It is always at this point in the summer when the sheen of no school begins to wear off (and the sheen of sweat appears all over from the oppressive heat) and suddenly I find three pairs of eyes looking at me—blank and bored. Sure we have summer reading. Sure we have summer jobs (albeit flexible and not very time-consuming) babysitting and dog walking. Sure we have chores like feeding our menagerie of bunnies, birds, cats, ducks and one dog.
But, nevertheless we already hit the beach a few times. And the pool almost everyday. We have cooked in and ate out. And, thanks to quarantine, exhausted everything watch-worthy on Netflix, Hulu and Amazon Prime.
So when I see that look in their eyes—like they might go feral, I know it’s time to activate Fun Mom. Let me tell you about Fun Mom. She:
- Stocks the refrigerator. When there is plenty of food and Le Croix for kids (and maybe rosé wine for Fun Mom), no one has the opportunity to get “hangry” and hurt morale.
- Interviews each child individually to get a list of three things each one wants to do during the summer. These post summer solstice aspirations have to be reasonable (i.e. no foreign travel and now is not the time to buy a horse and take up horseback riding). Fun Mom then looks at the family calendar and plots a date, time and place to do each item on the to-do list.
- Schedules things during the week that have NOTHING to do with the kids. For example, she gets a weekly tennis group together, enrolls in a fun online class, takes up a hobby that’s off-campus (as in away from the house) like a pottery class at a local art studio. Fun Mom knows that in order to actually be Fun Mom, sometimes she needs some f-ing alone time.
- Gets Dad (or partner) in on the gig. Yes dads often pick things that moms are certain will bring imminent doom like zip lines and walking barefoot on old splintering docks, but it’s all good. Fun Mom knows she needs to share the burden of family bonding and merriment.
- Practices self-care by booking a hair appointment or massage and buying an inexpensive go-to summer dress that can transition from pool to cocktail party. A Fun Mom that feels good and thinks she looks good (for having had X-amount of kids), has the potential to become Funner Mom.
- Calls in the troops. Whether it’s grandparents, godparents, still single friends that the kids refer to as Aunt (fill in the blank) or Uncle (fill in the blank), or just a lonely neighbor (preferably not one with too many cats), Fun Mom lets other people get in on the kids’ entertainment.
- Invests in a mindless game. This year it’s Mexican train for this Fun Mom’s family. (Note: Mexican train is more or less a luck game and requires very little brain power in case Fun Mom wants to drink rosé while playing.)
- Doesn’t play the blame game. If something doesn’t go right, such as a child is being fussy or Fun Mom feels fat in her bathing suit, Fun Mom takes a deep breath, smiles and moves on.
To all you other Fun Moms out there, good luck making the summer of 2021 enjoyable. Chances are it’s going to be better than the summer of 2020!
—Becca Edwards, founder of Female IQ