After my column in the latest issue about how mercenary my 6 year old daughter is, I thought I’d better address the balance and tell you about one of her most endearing qualities – which is to find the fun in everything she does.
From the moment she wakes up, she is full of energy, creating new games to play with her little sister, asking mummy to join in. Mummy is normally not overly enthused to have to play the part of the evil witch at 6:30am, and has lost even more enthusiasm by 8:30am when the girls are still prancing about in princess dresses instead of their school uniforms, but in one of her more contemplative moments, Mummy started to wonder why she was so unenthused. Was it because she was simply tired? Was it because she has enough to do in the mornings, thank you very much, without having to take part in a dramatic retelling of a fairytale? Was it because she didn’t want to be the evil witch and would much prefer to occasionally be allowed to be the princess? Or worse, was it because she has grown up and forgotten how to have fun? Unfortunately, I think it’s the latter.
Adulting is such a chore sometimes, there’s so much responsibility that comes with it. Houses, housework, mortgages, bills, work to pay the mortgage and bills, general family admin etc etc – it all takes time and means that you can’t devote your life to doing things you actually enjoy. There’s very few of us really RELISH doing the dishes, but the dishes need done, and therefore, you have to do them. Part of being a parent is being the responsible one. Kids never have to remember to bring their house keys, book dentist appointments, or even apply suncream, because we do it all for them. And because we’re doing all the boring stuff, they can just do stuff they like doing. And even find fun in the stuff they don’t like doing, because that’s what they’re used to. For example, I was cleaning the house the other day, and the girls asked if they could help. Now usually, I go for the ‘best help you can give me right now is to stay out of my way’ approach, but this time, I decided to rope them in. So the little one was given a duster and the big one was given the hoover and they were pointed in the right direction of dust and dirt. And you know what? They had so much craic. First they just enjoyed it because it was new, then they invented a game where the wee one had to dust an area before the hoover got there, and before long one of them was Cinderella doing all the chores, while the other played the evil stepmother and shouted instructions.
Going for a walk to the park becomes a pirate adventure complete with treasure map. A swim becomes a mermaid adventure. A bike ride, a journey to a foreign land. Their imagination is key, but so is the drive for everything to be a laugh.
So this harried grown-up is going to try to adopt just a little bit of this approach and make her life a lot more fun. Instead of getting bogged down by monotony and responsibility, I’m going to use my imagination. When I’m cooking dinner, I’ll be Nigella saucily throwing a little something together in my luxury TV kitchen. When I’m driving the kids to their many social engagements, I’ll be a chauffeur to the stars. When I’m doing the laundry, maybe I’ll be Cinderella dreaming of my prince. And maybe all these dull work-a-day tasks will become a bit more enjoyable. All I have to do now is think of a ‘fun’ way of paying the bills…