I have never been a "laid back" mom, and I really set it up that way. It's probably the fact that while I was pregnant with Naomi I devoured Baby Wise like a fiend and had a very strict and serious plan in mind to implement once she entered the world- I came into this whole mothering thing with my game face on, and it's pretty much been there ever since. I knew how I wanted my newborn to sleep, I knew how I wanted to approach discipline and I wanted my kids to take me seriously, not walk all over me. These are not necessarily bad things in and of themselves, but I think they are backfiring a bit on me a bit now, 4 kids into the game.
I can relax and be laid back with friends and family, and I am all sorts of silly with Mike- I even make him laugh occasionally, but when it comes to me with my kids, I very much doubt that "goofy", "silly" and "funny" would be words they use to describe me. I have made it a habit to be pretty serious with them, and while they make me laugh lots of the time, I am rarely the one making them laugh. One of the girls remarked recently that "daddy was the funny one, not mommy", and they are so right when it comes to mother-Ana. So why am I bringing this up now? Isn't this how I wanted it to be? Don't I feel confident in my identity with my children? Not really, not any more. I am feeling the need for a change.
Don't get me wrong, I think I am a good mom. I work hard for my kids, I am affectionate with them and take pretty damn good care of them, I even smile sometimes! But you will never have to worry about knocking on my front door and catching me mid-tickle-tackle with the kids, because it rarely happens. I am just too tired and there are too many other things to do, right? Well, those are my typical excuses, but I am coming to realize that it takes a surprisingly small amount of effort to tickle a child, they really just want you to sit in one spot and they'll keep coming back for more- it's great! And I made a grand discovery recently that little girls love to play with hair, which is simultaneously incredibly relaxing for me and super fun for them. The results are also stunning:
Being a fun mom is not a feat I have accomplished, it is one I really want to work on and one that I have seen fruit come from when I have actually succeeded in some small way. Tackling Lucy and tickling her until she gets the hiccups has brightened both of ours days at least a few times as of late. The other night I shocked the girls with silly faces and they belly laughed even harder than they would have if Mike were doing it, because Mom is actually being funny (!!) they didn't know what to do.
Obviously there needs to be a balance, but I am not worried about not being able to be serious enough, I've really shown my strengths in that area. The fun mom department is a side of mothering I want to cultivate and work on, for the general good of all of us. When my kids are grown and remembering how I was with them when they
were little, I would love it if an image of me making funny faces came
to their minds, or thoughts of me tackling them and tickling them until
they pee a little (gross, sorry). I'd rather them remember me with seventeen bows in my hair smiling instead of something akin to this:
They deserve that, and I do too, because there is way too much to enjoy about motherhood, and I want to make sure that all of us actually do.