Tonight, my 7 year old said 3 words to me that really hit hard. “You’re never fun!” He said after I had told him that it was too late to be playing in the garden at gone 7 pm and our neighbours wouldn’t appreciate him shouting. It was time for PJs and he didn’t want to oblige.
I took myself off to the bathroom for a minute to hide and digest what had been said. It’s not the first time I’ve been told that I’m not fun and with my youngest only being 3 I’m sure I will hear it plenty more times before they all fly the nest.
It’s a hard balance with 5 children in the house who all want and need different things, often all at the same time. Usually, I will have one wanting to bake something, one needing help with homework, one wanting me to play, one wanting to be left alone and one who doesn’t know what they want but wants to shout about it anyway. So sometimes, I can’t be fun mum. Sometimes I have to be shouty mum or grumpy mum or lose my sh*t a little bit mum.
But I don’t want to be ‘the un-fun mum’ I desperately want to be ‘fun mum’. The one who makes them smile and giggle and snort on their drinks so that juice comes out of their noses. The kind of mum where every moment is a party. I look at things friends have posted on Facebook, scroll through accounts I follow on Instagram and that pang inside of me wishes I could be like those shiny, happy faces smiling out at me through my phone screen.
Then, I stop. I put down my phone and I take a moment to remind myself that it’s just social media. Of course, it looks like Jenny is always baking cupcakes with her cherubs and Mary’s kids are always perfectly dressed without the telltale smear of snot on the sleeve that my feral bunch always seem display. It’s just one snapshot of their day. One single moment in 24 hours. For all I know, there could be someone hissing threats of an early bedtime in the background of Mary’s picture and maybe Jenny collapses in a heap on the sofa and stuffs her face full of all the kids baking when they’re in bed. It’s not real life.
So I took a breath, unlocked the door and stepped out of the bathroom. I can’t be fun mum all the time, but I need to stop beating myself up about it. It’s time for the bedtime routine.
Because I’m sure that when they’re older they won’t remember the time I made them get their PJs on. Instead, they will remember the bedtime story, the kisses and cuddles snuggled in their duvets and the time I spent an hour looking for the sacred bedtime Goggy that happened to be under his owner’s pillow…although they may also remember the time I made one of the children finish our trip to the park as I didn’t believe they could have broken their elbow 🙈
But that’s a story for another day.