Warning: you don’t necessarily have to kiss chickens to have a good time . . .
Life can be mundane at times.
As the mother of three young children, I am on-the-go with a brain always working about ten seconds ahead to anticipate and prepare for what’s coming next. Which is probably why I lose my sunglasses, keys, and cell phone a whole lot.
The details of life can weigh me down. And the paper? Oh, my. The paperwork that surrounds three little people and two adults requires an administrative assistant alone.
There are many days in which I feel like I’m living in Groundhog’s Day everyday. Different day, same you-know-what . . .
Which is how fun slips by Jason and I sometimes.
It’s rare when we are able to have a conversation that isn’t interrupted or hurried because we’re late. So often, date nights were times when we could discuss a myriad of conversations that remained unsaid during the week.
So I would bring them up.
I am married to a man that doesn’t necessarily always want to talk about what’s concerning us as parents at the moment or our finances during date night.
This past summer, I realized . . . he’s right.
There is so much to be said for having fun together. Shared fun bonds two people together like Gorilla Glue.
“When we go out tonight,” I told him one hot, humid July afternoon, “we’re not talking about anything serious. Only fun stuff.”
He stopped dead in his tracks and looked at me like I’d lost my ever-loving mind.
“That’s what I’m talking about,” he said with a mischievous grin.
And we didn’t. Talk about anything serious that is.
Instead, we talked about stuff that doesn’t really have the power to change the world–but it had the power to change our marriage.
I was reminded of what drew us together in the first place: we had a blast together. The man has a serious ability to make me laugh.
We went on a spree of prioritizing fun and something happened: we began to see each other like we used to. We ignited the spark again. We laughed.
I wasn’t just the mom who runs carpool and preschool drop-off and flag football practice and the meal-maker and the forgotten-lunch taker.
I was the girl he fell in love with again and I felt like I had returned from a long winter’s nap. On the flip side, I was reminded why I fell in love with him.
So it got me thinking . . . Why do I make fun the lowest priority in my daily life?
Oh, yeah. I’m busy. And I’m really tired. And I have what feels like a million people saying “Mama” throughout the day.
Which is not me complaining. I love those people who call me mama.
Yet taking care of others can be exhausting and it can drain the fun out of the everyday if you let it. And I do. I try not to, but I do.
Anyone else with me on this?
Mutual fun within a marriage creates a bond of hidden jokes, knowing glances, and the actual desire to want to be together – and not because you have to be together since you’re married with three kids.
And when this happens, when Jason and I are having fun, it trickles down to our children. We have more fun and, in turn, they have more fun.
Now, mind you, It’s not all lollipops and unicorns over here. Let’s not get carried away.
But I must admit there’s something to this whole prioritizing fun thing.
And it’s that missing something that has laid dormant for far too long and I didn’t know how much I missed it until it returned.
Welcome back, fun. My husband and I have missed you.
So since we’re talking about fun . . . What do you do for fun?
We love to go bowling. I’m terrible at it since I broke my bowling fingers. I have to bowl with my left hand now. When he isn’t looking I will give him a gutter ball to up my chances of beating him…..cheating, yes I know. He’s incredibly ornery so anything we do is fun. We try to have date nights a few nights a week. We put the kids to bed, get out a snack and turn on a movie or episode on Netflix and talk about goofy things. Sometimes we play a card game. The kids wake up occasionally because we are laughing too loudly. They are used to noise for the most part, since we do this so many times during the week. He works nearly 12 hours a day, most the time 6 days a week, so we use every evening hour we can before he has to go to bed.
This summer, we were able to get away for a couple weekends. We had a blast. Problem with that is there is no house-cleaning fairy and no laundry fairy to take care of that stuff when I’m away, so it patiently awaits my return.
We decided to explore our beautiful state a little bit. We went to Boothbay Harbor one weekend, and Camden/Rockland on another. I didn’t know we could top one but we did. While in Camden, we rented scooters. Holy cow, that was fun. The couple that runs it put together a helpful map (there’s a GPS too), with a collection of places to stop and see and explore, including a winery and the local harbor. Didn’t know there was an elephant rehab in Maine, but there is. Got there too late, so we have a reason to go back. Discovered a local shop with all kinds of treasures priced just right, so our car was packed to the brim on our way home. I’ve got a husband who likes shopping (for a bargain) more than I do, so little shops and yard sales are never a problem. Good food, beautiful gardens, gorgeous scenery…I even got a lobster roll from the lobster shack, which supposedly won an award for their crustacean sandwich ;) I can’t wait to plan our next adventure. I’m on the search for a large map, so I can pin places – two colors: one for places we’ve visited and one for places we want to go!
Thank you so much for sharing this post. It’s so comforting to know that you’re not alone! I feel like my husband and I have already let the priority of having fun together slip from our married life, and we don’t even have kids yet! Most days we are so busy and tired from all these things we’ve filled our life with- most of them good things- but things that steal the precious time we could be having fun together and getting back in touch with why we fell in love. Sometimes I feel like not only have we lost touch with “that loving feeling” but also who we are. Sometimes I can’t remember who I was before/ or who I am besides a cook, an errand-runner, dog walker, cleaner, administrative assistant, etc. I’m thankful for my new role as my husband’s helper. I wouldn’t trade it for anything! But you’re right that it’s so easy to remember to have fun in the midst of daily life that feels repetitive and mundane and like we’re both just in survival mode until we get to the next day or next big thing. I know that the love in a marriage grows and changes and goes through different seasons, but I really do miss the spark and fun we had early on in our relationship. I’d love to know more ways to get back in touch with that! I think it’s important to be able to have fun and connect with each other as you go through daily life and fulfill daily responsibilities, because the reality is you can’t escape them. Maybe for a short time on a vacation (which is always fun and important to do now and then. My husband and I have the most fun together when we travel, even on short weekend getaways), but no matter who you’re with the dishes have to be done, the clothes have to be washed, the errands have to be run, the family has to be fed, and you have to go to work to make a living. So how do we have fun in the middle of it all? For me, I think I could relax more and go with the flow if my husband comes over to me while I’m doing laundry or dishes and tries to mess everything up or start some sort of playful fight. I always get uptight and focused on getting the task done quickly and perfectly that I don’t stop to have fun and play with him. It’s always fun to revert back to doing things you did as teenagers, such as getting in the car, ride with the windows down and music loud, go through somewhere and get a treat like a Starbucks coffee, a milkshake, or Sonic limeade and just drive around town. Remember what that was like to just go out and ride around with no where particular to go or be? Just “killing time,” looking around, enjoying each other’s company, talking about nothing important and holding hands while he drives. Similarly, going bowling, playing in an arcade, roller or ice skating, mini golf, playing board games or video games together, meeting for lunch or going out to dinner and not talking about work, finances, or anything serious. It’s ironic that if you revert back to doing things you did as teenagers, you get back in touch with the feelings you had as teenagers! Unfortunately, it takes more thought and intentionality to make it happen once you’re an adult with adult responsibilities, but I think it’s well-worth it for keeping the romance alive in your marriage and regularly reminding each other why you fell in love in the first place.
I always thought one of the nicest compliments we received as a couple was from your dad. I’ve forgotten the details, but there was a conversation about a group of us getting together, going someplace, doing something special, etc. Your folks were talking about who would enjoy this, that, and the other. And your dad said to your mom, “Well, we don’t have to worry about the Gates’….they make their own fun wherever they go!”
That was nice. And, actually, it was true. We’re a bit older now and our idea of “fun” is pretty much as simple as sitting around a campfire in our backyard with some country music playing on the radio. Simple pleasures for simple people. :)