Are we having fun yet?

On Friday we drove up north about an hour to check out the "tulip festival". There are a bunch of farms in the valley that raise tulips and daffodils and during April they have extra activities and things to entice people to come up and see the flowers. We've had a late spring so only about half the tulips were blooming, but the daffodils sure were pretty as you can tell from this picture. We first took the kids to a little "petting farm", where they had some animals in an old barn for the kids to see. Little Dude loved the chickens and the calves. S-Boogie, in her usual style, ran through the entire barn in about five minutes and was ready to go. After the farm we went to "tulip town", ate a picnic lunch, and then drove the long way home down Whidbey Island so we could ride the ferry and see more of this state we're about to move away from. The kids fell asleep for most of the ride home, and I nearly did too. Thankfully Cheetos are a good way to stay awake while driving in the middle of the afternoon.

After we got home that evening I realized something about the day: I think I don't know how to have fun any more. I really don't. We often take the kids places because it's good to get out and experience life, but I don't think I usually have fun on these excursions. I've been trying to figure out why it is that I rarely let go and enjoy myself anymore like I used to.

First of all, having kids and being a parent has made me feel very anxious. All the time. I'm really trying to overcome this because I'm tired of feeling stressed out about everything. Mr. Fob's brother and his wife recently had a baby and are always posting pictures of their hiking adventures with her. Just looking at those pictures makes me break out in a sweat, because I spent the first few months of each baby's life paralyzed with stress. I could barely manage taking the baby out of the house, let alone on a hike. What if they get hungry? Or tired? Or they cry? Or what if they poop? I don't know why I can't just relax, but I really stress about my kids and making sure they're doing all right and having fun.

I also realized that I tend to think that if I'm working hard I'm not having fun. Taking kids anywhere is a big fat hassle. Getting them in and out of the car; redirecting them away from mud puddles and electric fences and surly older people; answering the forty-million questions that S-Boogie asks all the time; it never ends. I'm not big on hassles--I'd much rather sit around my house reading a book than do anything else. Mr. Fob is the same way. Unfortunately having kids is not for wimps and I think I just need to accept the fact that if we do anything with our kids it's going to involve a fair amount of work.

I'm not sure if this post really has a point. I'm just trying to figure out why I'm a big walking ball of stressed-out surliness all the time, because I'm tired of feeling this way. Do other parents feel this way? How can I relax and just enjoy spending time with my kids instead of always feeling put out that I have to do stuff?

Comments

Tina said…
I can identify with you! Especially the older they get because the issues tend to intensify. If anyone has the answer I'd like to hear it.

I liked Elder Ballards talk this past conference. He mentioned that joy comes in "fleeting moments" for young moms. It is really easy to get to discouraged when sometimes the majority of the day can be stressful or negative. Since hearing his talk I am trying to be more aware of those fleeting moments of joy. It has helped me to have a more positive view of my life and role as a mom.
Gina said…
Wow, I really relate. I think I take my kids on more outings than the average mom and awhile ago I realized this and wondered why, especially since I rarely really have fun or enjoy myself on them. I was a little sad to realize it's mostly to wear them out and occupy them so they don't drive me crazy at home. It just takes work to take care of kids, whether you're going places or staying at home.

Nephi seems to have a gift for not stressing about going places with them. While it seems to take me an hour of concerted effort to get out the door with them and all the proper gear and snacks, I've seen him leave within three minutes, *without even a diaper* to go somewhere with them. Seriously living on the edge. But sometimes I think the rare occasion he'll get burned by his happy-go-luckiness is worth the freedom of all the other times he just waltzes out the door.

Anyway, I've also been thinking about Elder Ballard's talk. It is liberating in a way to think we're not supposed to enjoy it all the time, or even necessarily most of the time. We can just seek for and accept the moments where we really are feeling joy. I think this is probably not the same thing as "having fun". Sadly. Because I would really like to have more fun too.
Julie said…
From experience I can say taking 2 kids places is nice compared to taking 4, so enjoy that. =) But taking kids places is really hard, and takes a lot of effort, and I just usually have the attitude of I'm doing it more for them to have fun than me.

One thing that helps a lot though, go places with other people! For instance, me by myself at the children's museum with the four kids, not very fun. Me at the zoo with 3 other moms and their kids, much better. I have people to help keep me happy and the kids are better occupied and much less whiney, etc. Going camping with friends is more fun than going camping as a family by ourselves, etc. It still takes work, but it makes it more enjoyable for everyone.
Desmama said…
I totally relate to what you're saying, and I find myself feeling the same way a lot of the time. I think it's because I feel like if a crisis erupts while we're out (like a diaper, or they get hungry, or they need a bandaid) and I can't solve it, it's my fault and then everyone has a bad time. But that's silly. Accidents happen, and I do the best I can to prevent them and/or treat them, but I can't foresee everything. I think, as with most things in life, I can either analyze it to death or I can just keep practicing whatever it is I don't do well and hope I start doing it better with time. And that includes practicing enjoying excursions with the kids.
Em said…
I LOVE the picture! I'm jealous.

With me and outings, I just have to make sure that I know they're coming. And we're not willing to give up some of the things we enjoy, so BeeBoo comes too. I guess that part of our enjoyment of outings is just that it's the only option...either we go with her, or we don't go.

But doing things more often makes them more manageable...practice, and habit, I think.
rantipoler said…
I have no idea, since I'm not a parent, but as an outsider I have to say it seems to me like you're doing a great job. And that's a great photo!
Susan M said…
Generally, if I don't like my feelings or attitude about something, I'll pray that it'll change, and it does.

I took my kids anywhere and everywhere when they were small. I stressed about things like them getting hurt but never about stuff like diapers or them getting hungry or crying or whatever. They're kids, that's what they do---the eat, cry, and poop. Not necessarily in that order.
Kristeee said…
I understand the stress out about taking them places when they're small thing - I was so afraid of taking my baby to my grandma's because I knew I'd have to feed her once I got there, and I didn't want to offend my grandma. We're looking at a stay overnight at a family reunion and thinking, "oh, no. That sounds like a lot of work."

Being as that I'm still quarantined and don't have much experience with the taking kids out and having fun part of mothering, my only advice would be to find some way to work more naps into your week. I'm a happier person when I do.

One thing that I'm trying to do, too, is what Pres. Eyring said at the October conference - write down the specific ways our family has been blessed at the end of each day. I think that, since February (when I started), I've done it 4 times. But hey, it's a start. And I think that if I get into the habit, I'll start looking for the blessings during the day, too, and enjoying them more.
Lindsay said…
Something that has always helped me is to prep myself beforehand. This gives me time to imagine any horrific crises that might erupt so that I have time to get ready for them, just in case. So I pack and prepare early, but at the same time I try to pack light for outings. Toting around too much stuff to keep track of is akin to toting around an extra child in my book. Less stuff = less stress. Keeping the outings low-key and manageable also helps. Good luck, and here's to many happy, enjoyed outings in your near future.

(Also, I LOVE the tulips! I wanna go to a tulip festival!!)
Like the others, I know exactly what you mean. One day my daughter asked if I would like having a maid. I said, "OH YES! Of course I would. If I had a maid I could paint, take you guys on trips, and play with you guys..."

She seemed shocked and asked, "You mean you would WANT to play with us?"

That is when I realized that all the fatigue, worry, and resposibility have sapped out all my funness. I have been working very hard to get that back, but I haven't come very far. I keep hoping that once the kids are all older I can finally relax and have fun.

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