"I hate that I'm not the 'fun parent'."

Responsible? Helpful? Organised? Tick. Tick. Tick.

I give up.

Believe me, I’ve tried.

Turns out, I’m not cut out to be The Fun Parent.

Responsible? Helpful? Organised? Tick. Tick. Tick.

I can be cooking dinner while monitoring my seven-year-old daughter Caitlyn’s piano playing while calling out to my son Caleb (he’s five-going-on-50) to finish his milk while paying a bill. Nothing new to most multi-tasking mothers. What my mothering skill set sorely lacks is playful spontaneity. Maybe I hit my funny bone when the Man Upstairs was doling out the ‘merry-making’ gene?

You see, I’ve been playing the role of Mummy and Daddy for the past month or so while my husband has been travelling. This comes with its share of benefits: think no picking up after his mismatched socks; watching The Block on TV; eating scrambled eggs on toast for dinner… But the novelty has worn off.

Shh! Don’t tell my husband that.

The kids miss their dad and I miss having my man around to chat – and argue – with. We miss his silly names for all of us: Caitlyn is Princess Poo Poo; Caleb is Pooperhero. We even miss the teasing, tickles and taunting. But most of all, we miss him making us laugh.

"The kids miss their dad and I miss having my man around to chat – and argue – with."

Fun comes naturally to my husband. Every weekend is filled with the three of them immersed in impromptu imaginary games like Lions, Octonauts and Space Pirates.

The amazing thing is he makes any situation seem like fun, working it to his advantage, and that too, with minimal effort!

For instance, every morning he gets the kids to walk on his back. So he wakes up with a wonderful body massage. What do the kids get for their efforts? "Springboards" and "Sleigh Rides" – don't ask! He even gets the kids to do his jobs while leading them to believe they're on an adventure.

If the kids want fun and frolics, dad's the man! But if they need anything sorted and "solutioned", they turn to me.


I've become the unofficial Mistress of Mundane Tasks. The Cooker of curry and cookies. The Cleaner of toilets and tablemats. The Overseer or homework. The Dropper-Offer and Picker-Upper from school, karate class and parties. The Separator of laundry into whites, brights and darks. The Payer of bills. The Buyer of groceries and glue-sticks. The Teller of bedtime tales... Necessary - but b-o-rrrring as batsh!t.

Sunday mornings mean motor-bike cleaning.

The realisation dawned on Saturday evening. I had just packed up after our first ever garage sale. The kids were deflated after a long "there's-nothing-to-do-but-wait-for-people" day.

"Let's have a Dance-Off!" I suggested. "Woo hoo!!!" they whooped. On came Spotify and I morphed into the house DJ taking requests. "’ Everything is Awesome’," suggested Caleb (in case you didn't know, it's from The Lego Movie). "Shake it off, shake it off..." crooned Caitlyn, as she grooved to Taylor Swift. When Uptown Funk came on, I was pulled onto our makeshift dance floor.

Maybe I was just tired from the demanding day that was, but man, it was hard to drum up energy and enthusiasm! The honest truth is, I really had to make an effort to get into the groove (no, my kids have no idea who Madonna is).

Meanwhile, my kids did the robot dance, they spun on the floor, they made up funky dance moves, loose-limbed and jubilant. Their exuberance was infectious.

You know that phrase "Dance like no one is watching"? I decided to do just that. And by the time our playlist came to ‘Happy’, so was I.

Just like their daddy: A little effort. A lot of fun!

So tell me, are you the Fun Parent? What do you do to have fun with your kids?

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