Are You Having Fun?
It’s that time of year again. You pull out the Christmas and holiday decorations. You start planning and coordinating with your family about the holidays. They decide Christmas or Hanukkah should be at your house this year. You make sure that your yard and your house have that holiday sparkle. You start baking and shopping. Your schedule is starting to fill up with all the holiday parties. You put all your kids’ end-of-the-year programs on your calendar. And then you have to make sure your teens are finishing the semester strong and they are prepared for finals. Plus, you have all your end-of-the-year projects due for work. Yep! A very busy time of the year AND we do our best to make it the most wonderful time of the year.
You want the holidays to be special for your family. You are working hard to make this Christmas shiny and magical. You picture your family full of joy and delight when they open their presents under the tree. You imagine your favorite holiday music playing. You picture your family cozy near the fireplace. You believe!
Mom’s try really hard. I mean really hard to make the holidays wonderful for their families.
But here is a very important question for you mom. When you are working so hard to create this delightful and enchanting environment for your family, have you factored yourself into the equation?
Are you making sure you are having fun during this most wonderful time of the year?
What do I mean by fun? Fun is being in the present moment, losing time doing something enjoyable, it’s carefree, and creating a bonding experience with those you love.
What are holiday fun killers?
- Trying to get everything just right and not being flexible. This includes overdoing it with decorations, gift wrapping, the perfect gift, and the holiday feast.
- Being so busy that you don’t really enjoy anything because you are stressed and exhausted.
- Continue to be in a power struggle with your teen over their phone.
- Any kind of forced family fun.
- Playing host taking care of everyone else. You are the spectator watching your family have fun but not entering into the fun yourself.
- Not getting the help you need so you end up resentful.
- Feeling like you always have to be productive and never let yourself relax.
How can you have more fun in the holidays?
- Set an intention to have fun this holiday season. Having fun is not a waste of time, it’s important because it restores your vitality and makes life worth living. You actually will be more productive when you make time for fun.
- Be intentional to have fun with your teen. Shared fun brings you closer together. Teens love language is fun. When you actually have fun with your teen it creates a bonding experience. The important thing here is that you are entering into a fun state with your teen. You don’t want to solely be sitting in the metaphorical bleachers watching your teen have fun.
- No forced family fun. You don’t decide what is fun without having buy-in from other family members. If you decide that family game night is fun and no one else likes to play games well it will not be fun for anyone. You want the fun to be a collaborative decision.
- Schedule pockets of fun each week. Again, fun is an activity that brings you into the present moment, where you tend to lose time, and feel more carefree. You decide what is fun for you. It could be taking a walk. Getting together with your friends and seeing a concert or it could be having your favorite tea while reading a good book. The important thing here is that you schedule this fun into your calendar like you would any other kind of appointment.
- Be attentive to spontaneous moments of fun. Instead of being irritated, how about joining in the fun? Sometimes fun spontaneously pops up in the kitchen while drying dishes with a flick of a towel. It could be a spur-of-the-moment dance break or a trip to Starbucks. It could be set off by a playful puppy or a devious cat. These spontaneous moments maybe last fifteen minutes at the most but can positively change the atmosphere in your home.
The Sunday and Monday before Thanksgiving I drove to Austin to intentionally have fun with my 26-year-old daughter. I questioned if this was really a good idea to go right before Thanksgiving. But it turned out to be a great idea. I felt carefree and in the moment. I thoroughly enjoyed my time with my daughter and her boyfriend. I left Austin refreshed and happy. It was such a gift to me because I would be hosting Thanksgiving in Houston and wouldn’t be able to be so free while watching my 90-year-old mom, a toddler always at full speed, and a house full of family. Because my cup was full, I was able to joyfully serve my family without any resentment.
Moms, you can have fun this holiday but you have to be intentional to create and protect your time for fun. I highly recommend it.
Get your calendar out and plan one fun event for you this holiday.
PS. Make sure you listen to this podcast to learn about all the science-based benefits of fun, #193 How Fun Connects Parents and Teens: Interview with Mike Rucker.