Though raising children is wonderful, the majority of our parenting days can also feel mundane. Mighty Mommy has 5 tips to put some excitement back into your parenting.
No matter what career path you’ve taken, there aren’t too many of us who don’t get bored from time to time with certain aspects of our jobs, especially if they involve mundane rituals. The same goes for parenting. We all adore our children (well, much of the time!), but most days bring a lot of the same old, same old repetitive tasks that can truly test our sanity, causing us to wonder if ordinary days can ever be exciting again.
Sponsor: The podcast version of this article is brought to you by Stitcher. With free Stitcher SmartRadio, you can listen to this and thousands of other podcasts on your mobile phone. Use promo code Mighty and get a chance to win a cash prize.
Great news! Though much of parenting is routine and schedule-oriented, if you are willing to think outside your daily parenting box, you can instantly add a lot more fun and excitement into your role as Mom or Dad and not only liven things up for you, but for your entire family as well.
Today I’m going to share 5 fun ways to put some excitement into parenting.
Tip #1: Send Yourself Fan Mail
A few years ago I found the wonderful website www.futureme.org where you can write yourself an email to be delivered to your inbox a year in the future. You can write yourself something funny, list some goals you’ve been working on, make up a ridiculous poem, or jot down what you think your kids might be involved in a year from now—anything you like. I try and write something at least once or twice a month because there is nothing more fun than getting these emails a year later, seeing what was on my mind back then, and comparing it to what’s actually happening now. I’ve written something as simple as “You’re doing a fantastic job, Cheryl. Who cares if you burned the brownies yesterday—the birds loved them!” I’ve also listed personal and family goals. It’s also fun to do this with a friend or two because you’ll all get your letters on the same day and you can then share each other’s surprises.
Tip # 2: Listen to Audiobooks While Doing Unpleasant Chores
I used to absolutely loathe doing laundry. Give me a vacuum cleaner and a mop, and I’ll happily tidy up the floors, but sorting, washing, drying, and then folding the laundry is one of my most tedious jobs. Because I dislike it so much, I used to procrastinate and let it pile up waist-high. Last year, however, I started listening to audiobooks on my iPod, and I soon began looking forward to the laundry. And I don’t just listen to audiobooks, I also listen to podcasts, stand-up comedians, motivational seminars, and even cookbooks! Not only do I not mind the laundry anymore, I recently re-organized the entire garage and tool shed while indulging in Emily Giffin’s fabulous new novel, Where We Belong—talk about exciting!
Tip # 3: Surprise Your Family
Life is so busy that oftentimes we don’t stop and appreciate all the good things that surround us every day. We are easily sucked into humdrum routines that are necessary but stale. Adding a surprising element to the ordinary can really do wonders for everyone’s spirits, including your own. I love finding ways to surprise my family by doing things like hiding a few dollars under one random cereal bowl in the morning, or leaving a plate of homemade cookies at my husband’s office just out of the blue. I’ve even taped a silly poster to the inside of the shower so when the kids get up all cranky and tired, they open the shower curtain and see something that makes them laugh. Last year I took a risk and made my teenagers’ beds with juvenile flannel sheets with Elmo and Curious George on them. That night when they turned down their comforters, we all had a good laugh. The options are endless and I guarantee you’ll have the most fun by coming up with new surprises!
See also: How Routines Will Simplify Your Life
Tip # 4: Start a Secret Stash Drawer
Taking good care of your family is a lot of work. We’ve all heard advice about how parents need to take care of themselves first so that they have more to offer their families, but still many people, women especially, find that hard to manage. Here’s one good way to take care of yourself: Create a “Secret Stash Drawer” to house the things that bring you pleasure. Mine is in my closet and it has fun finds that I pick up during my shopping travels, such as good chocolate, joke books, entertainment magazines, funky nail polish colors, pretty stationery, soothing teas and bubble baths, whatever tickles my fancy. I save my stash drawer for times when I really need to lift my spirits or just get out of my stay-at-home rut. The best part is that I forget half the things I buy and put away because I save this special drawer for when I really need it, so I get a lovely surprise whenever I open it!
Tip #5: Glamorize the Ordinary
I’m a list-maker and a planner—with 8 kids, that’s what keeps me on track. But because I was afraid the whole house would fall apart if I didn’t stick to the schedule, my to-do lists also made me feel trapped. My middle name was boring! So I decided to make a change. I still stay organized with lists, but over the years I’ve learned to loosen up and add a little pizzazz to some of my everyday duties. For example, when my kids least expect it, I’ll create a fancy menu on the computer with three favorite choices on it so they can order what they like for dinner. I’ve also created boarding passes for my kids so they’ll know where they have to sit in the car when we’re off to sports practice or a school event. I’ve let my teen daughters go shopping in my closet instead of having them sneak in and “borrow” something. Just last week we pretended we were hosting a real dog show in our backyard as a way to make it fun for the kids to give our two dogs a bath—prizes were given to both dogs and kids for best shampooing, best brushing, etc. This weekend we’re going to create a drive-in restaurant in our family room, complete with burgers and shakes.
There are endless ways to build excitement into the tedious parts of parenting, and once you try a few new things, you’ll not only break up the blah moments for yourself, you’ll show your family how much you care about them.
Check out the Mighty Mommy Facebook page where I share lots of quick parenting tips all week long. You can also follow me on Twitter @MightyMommy or join me on Pinterest.com where you can visit all of my family-friendly boards.
I hope you have an exciting week and as always—Happy Parenting!