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Tuesday
Jul272010

Never Postpone Fun

What is it about our kids and fun? They know how to have it free and clear of guilt. They don’t ponder when or how, but jump in 100%. As parents, it can be all too easy to disengage while they are content on their own. Some alone time is important, but there are plenty of opportunities to join them. For me, one of the true joys of parenting has been playing with them and catching (in a good way) their exuberance.

Especially as a working mom, the conflict of finding that comfortable balance between family and work has been an ongoing pursuit. When you’re in the middle of writing a report or drafting an email and your child asks, “Do you want to play a game, Mom?” a first response can often be, “Not now.” Then time moves on and that opportunity for fun disappears. Not that it was always possible, but when asked I tried to respond with, “I’d love to play with you.” I knew how precious our time together was and I didn’t want to miss chances to be silly and bond with our daughters.

Our girls never had difficulty figuring out something fun to do. As kids, they were the fun-makers and still are now that they’re teenagers. There was lots of dress-up. I can remember the hours they spent trying on costumes, making up dances, plays and then inviting us for a show. I remember my mouth aching from smiling so much, just watching them. Often the dance performances would end up in audience participation with all of us dancing around our living room together. Being open to their playing brought out the silliness in us.

Sometimes fun came in a quiet form like when we read and snuggled together. Sometimes it was fun to take a walk, singing or talking along the way. Water always provided a great source of entertainment between bathtubs, pools, rivers and oceans. And sometimes fun was for just a few moments in the form of uncontrollable laughter.

Our girls grew up with two entrepreneurial parents that worked from home. Translated that meant it was possible to be working 24/7. But both my husband and I made it a priority to not postpone fun. We knew that in the big scheme between the dancing, the baking, the laughing and the swimming these moments with our girls were fleeting. Work would always be there, but experiencing the joy of playing with your children would not.

If you really want to surprise your kids, ask them if they’d like to play a game or do something fun with you. Hopefully they’ll say, “I’d love to!”

What fun have you said, “yes” to lately?

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