fun IS a parenting strategy


Last week we had our annual family vacation.  I took my boys to the ocean for the first time (!) and we had an absolute blast.

I wanted to be in the water with them as much as possible, because I wish them to love the ocean (like I do:).  So on the first day, after Isaac had spent a couple of hours jumping the waves on the beach (see photo), I invited him to jump the waves with me a bit further in.

He's not super comfy swimming on his own so I held him in my arms and we jumped the waves together, letting the water buoy us, for a long time.  When we finally got out he did a fist pump, exclaiming 'that was awesome!!'  and then ran off to play in the sand.

My mom came up to me a bit later and said, 'you know, I think the boys are having such a good time because you are.  You're more relaxed than I've seen you in years.'

Woah... okay, I love my mama.  She is super-awesome.  But this observation? From her? (For the record, she's a high-achieving, extremely motivated, do-er.  Not the relaxation type.)  Made me sit up and take notice.

She was right. 

You've heard me talk about how essential it is that you care for yourself as a mama.  My experience on our vacation last week was clear evidence of this truth.

It wasn't just that day, the entire vacation was a wonder of joy.  We've been on vacation before and honestly, it's never been this much fun.  Yes, Isaac had a tantrum or two, and Gabriel gave one of his cousins a bit of a hard time, but overall the experience was a.mazing.  

Really, the essential change was in me.  I woke up and did yoga every morning.  I reveled in my love of the ocean.  I spent focused time with each of my children.  I did all the other things I usually do (cooking, cleaning, parenting) but I made sure to do the fun things, too.

After all, our children just want to enjoy themselves, and they want us to enjoy life with them.   

Are you having fun this summer?  If so, what are you doing for fun? If not, what's one small thing you could do, just for you?