Wednesday, April 29, 2015

The Not-Fun Parent

Heading out...

Cookie dough with brownie bites for her; chocolate peanut butter (obviously) for me
This is weird to think about, but I realized that night that, because I'm usually super strict about bedtimes, this was actually one of the first times my five-year-old daughter had seen the night sky! (7:30pm lights out FTW, people.)

A version of this post first appeared here on my Instagram, and I got such an enthusiastic response, both online and off. It seemed like it spoke to many people out there--many fellow not-fun parents--so I wanted to expand on it a bit here.

I am not the fun parent. My husband is the McDonalds parent, the eat-in-the-living-room parent, the sure-you-can-pour-a-vat-of-syrup-on-your-pancakes parent, the wear-whatever-crazy-outfit-you-want parent. 

That is not me.

I am the bedtime stickler, the rules-enforcer, the eat-your-broccoli, get-in-the-bath, "You're-not-listening" parent. Somehow, somewhere along the way, I became the strict one.

But one night, a few weeks back, that briefly changed. It was a Saturday night (one of the first ones that wasn't bitterly cold), and just before bath time, my daughter announced out of the blue that she wanted to go out for ice cream. This is something that us Not-Fun Parents would normally nix immediately. I mean, staying up late? Sugar right before bed? Straying from the routine? Madness, no? But instead of reacting immediately, I listened to her, thought about it for a moment, and said, "You know what? Why not?"

My daughter eyed me suspiciously (likely thinking: "Who is this kind alien who has invaded the body of my mom?"), but I convinced her that, yes, I was serious. So she enthusiastically took a quick bath, then we threw her coat over her pjs, and walked the few blocks to Ben & Jerry's. (Yep, in her pajamas--which she thought was hilarious and definitely turned out to be half the fun for her.)

It was just the two of us. We walked hand in hand, sat down and ate our ice cream, and then walked back in the dark (which she thought was awesome since she is almost never outside at night). When we were almost home, she said that it had been one of the coolest things that she had ever done.

And just like that, I got to be the fun parent for once.

Are you the fun parent? Or the not-fun parent? And if you're the latter, have you ever considered playing the fun parent for a night? I highly recommend it. But don't worry: By the next morning, I was back to my "PUT YOUR SHOES ON" self.

9 comments:

Emily L. Foley said...

Here, here! Children need schedules! But last week, we went to the 'taste of' our little town, and let the smurf stay out two hours past bedtime running around with friends, eating ice cream and listening to live music. And all three of us had an amazing time! She was mesmerized by all the cars having lights on as we drove back home, since she's never out after dark!

-Emily
www.EmilySuggests.com

Angie In My 30s said...

that is so fantastic. I'm sure you made her whole night special!!

Chanity Dawn said...

I'm a good mixture of both. My kids have strict bedtimes and routines, but I'm not against a spur-of-the-moment trip for ice cream. I probably enjoy those moments more than they do by just seeing their happiness!

Kelly @ The OK Momma said...

My daughter is just 1 so I'm not sure where I fall. I work full time so I try to be conscious to do one "fun" thing with her in the evenings - even if it's just letting her ride in her little car to get the mail. But I am STRICT about bedtime & routines - having that structure is what allows the fun to happen!

Ida Arias said...

I am the fun parent. My husband has WAY TOO MANY rules for the kids and I believe you just "let kids be little"

Melissa Tischler said...

Love this! I am so not the fun parent and it's exhausting! Sadie must take after you.... Remember those late night jiffy treat runs? Sounds amazing right now!

Melissa (M) said...

My kid never gets McDonald's lol I try to balance the fun with the rules as much as I can.

Nicole Keener said...

I hear ya I am the same way , I like a schedule I like things put back where they belong. My hubby on the other hand not so much ha ha

wearingl said...

Love it!!!
It's good to be spontanious from time to time but without rules and being strict on every day life, it wouldn't be halve as fun :) x

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