A famous line in Mean Girls, recently hit home while dropping my boys off to school, I had the music up so loud and I was singing a very inappropriate ‘Boys II Men’ song when my son Matteo gave me the biggest kiss and hug and said “It’s so good to see you happy again Mummy.” I’m not going to lie but I nearly burst into tears thinking that my kids are assuming that I’m not always happy. Truth be told, some days I do feel a little off and since COVID with the lack of travel and the forever changing lifestyle we are living… I have truly forgotten how to be present and connect with my kids through having fun.
I don’t know where fun and carefree Leanne went. Parenthood is somewhat crazy and equally amazing. All the intentions and the visions I had of what type of Mum I wanted to be sort of fizzled when trying to juggle work, life and family.
Being one of five children, I have always thought my Mum was great, but also a bit of a ‘drag’. All I saw her do was work, take us to school, cook, clean, take us to after school sports – she was great but also pretty boring in my eyes. Once upon a time, I only viewed my Mum as someone who was always doing, but not really living. Little did I realize that everything my parents did or were doing for us, while a bit chaotic and didn’t really look like much fun, was for mine and my siblings benefit and in essence subconsciously developed the values I have today.
Since becoming a parent myself, I have an understanding and a profound appreciation for my parents, especially for my Mum who was predominantly our caretaker and the person who had to raise five very strong-willed children while my Dad was working seven days a week. I always thought Motherhood was supposed to be fun, challenging at times but primarily the best job in the world. In my opinion Motherhood comes with a mixed bag of emotions, feelings, rules and appreciation – and isn’t anything like what I expected.
As a working parent myself, I need and rely heavily on structure and routine so that there is organisation and stability throughout the days. However, this has not only consumed me, but it has also portrayed an image to my kids to think that I don’t like to have fun or that fun isn’t part of being an adult. I realised recently that I too have become the “drag mum”?
Last year, during lockdown there was no problem putting aside quality time – we played games, finished puzzles and danced to music. When life got busy, it was easy to forget to make time for those we love and cherish. Now, I’m trying to incorporate a bit of fun in every day – I ask the boys to read my husband and I, we each choose a song to play in the morning on our way to school, I’m even teaching them how to slow dance and learn simple lyrics of old school music like, “Sweet Caroline” (which is our favourite at the moment). My hope is that through this they have some fun along the way, while learning to be kind gentleman.
So, I still have to do the un fun things like remind them to do their homework and brush their teeth so I might still be a regular Mum but hopefully with a touch of fun. One day, I want my children to say, “My Mum did the very best she could and was also pretty fun along the way.”
Let us celebrate Mother’s Day this year with a strong appreciation for all the strong women in our lives – mums, aunties and grand mothers and their tireless work they do every day which doesn’t seem fun but keeps all our lives running smoothly.