I’m NOT the Fun Parent :(

I give up.
Believe me, I tried.
Turns out, I’m not cut out to be the FUN parent.

Responsible? Helpful? Organised? Tick. Tick. Tick.
I can be cooking dinner while monitoring Caitlyn’s piano playing while calling out to Caleb to finish his milk while paying a bill. Nothing new to most multi-tasking mothers. What my mothering skill set sorely lacks is playful spontaneity. Maybe I hit my funny bone when the Man Upstairs was doling out the ‘make merry’ gene?


You see, I’ve been playing the role of Mummy and Daddy for the past month or so while B has been travelling. This comes with its share of benefits: think no picking up after B’s mismatched socks; watching whatever I want on TV; eating scrambled eggs on toast for dinner…

But the novelty has worn off. Shh! Don’t tell him that. The kids miss their dad and I miss having B around to chat – and argue – with. We miss his silly names for all of us: C1 is Princess Poo Poo; C2 is Pooperhero. We even miss the teasing, tickles and taunting. But most of all, we miss him making us laugh.

Fun comes naturally to B. Every weekend is filled with the three of them immersed in impromptu imaginary games like Lions, Octonauts and Space Pirates. The amazing thing is, he makes any situation seem like fun, working it to his advantage, that too, with minimal effort! For instance, every morning he gets the kids to walk on his back. So he wakes up with a wonderful body massage. What do the kids get for their efforts? “Springboards” and “Sleigh Rides” – don’t even ask me to explain!

He even gets the kids to do his jobs while leading them to believe they’re on an adventure. Check them out cleaning his motorbike below.

If the kids want fun and frolics, dad’s the man! But if they need anything sorted and “solutioned”, they turn to me.

I’ve become the unofficial Mistress of Mundane Tasks. The Cooker of curry and cookies. The Cleaner of toilets and tablemats. The Overseer or homework. The Dropper-Offer and Picker-Upper from school, karate class and parties. The Separator of laundry into whites, brights and darks. The Payer of bills. The Buyer of groceries and gadgets. The Teller of bedtime tales…
Necessary – but b-o-rrrring as batsh!t.

Where’s the fun in that???

The realisation dawned on Saturday evening. I had just packed up after our first ever Garage Sale Trail (that’s another story – er, blogpost). The kids were deflated after a long “there’s-nothing-to-do-but-wait-for-people” day.

“Let’s have a Dance-Off!” I suggested.
“Woo hoo!!!” they whooped.
On came Spotify and I morphed into the house DJ taking requests.

Everything is Awesome,” suggested Caleb (In case you didn’t know, it’s from The Lego Movie).
“Shake it off, shake it off…” crooned Caitlyn, as she grooved to Taylor Swift.
When Meghan Trainor’s All About that Bass came on, I was pulled onto our makeshift dance floor. Maybe I was just tired from the demanding day that was, but man, it was hard to drum up energy and enthusiasm! The honest truth is, I really had to make an effort to get into the groove (no, my kids have no idea who Madonna is).

Meanwhile, my kids did the robot dance, they spun on the floor, they made up funky dance moves, loose-limbed and jubilant. Their cheerfulness was infectious. You know that phrase “Dance like no one is watching”? I did just that. And by the time our playlist came to “Happy”, so was I!!

Just like their Daddy: A little effort. A lot of fun!

So tell me, can I blame my genes for being a party pooper? How do you have fun with your kids (or pets)? When was the last time you danced?

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20 responses to “I’m NOT the Fun Parent :(

  1. Hey Allie, loved your post. So well written! B sounds like a really awesome dad. And that is one heck of a bike as well.

    To your point, here’s my two cents. This is very subjective, so please disregard if it doesn’t make sense to you 🙂 With that disclaimer – I too have been thinking about this quite deeply. And to be honest, my life has become quite sedentary in the last few years, especially after my kid was born. Of course, I know the answer – I should hit the gym more seriously and play more sports – that will improve energy levels.

    But the other side of the coin is – how would you or I have handled this predicament if we were say, physically incapacitated in any way (say, break a leg and have to wear a cast for a few months). Would we have stopped having fun? Would we have started letting a bunch of things slide? Like housework and the routine stuff that you talk about? Would our life have become one unending cycle of drudgery?

    Or would we find other solutions. Perhaps share/rotate the routine chores so it is never a chore for anyone. Or figure out other ways to have fun collectively while still working within the constraints of our hypothetical physical injury.

