Since we’ve already established that I’m not a particularly fun person, it’s probably safe to say that I’m not what you would call a “fun mom” either. What’s a fun mom? I’m not sure how to describe it, but I know one when I see one, wouldn’t you agree? Here’s what I wonder though. If you’re fun all the time, doing little creative projects, special treats and elaborate outings for your kids every day, won’t they just end up expecting that sort of treatment, and not end up being appreciative of any of it?
There was a great Wall Street Journal article last week (do fun moms read the Wall Street Journal? — probably not) about the “millennials,” the generation hitting the workforce right now. A group of them who were meeting with a consultant/coach about interviewing for jobs were asked, how do you think employers perceive you? The coach told them she was thinking of a specific word, and it started with an ‘e’. Excellent? Energetic? Enthusiastic? No. Entitled. That is what I’m talking about. (If you’re interested in reading the entire article, here’s the link.)
So I’m saving my kids from being future obnoxious adults by setting the bar pretty low. Once in awhile I ask one of the older ones a few questions about how they think life in general is around here, and from what I can discern, I’m not scarring them too badly. Here’s Sam’s recent birthday celebration. I know fun moms have a party every year, but we’ve established ages 4, 7, 9, and 12 as party years (mostly because those were the years I felt like having one for Sam, and we had to be fair). So this year was a “family party” year.
That cake was a winner, by the way. One word: ganache. I bought an ice cream cake at Baskin Robbins one year, and was horrified by how expensive it was and how cute it wasn’t. Now if one of the kids requests an ice cream cake, I make it myself. Also, notice how I never spoil anyone’s fun by making them comb their hair or put a clean shirt on. Besides the cake, we had a few gifts for him, and took the whole family out for a dinner of his choice. Nothing very elaborate or exciting, but not what I would consider deprivation either.
I was particularly grumpy, sluggish, and whiny last week, and therefore even less fun than usual, so I decided that on Friday (my kids get out of school early every Friday) I should take them to do something extra fun. Off we went to Gardner Village to hunt for witches (if you live in Utah and have no idea what that means, let me know),
after which we got everyone a haircut, for obvious reasons, following which we picked out pumpkins for carving this week. Oh, and on Saturday we made cut-out Halloween cookies, complete with homemade frosting and sprinkles, an activity which requires my complete patience (Is it just me, or are cut-out cookies a royal pain?).
Here’s what I think about all of this fun. First of all, because I so seldom provide this level of entertainment for my children, I think I should get some kind of “mom bonus” for a day like that — like a pedicure or something. (Now who’s entitled?) Second, I think we can be doing all the fun things in the world, and I still might not be a really fun mom, with all of the “stop hitting your brother!” and “no more raw dough for you!”
So, as much as I occasionally feel guilty for not having a daily craft time, never making anyone a special birthday banner, and inserting as much time in between trips to Disneyland as possible, I think I’ll just keep being who I am. While we were finishing up the cookies, I had a discussion with Jon about how we should always say ‘thank you’ when someone does something nice for us. He was the one who brought it up. I later heard him say to Mary, “what do we say?” “Thank you,” she replied. And gratitude is the opposite of entitlement.