembered the time as a teenager at summer camp when my girlfriends and I ran in the rain, stomping in puddles, drenched to the bone. Laughing and smiling and creating memories.

Memories of rolling down hills, grass stains blooming on my knees, dirt and weeds filling my hair. And jumping in raked piles of leaves. And riding bikes with playing cards attached to the spokes so the wheels clicked down the street. And digging deep in dirt, hunting precious jewels.

And having fun.

As I hear my children giggle from the splashes of water, I wondered—When last did I have that kind of fun?

I can’t remember. With that, I did what any responsible parent would do. I took my phone out of my pocket.

And then? I joined my children. Clothes and all.

With mascara running down my face and grass sticking to my feet, I laughed and giggled. Exhaustion evaporated as I played and ran and chased and allowed my kids to soak me with the sprinkler and beat me with pool noodles. I had a blast.

More importantly? So did my children.

While cleaning up, Ella kept asking, “Wasn’t that the most fun you’ve ever had, mommy?” Though it may not have been the most fun, it was pretty incredible. She recognized our time running around the yard like hooligans as precious. I did too.

I realized this afternoon I may enjoy time with my children, but seldom do we have crazy fun together like we did today. I have to ask myself why.

Maybe I’m not alone. Maybe as parents we struggle because we have so little time to call our own. Maybe it’s exhaustion. Or busyness. Or stress. Maybe it’s just easier to say no. Maybe it’s a bit of everything.

Whatever it is, I can do better.

I do know this—I regret all the times I say no. I will never regret the moments I say yes. Moments like today.

So this weekend? I’ll be looking for more moments of crazy-fun. And I’ll be breathing in the crazy-joy they bring.


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4 Responses to Learning to Have Fun With My Kids

  1. Jenifer says:

    LOVE this reminder to let loose and have fun with our kids!!

  2. Cheryl says:

    Thanks for this reminder to make more memories for me and my precious children – amidst my exhaustion!

  3. Emily S says:

    I needed to read this today. Thank you!

  4. Zelma Dodd says:

    I remember those days and this post brought joy to my heart.