Sometimes Being the Fun Mom is Overrated

I’ve confessed before that I often have guilt over not being a “fun mom”. I work too much, I’m often crabby, I’m not one to play with the kids, I don’t cater. But every once in a while, I try to do something spontaneous and fun. Why does it usually seem to come back and bite me in the butt!??

Case in point . . .

Yesterday my son mentioned he didn’t want to ride the “activities bus” home after band practice and requested that I come get him. I said, Sure!

I didn’t know if there was someone bothering him on the bus or if he just didn’t want to circle the broad side of the barn to get home or what, but I immediately agreed to pick him up. Of course, that takes about 30 minutes out of my work day, but that’s what moms are for, right?

Score a point for mom.

When I got to the school to pick him up, after getting in the wrong lane once (oy!), he said, Hey, can we swing by Rita’s? It’s right around the corner.

(Rita’s is a local water ice chain. Think slurpees but better. They even use real fruit.)

Now. Mind you, this was 5:00. That is dinnertime in most parts. And I am not one to swing by Rita’s for the heck of it. (His dad is good for that.) Even if they use real fruit, it’s still a ton of sugar, and you know me.

But for some reason, I spontaneously said, Sure!

Score another point for mom.

I pulled out of the parking lot in the direction of Rita’s, much to the excitement of my three compatriots.

As we pulled into the parking lot, my youngest daughter exclaimed, Oh no! I don’t have any shoes!


I pulled a wad of cash out of my wallet — WHEN do I have cash on me? Score yet ANOTHER point for Mom!!! — and handed it to my 13-year-old son. I instructed him to go ahead inside with his sister (the 10-year-old) and get the three water ices. They could handle this. My youngest daughter and I waited in the car.

And waited. And waited.

While I took cute pictures of the dog peeking out the window.

The next thing I know, shrieks of terror are emerging from the backseat. Evidently an insect of the bee variety has infiltrated our car.

My youngest was stung by a wasp two years ago and has never quite gotten over the horror of it all.

As she is jumping around the backseat, I got out, opened her door and ushered her out.

In the midst of it all, the dog took off. I managed to grab the leash just before she got beyond my reach. Meanwhile, the wasp evacuated the premises so my daughter was able to safely return to the comfort of the car — this time with the windows securely rolled up.

I tried to usher the dog back into the car, but she wasn’t having any of it. This is unusual. She LOVES the car. Then I realized she hadn’t been out in hours. I walked her across the parking lot to a grassy area, where she promptly relieved herself. Whew! Glad I escaped that potential crisis.

We walked by Rita’s on the way back to the car to make sure the older two were doing alright. They were fine; there was just a long line.

Soon everyone was piling into the car — not with plain ole water ice, but with gelati — Italian ice and frozen custard combinations. Take a look.

Yeah, that. IN MY CAR.

I immediately confiscated my youngest daughter’s gelati and placed it safely in the cup holder beside me. Fortunately they had put a lid on that one, so I promised her she could have it as soon as we got home.

But the other two kids had already started eating theirs. What’s a mom to do but pray!?

As I was pulling out of the parking lot, I heard a scream of outrage coming from the backseat.

I glanced back in the rear view mirror to see my youngest daughter wailing, the side of her face and ear and hair covered with frozen custard.

Evidently, as my older daughter bent over to buckle herself into her seatbelt, my younger daughter bent down to grab the dog, and her sister’s gelati collided with the side of her face.

Oh how I wish I’d had the presence of mind to grab a photo.

Or perhaps a handful of napkins.

Of course, when you send a 13- and 10-year old into an ice cream shop, they do not think to grab napkins.

Immediately, a fight ensued as to who was at fault.

My youngest daughter HATES to be messy, and she was not amused in the slightest. My older daughter did not care to be blamed for this unfortunate incident. My son had to put his 2 cents in, even though he was in the front seat and didn’t even witness the debacle. He ALWAYS sides with his littlest sister, so you can imagine how well THAT went over.

A better mother probably would have turned around to get napkins, but we were 10 minutes from home, I had three melting gelatis in my car, so I helpfully suggested that my older daughter lick it off and drove off towards home as all three kids continued to debate — loudly, and all at once — who was at fault.

It was one of those moments that could easily have gone either way. I was tempted to lecture, but I chose to laugh. It was all so ridiculous, the one child howling with ice cream dripping down the side of her face, the other two arguing over whose fault it was, all holding their sugary frozen treats that were sure to spoil their appetites for dinner, and one yippie dog who couldn’t bear to be left out of the ruckus.

So much for being the “fun mom”.

Or, maybe, in the end, that is the point. Life is messy, and being the “fun mom” isn’t as glamorous as it sounds, but at least I can say that I am still saying yes more!

Hopefully my kids won’t remember the fighting as much as the fact that mom occasionally took a spontaneous trip to Rita’s.

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20 Responses

  1. The joys of being a parent! Well done for staying calm! It’s like the saying goes ” Please excuse the mess, the children are making memories!” Xx

  2. The joys of motherhood! Your story brought a smile to my face this morning! My guess is they’ll remember the trip to Rita’s, and they’ll laugh about the ice cream story soon enough! Have a great day Jo-Lynne!

  3. Too much like life here. I think some people were born fun moms and the rest of us have to work at it.

    MMM. Ritas. There’s one in Blacksburg.

    And I didn’t know there still were activity busses. When I was at LB we had one, but I still had to walk a mile after it dropped me off. We don’t have one at the current high school, so I go pick up my cheer leader after practice… 20 minutes both ways… and it’s always right in the middle of dinner.

  4. Oh Jo-Lynne..How funny. That so sounds like something that would happen in my car. It made me laugh when I read it. You just reminded me of how spontaneous life can be, and saying yes more is still good 🙂

  5. Ha! I had to laugh through most of this because we had a similar experience when I let my kids have milkshakes one day. Although one of them ended up all over the floor in my van. I had to laugh otherwise I surely would have started to cry…

    And yes, they WILL remember the spontaneous trip(s) to Rita’s. I always remember those kind of things from my childhood. 🙂

  6. Oh, how that can be my life! Something spontaneous and turns into a long, complicated circus! Now that my girls are older, that doesn’t happen too often anymore, but they still talk about those times. Your children will definitely be talking about that story when they’re older, sharing “Remember when” stories, and they will be laughing and bonding. I got a chuckle out of it, and also thinking that you are not alone.

  7. I’m right there with you on the “fun mom!”

    Your kids will remember that you took them to Rita’s. Maybe they’ll remember the details. Maybe not. They’ll remember that you took them to Rita’s.

  8. Thanks for that story! I need daily reminders to say yes to my kids more- even when its “inconvenient” for me. Usually it means happy memories that we all will remember later!

  9. Being the fun mom might be overrated, but that’s by far the funniest story I think I’ve ever read on your blog LOL. I was literally laughing out loud through it!

    (And in case you’re wondering, my car has survived my niece spilling a cherry gelati from Rita’s in it & is no worse for the wear. Didn’t even stain!)

  10. OMG! This is the first time I have laughed this morn. and it was an “honest-to-God belly laugh! This scene is hysterical. And VERY familiar. Sounds like a day in my life.

  11. I love this story! And I can definitely relate. I feel guilt over not exposing my children to more cultural experiences like museums or the ballet (how’s that for being the un-fun mom? ;-)). But when I try, it deteriorates into some sort of chaos…and it seems someone ends up bare foot, or fast food ends up in someone’s hair or lap!

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