Yesterday was Melbourne Cup day, a day off for Australia in the week of horse racing carnival. You can either dress up, wear a hat and place a bet. Or you can dress down, pack your eski, take the 4WD, drive to a park and have a barbie. Which is what we did. (Dressing up we keep for the ladies on Oaks day 🙂 )

By the end of the day, you come home with two kids who need all kinds of things. Hungry, thirsty, please can we go swimming, I’m cold can we please go take a hot bath, can we watch a movie now? All that, while you’re unpacking the 4WD, the eski, throwing the picnic rug in the laundry because it has ketchup all over it, clearing the dishes from that morning’s breakfast, starting to prepare dinner and discuss with your kid what her show and tell should be about in the middle of it all. Oh and your head starts spinning in overdrive because the house keeps piling up with stuff (mainly junk from the kids), the garage needs to be cleaned out, the kids wardrobes need to be cleared with everything that is too small, there is a pile of admin still to be done, I need to do my lectures for school and there are many people who are dying to be in contact with you but you don’t know where to find the time to do it. You feel like you’re running behind all the time. And you would just like to sit down, have a beer and do nothing. But if you do, the laundry won’t go away by itself. And who cooks dinner?

Sound familiar?

Sometimes it creeps up on me, the demands of adult life. The house that needs to be maintained. All the stuff in it. The responsibilities of taking care of a family. Taxes, admin, savings. The schedule you’re on when you have kids: school at 9, pick up at 3.30. Dinner at 6 or earlier otherwise they keep on snacking. Bedtime at 7. 7.30 max. You’re never alone. And if you want to be a lone, there is a lot of planning involved. Where’s the joy in all this?

Then it hits you. The joy you will have to add yourself. Leave the dishes and lay on the couch and cuddle your kids. Play some loud music and dance with them. Have take away for dinner, or a sandwich; you can cook tomorrow. Give them those 15 minutes of your ‘own’ time to make silly jokes and laugh about it. Have a bath with them and take turns wearing a shower cap. Or embarrass your kids by making fun of them or sing all the time.

Spread joy through humor and laughter. The world is a human comedy if we see it that way. Sometimes it’s a tragic comedy, but he who laughs lasts. It is not healthy to be serious and normal. Trying to be normal is for those who feel inadequate. Spread joy. Embarrass your children regularly and they will thank you later in life.” (Bernie Siegel, MD)

That’s the thing people. Our kids will not thank us for being serious all the time. They might not thank you for acting silly, but they will at least look back to a happy childhood.

Yesterday we decided to get fish and chips for dinner. And I usually embarrass my kids by teasing them, singing a lot (the eldest has asked me a couple of times to please stop singing) or acting silly with her classmates which she sometimes finds quite embarrassing.


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