We all want to be Fun Mommy. Even if just for a day. You know the one. The one whose kids skip off the school bus holding hands and giggling. The one who, once they get home lets the children dive-bomb into their Halloween treats and eat the leftover cinnamon rolls even though she made a fresh batch of chocolate chip cookies, still warm.
Fun Mommy’s kids, grateful souls that they are, will then sit quietly and do their homework while she leisurely prepares dinner, all the while chattering away about their days. Later, as they gently come down off their sugar high, Fun Mommy will calmly read with them before they quietly get ready for bed.
Oh, what’s that? The kids want one of those chocolate chip cookies before bed? Of course! But only if they brush their teeth extra super duper well! And they’ll laugh and laugh. And no one will argue or spill crumbs and Fun Mommy will shower the kids with hugs and kisses before lights out at 8pm sharp.
Because AS IF! Ha! Fun Mommy, my MILF ass.
Let me tell you about this Fun Mommy. After this Fun Mommy sprints to the bus stop eager to see her brood, she is greeted by four grumpy children who start complaining before their feet hit the pavement about how hot/cold/wet/dry they are; that their backpacks are too heavy and “can’t you carry them?”; that their bus driver clearly hates kids; that gym class sucked; that they’re hungry/thirsty/tired and what’s for dinner?
Barely two steps inside the door and two kids are already fighting over who got to pick up the mail. This Fun Mommy, in an attempt to break up the brawl, trips over the shoes strewn across the front entrance (a mound that seems to multiply like ants at a picnic at precisely 4:03pm) and lands in the pile of backpacks which are, conveniently, sitting in the middle of the floor, ironically breaking her fall.
As Fun Mommy limps to the kitchen, the aggravation which had been brewing beneath the surface is now threatening to spill over into white hot rage as she steps on a rogue chocolate chip which apparently no one noticed jump out of the granola bar wrapper. Because Gawd forbid you should sit at the table to eat your snack! Suddenly, she’s not feeling so much like Fun Mommy anymore!
In fact, this Fun Mommy? is now curled up in a fetal position, rocking in the corner. And it’s not even dinner time.
So how do you quell the urge to snap like a twig, sending the rest of the day into a downward spiral? No, really. I’m asking. Because I get it. I get that this window of time between after-school and dinnertime is fragile — kids are tired after a long day of exercising their brains, they’re crabby and hungry. But I feel like there has to be a secret to making the transition from school to home a little more FUN and a little less FML or else I’m going to go CRAY CRAY.
In the event you thought you’d find a Top 5 List of Things To Do To Make Every Afternoon a Perfect One, let me just catch you up. So over here on the one side we’ve got KIDS. And over here on the other side we’ve got LIFE. Let’s just say when those two things collide, fantasy veers sharply — and without warning– into reality.
And that’s the clincher right there. Reality. My kids are funny, talented, bright and I enjoy hanging out with them tremendously. I love them madly but they can be maddeningly frustrating. And while this Fun Mommy enjoys poking fun at the not-so-glam side of parenting, days like these can be disheartening. Writing about it helps me cope after the fact; but in the moment I’m hardly the measure of calm.
I’m pretty sure I’m not alone in this. If it’s any consolation, I don’t actually know any of those Fun Mommies personally and I like it that way. I actually find comfort in knowing we all have our share of chaos and petty annoyances. It’s these things that make us human and, quite frankly, normal. I also know we are raising great kids. Your Facebook and Instagram posts tell me so.
So the next time you or I feel like raging lunatics, when our kids are pushing one-too-many buttons, let’s try to remember that, on the whole, we are doing a bangup job. We are the Fun Mommies, dammit!