You’re a great mom whether you see yourself as fun or not. And, let’s be real—sometimes we are in no mood for fun. At this very moment, my kitchen counters are covered in unwashed plates, dirty bowls, and a cast-iron skillet caked with scrambled egg crust. I don’t feel like finding fun things to do with kids. I feel tired.
1. Seek out adventure.
My fine fun-mom moment happened in West Palm Beach, where I went with my kids for a baseball tournament. We realized that Palm Beach is a mere 15 minutes away. A bit past bedtime, but into the car we went anyway. I pulled up to the Breakers, an amazing beachfront hotel. I parked and let the kids explore the lobby. I kept my eyes on them, and when they came back to the car, they raved. We also did a quick drive down Worth Avenue and saw Mar-a-Lago, the Presidential retreat.
2. Unexpected is the U in fun.
Pile the kids in the car and say you’re going for a “concert drive.” Then sing at the top of your lungs. Surprise your kids with an outdoor picnic for dinner or throw a blanket under your kitchen table and eat under the table with music blasting.
3. Relax the rules.
Want a quick path to fun mom status? Break out of your usual routine—make bedtime a little later, go a little bigger and bolder on dessert options, announce a “no more chores!” day and play games with your kids instead. iMOM founder Susan Merrill would surprise her kids by pulling them out of school for the day when they had good grades and good attendance.
4. Laugh. A lot.
The mother of one of my son’s friends laughs all the time. She has a great, hearty laugh that turns a normal conversation into something to be happy about. In fact, I think that’s what makes her so fun to be around. She’s light-hearted, upbeat, and laughs easily. If you’re not that kind of mom, no worries. Just sprinkle in some laughter here and there.
5. Let your kids pick on you.
My kids think I’m funny—funny as in goofy, eccentric, and a bit overboard. That’s okay with me. In fact, I often play it up. “Oh, Mom,” they’ll say with an eye roll while they hug me and make fun of how I just mispronounced a YouTuber’s name. They pick on me about my clothing choices. “Uh, no, Mom, you can’t wear that shirt.” They make comments with smiles on their faces and kindness in their hearts. They’re laughing at me and with me.
6. Play with them.
If your kids are little, sit on the floor with them and build something out of Legos. If they love sports, head outside for a game of Wiffle ball. If you have older kids, sit by them on the couch when they want to show you funny videos.
7. Outsource to others.
You don’t have to be the primary provider of fun in your kids’ lives. You can take them to events at the library (I took my kids to an animal show, once, at our library), to a funny movie, or to hang out with other families, to up the fun level. It’s also okay for our kids to see that we can’t always be the source of their fun (and if you ever think you can’t be fun because your mindset or mental health has taken a serious turn, get professional help. Even fun, good moms need help at times.). When we take a break from our fun-mom role, our kids get the chance to get creative on their own or with their siblings.
8. Forget fear… at least for now.
iMOM contributor Lisa Appelo once wrote that fear robs us of the joy of the moment. I can’t be a fun mom at the trampoline park when I’m absolutely terrified that my son is going to get hurt. And it’s tough to be a fun mom when I’m too stressed out to laugh because I’m afraid my children’s grades won’t get them into a “good” college. Fear short-circuits fun.
Want more fun mom ideas? Here are dozens of ideas for kids under 10.
What are the ways you can be (or have been) a fun mom?