    I don’t know the answer. Don’t even know if there is a “one size fits all” answer. But I do know that as a parent, our energy levels are limited, our time is limited, stuff needs to get done, and we still need to largely feel good and cheerful about it. Maybe it doesn’t have to be all the time, or even most of the time. But at least some of the time, I would imagine. I only gave the above hypothetical example to force us to think of how we would cope with life if our energy level or physical capability got diminished even from where we are.

    Me – I think I would focus my energy reserves in doing shared activities (besides spreading chores around – especially if one person feels bummed out doing it). Playing sports, building things, and especially building and flying paper airplanes!

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    • Arun, as usual, you are so insightful! Thanks for taking the time and trouble to pen down some interesting thoughts. The one about “what if you broke your leg…?” made me think. Our family needs to do more joint activities as a family – fun for everyone. Would love to see your paper airplanes!

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    • Thanks, Di! You do know that you are one of the kindest, most soft-spoken mums I know, don’t you? Can’t imagine you yelling at I or S. But I get what you mean. I can, however, imagine you getting jiggly on the dance floor. 😉

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    • Hahaha! I thought I would be the strict one too – but I’m a pushover when it comes to my kids. I can imagine you feeding your family all sorts of yummy scrummy treats Lorraine. And then some more!

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  2. OMG! If this isn’t PDA i dont know what is….this is mushier than SRK actually. U r missing ur darling hubbyyyyyyy…..but i do get the part of being the serious (read boring) parent…padhai karo, khana khao, kapde theek se rakho, so jao….try as much as i like i think the roles are pretty set of who does what at home…and yeah having fun has been lost out somewhere…however, once in a way i do crazy with the kids…on sundays, when Bobby is around he puts up old nos and we dance along, all 4 of us and Amigo as well. in fact that CD is called Beautiful Sunday….quite apt to set the mood.

    Liked by 1 person

    • True, true, I did miss him, Vandana. He’s back for a few fleeting days. I try to do a bit of role reversal when it comes to household chores – but it doesn’t last very long! Love the name of that CD – and can imagine Amigo prancing around with the kids. Too cute!

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  3. Hi Alison, nice blog, I can suggest you ask the little ones to help you out sometimes, with the easy manageable tasks, like sort the laundry, dry the clothes, best to teach them when their young : ), they think its fun too…

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    • Point taken, Vanessa! I think I sometimes give up on the kids helping out, thinking it’s just easier to do it myself. Of course, that means they will never learn. Would really love it if you could please, please copy-paste your comment into my blog. Thanks!!

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  4. Oh you aren’t alone! Maya told me years ago that mummies don’t play with their children, they do chores…

    Yesterday we were going to a kids farm for a day out during half-term, and I was sternly outlining all the rules about staying with family, not running off, bla bla bla, boring myself too really… At the end, in the same boring and stern tone I said, ‘and inbetween all those rules, you must make sure you have f..u..n… (said phoenetically as everything is a lesson)… Nobody thought I was f.u.n. at all. The kids farm was at least…

    We are all somewhat the same! 🙂 xx

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  5. Ali…I love your blog… This one is so apt. Story of my life. We mommies have become Multitasking queens . And essentially the serious, no fun parent 😦

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    • I hear you, Shefali! All the boring jobs come to us mummies. Where’s the time for fun? I guess your doggy must be the “baby” of your family now. Does Y help out with all the doggy duties? We want a dog, but I don’t want one more job to do!

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  6. this one is so true… yr not alone… i took erin for a passport snap… and she didn’t smile, so i asked her y… she happily said Daddy makes me smile…

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  7. Hi Al, enjoyed reading this. Just saw this quote and thought of all the moms (me included) who have to do it alone at times “Any Woman can be a mother, but it takes a Bad-Ass mom to be a dad too”.

    But trust me, speaking from experience, even though Anil is the fun parent, when it comes to baring his soul and his inner thoughts and secrets, it is me that he comes to and not Anil. I am sure you will experience this as well. Give it time.

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  8. Great post Al:)
    Got to say B sounds great fun but I know you like a good laugh too.
    I justify being the grumpy cop by thinking we need one responsible adult in the house. I suppose our men have to do that at work so they don’t want to do it at home.
    I think Bella at least has begun to realise that I’m not very responsible , a relief , I can stop pretending 🙂
    G xx

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