There are times when I wonder how my children really view me.
I know they love me. I’m essential personnel around here. I’m the one they cry for when they fall and scrape their knees. They scream my name in the middle of the night to rescue them from a nightmare. And they blame me when dinner doesn’t suit their fickle tastes.
But when they want to wrestle on the floor, or get a piggyback ride, or get flipped off the couch onto the hard floor, I’m not the one they call. They always ask for dad.
I’m not the fun parent. But I really want to be.
I want to live in the moment with them and race cars along the dining room wall and throw all the toys out of the toy box just to hear them crash on the floor and delight at the mess. I want to help my three-year-old line up every shoe from the front door to the back of the house and then insert toys into the shoes and pretend they are all standing in line.
Because it looks like fun.
But there’s just SO MUCH TO DO. Let me figure out what to cook for dinner. And oh, let me finish that other load of laundry. I should really take a minute and call my mom. Or my dad. And my grandma, lord bless her most folks don’t have grandparents around anymore.
So I shoo the children away to work on something that needs to be done, fixed, finished, cleaned.
And when I do get a minute, I actually just want to sit and play with my phone and be by myself. You feel me?
Thus, the angst. Because I wanna be fun.
My husband shrugs it off. “We all have different roles,” he says. He reassures me that I’m needed and loved and that the house would totally fall apart and be nasty and everyone would starve without me.
For me, that’s not the point. I want to be fun. And I want my kids to see it and feel it. And love it.
After dinner and right before bed, my husband’s routine is to take the kids to our bedroom and let them jump on the bed and his head. While I clean the kitchen. Sometimes I relish the time alone to think or listen to music or just be alone for a few minutes.
But most times, I want to be right up there with them.
So the other day, I just decided to leave the kitchen as is. I went upstairs and belly-flopped on the bed with my family. The kids screamed and squealed. And I was happy to hear it.
After five minutes, my back started hurting. One of the kids kicked me in my c-section scar. And I had to use the bathroom.
This is why I’m not the fun parent.