Guest post by: Kelsey Popp
When was the last time you took your kids by surprise and did something exciting? Have you heard them recently shriek in delight and disbelief that mom has seemingly lost her mind?!
I looked back recently on my Instagram account, one thing became clear – my most favorite memories with my five boys were those that were unplanned. We were doing something else, and BAM we switched gears a bit – instant fun! Sometimes it’s easy to get caught up in the tedium of life’s schedules: appointments, school, work, errands, sports, clubs, homework, etc.
Sometimes I’ll think back on our week as a family and think, “was there ANYTHING memorable?!” As my kids get older and busier, I find myself looking for chances to inject a little excitement into our days. It’s not only a boredom buster, but a mood-lifter as well! And it can be easier than you think.
Being a spontaneous mom hasn’t always come naturally to me. I’m a planner! But the more intentional I am about it, the easier it becomes. A couple years ago, my best friend gave me a crazy lesson on spontaneity that turned out to be SO much fun, that it caused a shift in how I view my day-to-day life with kids:
Yep, that really happened! It was a whirlwind of excitement, with barely any time to prepare, much less stress about expecting five unplanned house guests by dinner time. It’s an incredible memory that our families will remember for a lifetime!
I fully realize that spontaneous cross-ocean visits are pretty unrealistic for most people. But with a little effort, you can turn ordinary moments like this one into stories that your kids will hopefully share at the Thanksgiving table with their siblings and spouses when they’re grown.
5 TIPS FOR BEING A SPONTANEOUS MOM:
1. JUST ADD WATER
Watering the garden? Turn the hose on them when they least expect it!
Last day/first day of school? Meet them at the bus with a bucket of water balloons and start an epic battle between kids and adults!
At the river, but no swimsuits? You might not be prepared to get wet, but they’ll be thrilled you let them climb rocks and wade around anyway!
The kids are boooooored? Throw them in the bathtub in the middle of the day with glow sticks, plastic dinosaurs, action figures, WHATEVER. Maybe even bring them a Popsicle!
It’s raining? Go outside and get muddy! It’ll clean up, I promise. And if it doesn’t? I bet that stain is worth the memory.
2. BE PREPARED
I keep packaged snacks and bottled water in the car for those days when we’re out and have an unplanned opportunity to hit the park. If I have snacks on hand, I won’t have to worry about not having time for fun because they’ll be hungry in 20 minutes. It buys me some time, and keeps the whining at a minimum. I also keep a towel for those unexpected dips in the ocean.
Snacks, a towel, sunscreen, and a hoodie for each person are staples that are ALWAYS in my car, and they can make the difference between creating potential memories or having to go home.
3. DON’T BE AFRAID TO GET A LITTLE MESSY
When my oldest boy was a toddler, I remember a friend of mine telling me about her family’s spontaneous silly string fight IN THE HOUSE! I was admittedly a little horrified at the mess she must have cleaned up afterwards, but also kind of jealous at the fun they had. While I still won’t be unleashing cans of silly string in my living room, I might be known instead to spray canned whipped cream all over my kids’ faces when I’m topping their hot chocolate. Baby steps!
4. BATTLE IT OUT!
Surprise them with that water balloon fight. Start a NERF gun war! Be the first to chuck a snowball. If you’re braver than me, go for that silly string fight in the living room! Whatever you do, the element of surprise is key here – bonus points if it’s parents vs kids!
5. BEND THE RULES
One morning last spring, we went about our usual school day routine. Breakfast, backpacks, lunchboxes, etc. But instead of dropping them off at school, we drove right on past. Their confusion turned to delight, when we arrived at a local indoor waterpark/hotel for a couple days (our packed bags were hidden in the back of the car)!
On a smaller scale, it would be pretty fantastic to get the kids into their pajamas and ready for bed and then quick usher their confused little selves to the car for a surprise trip to the ice cream shop. It doesn’t have to be spontaneous to Mom and Dad, for it to feel spur-of-the-moment and thrilling to the kids. Bending the rules is exciting!
The days are long, but the years are short, my friends. Think outside the box a little bit and lighten up! It doesn’t have to be extravagant to be memorable.
There really is time in your day for a little whipped cream on the nose.
Kelsey Popp lives on an island in the Pacific Northwest with her husband and five energetic sons, ages infant to 11 years. She is a heart-mom and devoted CHD (heart defect) advocate. Living by her household motto of Never Grow Up, she’ll nearly always avoid housework responsibilities in favor of going outside to play. Follow her on Instagram @Kelipso.