Not all fun and games

The 'joys' of parenting aren't always full of fun

Practical Parenting / July 18 2018

There is a lot about parenthood that we are not meant to enjoy. The laundry. The tidying up. The supermarket shopping. The sleepless nights. The endless, endless hours in the car.

And then there are those parts of parenthood that are meant to make our hearts soar with joy. Playing with our children. Taking them to the park. Baking cakes with them on a rainy Saturday afternoon. Spending hours making wonderfully creative sculpture from shoe boxes and bottle tops and old bits of string.

You know, the types of activities that the happy mums are doing with their kids in commercials for laundry detergent and soap-free baby wash.

But what if you don’t like doing those things either? What if you don’t enjoy the most magical and rewarding parts of the job?

It's a kinda magic

Well, do not fear, because I am here to tell you, those things aren’t so magical after all. Oh, taking your kids to the park is great the first few times, because who doesn’t enjoy a baby giggling on a swing? But then the baby becomes a toddler who wants to be pushed twenty gazillion times, and your arms nearly fall off, and your mind starts to atrophy, and that is only a fun activity if you thrive on boredom and pain.

And baking? Oh yes, it’s fun for about two-and-a-half minutes, when you’re poring through recipe books looking at chocolate peanut butter cheesecake. It is far less fun when you are in your kitchen actually making said cheesecake, kneedeep in children and flour, with sugar sprayed all over the floor, and every bowl in your home coated in thick, sticky icing.

As for craft, well, I try to be a good person in this life, because I have seen hell, and it is a pot of glue and three tubes of glitter. And feathers! Craft is a brilliant activity for kids, until they lose interest after seven minutes, leaving you with mess all over your living area that will take three-and-a-half hours to clean.

Finding the fun

I do not enjoy a lot of the traditional ‘fun’ activities with my kids, and I don’t feel guilty about that at all. I still do some of them occasionally, because my kids enjoy them so much, and I extend myself for their benefit. Most of the time, however, I focus on the things we all enjoy. I read to my younger one. I take them scootering while I walk. We play with Lego, which I love, because it’s not at all sticky.

We make up silly songs, and dance around the house together to music. We paint each other’s nails and draw pictures and go swimming and visit the grandparents. And we talk, endlessly, because that to me is the greatest joy of parenting.

And that’s okay. There are lots of ways to have fun.

I just wish I could get my kids to enjoy laundry, tidying and supermarket shopping. Now that would be the perfect scenario.