When was the last time you had fun?
When you enjoyed yourself, felt relaxed and restored?
When was the last time you unplugged and put productivity on hold and did something that brought you joy and happiness?
If you’re similar to the moms I support, likely, you can’t remember the last time you did something you enjoyed.
And not making time for fun is adding to your stress.
We live in a world where productivity is a priority, and being accessible all the time is more of the norm.
Not only does this create stress-rare is it to have down-time-but there is another problem I’ve seen in the therapy room and with many moms: we forget how to set boundaries with our time, people and obligations, leaving us tired, stressed and lacking fun.
Fun is anything you consider to bring you enjoyment, amusement, or entertaining. There’s no one way to have fun. What may be fun for me may not be for you, which is totally fine. The most important part of creating fun is to know yourself and the activities or things that bring you enjoyment.
Making time for fun in your daily life will do a few things:
- Reduces Stress
- Boost Happiness and Well-being
- Models Self-Care to Your Family
- Increases Energy
- Helps Us to Connect to Family and Friends
I’ve seen a trend in the work I do, with my friends, and in my life: moms often feel they need permission to make time for themselves separate from their families and responsibilities.
Moms have shared making time for themselves (and fun) is challenging because:
- Schedules are packed, and there never seems to be time
- Lack of resources for fun activities
- Limited support from partner/spouse
- Feeling guilty for taking time for oneself
- Not knowing what to do for fun
What I remind moms I support, and myself-making time for fun needs to be a priority, even in small amounts. And here’s something that may put it in perspective for you: when comparing making time for fun-dads make leisure time more of a priority than moms, especially on the weekends.
Survey results from Pew Research (2016) on how moms and dads spend time on the weekend showed the following trends:
- Moms take a little break from childcare on the weekend but not from household chores
- Dads do more housework on the weekend but spend the same amount of time in childcare as moms do
- Dads take advantage of leisure time on the weekends, spending more time in leisure activities (having fun) compared to moms
- Working moms spend most of their free time on the weekend on household chores and tasks
If you have been deprived of fun, I want to encourage you to make fun and leisure a priority. Set aside some time to make a list of the activities you consider fun. Then look over that list and see what is possible to do with the time, resources, and obligations you have for the day and week. And challenge yourself to make fun a priority and notice how you feel and look for the benefits of creating fun. And take a cue from dads-claim your leisure time, make time for fun, and delegate the chores. Make time for you, then fold the laundry or go to the market or vacuum. Because let’s face it, there will always be some household task or chore waiting for you. And your happiness and well-being matters.
© Dr. Claire Nicogossian 2019