On Mother’s Day this year, my six year old son woke up early and quietly tip-toed into the kitchen. He took a box of waffles out of the freezer and carefully toasted each one. Then, he pulled a chair up next to the fridge and got out the syrup, and poured big glug of it onto the hot waffles. He set out my favorite coffee mug and filled a glass with water. He even got the card my in-laws gave me for Mother’s Day and set it next to the whole thing. Then he came to me in bed and said, “Happy Mother’s Day!” at the top of his lungs. It was pretty darn adorable, and I’m glad I was still wearing ear plugs.
I walked toward our breakfast bar feeling kind of like a star parent to have such an amazing kid! In fact, I was grinning like crazy as I looked at my syrup drenched waffles thinking how Insta-worthy this whole set-up was. Right about then, my little three year old screamed: “I HATE you and I HATE Mother’s Day!” before promptly putting his thumb in his mouth and glaring at me. He was having what we call a “spicy” day. On this particular morning he was 5 stars. I think he was just upset he wasn’t a part of the special breakfast.
I’ve mostly learned to read their moods, and not take them too personally. Still, another part of me wonders if what he said was true. Does he hate me, just a little bit? Do my kids have what they need? Am I giving them enough quality time and attention?
Like many moms I talk to, I question myself all the time. I sometimes look at my phone too much, or spend too much time tidying up. I’ll find myself suddenly pulling weeds when I really meant to be playing baseball with my boys!
As the parent who is most often home with the kids, it’s easy to fall into a routine of care-giving and away from quality time. It’s easy to feel like I’m always saying “No,” or “In a minute,” rather than saying “Yes.” Sometimes I say “No” before I even fully hear what my kids want!
So, earlier this year, I decided to pick one day a week where I would do something special with them, one day where I would just say yes. And this, my friends, is Mama Fun Day!
Here are the rules:
- We do Mama Fun Day on the same day every week. For us, this is Wednesday because it’s early release from school, which gives us extra time.
- Together, we come up with something we all want to do. Not as hard as it would seem! See below.
- Say yes! Mama Fun Day is about saying yes to cake batter flavored frozen yogurt topped with gummy worms and sour patch kids and a giant gummy frog. You can give them kale tomorrow.
The most surprising thing that came from all of this, is that I discovered there’s a lot we all LOVE to do. We love the open swim at the Lynwood Recreation Center where we can session indoor waterslides for an hour and then chill in a giant hot tub just the right temp for all of us. We love getting happy hour sliders and fancy corn dogs at Elliot Bay Brewing and washing it all down with a cold tap Root Beer. We love jumping in the bouncy houses at Arena Sports, and screaming with glee as we fly down the pirate ship slides, which are especially steep. We like pretending to slam dunk, and hurdling inflatable zebras. We like going to new parks—especially now that ice cream trucks are making their rounds. And, speaking of ice cream, we LOVE loading up giant cups of candy and frozen yogurt at Menchie’s and sampling all their flavors. Other times, we just like to stay home and play hair salon, or get new books at the library and read the whole stack in one sitting. But most importantly, we try to take few hours to do something together, to giggle and play and find our “us.”
I still have days when I wonder about my parenting—don’t we all? But Mama fun day means I have another chance to try again.
Happy Mother’s Day,