I gave up yelling for Lent. It’s not going so well. We use Love and Logic and I cannot say enough good things about this technique, but still, we all have our days. Mostly when my kiddos are going ape I can ask, “Do you want a Sweet Mama or a Yelly Mama?” They answer the obvious choice and usually change course. Sharing the Big Parenting Secret also helped. What? You do not know what The Big Parenting Secret is? I shared this at church for the Children’s Moment after unleashing it at the dinner table to my daughters:
What’s the Parenting Secret?
All Parents Want To Have Fun All Of The Time.
I went on to explain that there is work to be done, but Mamas and Daddies really do wish we could have fun all the time. I said if our family is unhappy, that is not what we want. We want to have fun by eating favorite foods, but someone one has to do the work to plan, grocery shop and make the meal. We like to wear our favorite clothes, but unless someone washes them and folds them and puts them back in the drawer, the fun of wearing them doesn’t happen. Basically all work helps us to have what we want: More Fun!
I encourage my family to work together to that end as often as possible. We often sing and play together as we do our house cleaning, AKA Fly Lady’s Home Blessing. We race to see who finishes a task first. I reward the girls unexpectedly, by calling them to me not for a task, but for a treat. They get to spray my room freshener in the squirt bottle, or choose the napkins for a meal, or maybe get a cookie. Just because it’s fun.
Or today I said to Portia, “You know what? You aren’t pestering me, and you and Libby are playing so nicely together so I can write this post that I won’t ask you to unload the dishwasher right now!”
She beamed. She felt appreciated and free from a normal daily task she does. She had fun instead. I can feel the weight of maturity, marriage and parenthood upon me. So I follow my husband’s lead and throw an impromptu dance party. We paint polka dots on our finger nails. We eat donuts for dinner. I know the Secret of Parenthood, but sometimes I need to be reminded, too: All Parents Want to Have Fun All Of The Time.
We have one life. Maybe One day. One family. One sunbeam to frolic in this very moment. I’m going to dance while I put away clean dishes, thankful for the joy in a clean kitchen and the fun of messing it up again with a family meal. Then I’m going to get a list of other things done, reminding myself to Find the Fun in the work, and smiling out loud.