Posted on November 17 2016
You’re a mom. So, really, you’re the caterer, the cleaner, the taxi driver, the tutor, the referee, the nurse, and the guidance counselor (or as my husband calls it — the reality facilitator). These are all the amazing things your kids see in you everyday.
However, one of the most enjoyable things I've discovered about having kids is surprising them at the most unexpected times. Those are the magic moments I get to connect with my inner child and truly play with my children. In the spirit of celebrating the playfulness in all of us, here are a few of my favorite ways to surprise the kids.
1. Surprise Adventure
In my house, I’m famous for the surprise adventure. I do it for both my kids and my husband. A few of my favorite ways to surprise them? Sometimes I’ll pick them up from school and take them to the airport for an impromptu trip. Or I’ll tell them we’re going out for breakfast and instead drive them to a theme park. It’s amazing how good I’ve become at being vague without raising any alarm bells. From kayaking to horseback riding, the joy never fails when they figure it out. For our family, these surprises make the memories of a lifetime.
2. Become a Sous Chef
My kids love to cook, and I’m more than happy to leave it up to them. They look at the ingredients we have in the house and decide what to make. I’m then their humble assistant where they tell me what to do. All the way from prepping plates to slicing and dicing, they’re in charge and beaming with pride when they bring the plates to the table. I’ve come to expect hamburgers, but they’re made with love!
3. Family Movie Night: Mom’s Pick
I have two boys, so I know if I leave the movie choice to them, it’s guaranteed we’ll end up watching a superhero, action, or sci-fi movie. So, I love to surprise them with a film of my choice, usually something girly and classic. The other day we watched the Disney classic remake Cinderella. That’s right, I watched the movie with my three boys (husband included) and, although they would deny it, they all loved it. Other favorites we’ll happily sing along to: Mary Poppins, The Sound of Music, Swiss Family Robinson, and Annie. That’s right, they know all the words thanks to their mom’s favorites and they love every movie moment.
4. Their Game, Their Way
My kids love making up games. Usually they’re games they play with other kids, but they love it when I play too. Recently, we played one of their inventive games in the pool. Similar to baseball, you have to swim around all four corners without getting tagged. There were rules on when you could move, number counting, base stealing and much, much more. Of course, there were endless rule changes (reasons why I couldn’t possibly win) and plenty of laughter.
5. Rediscovering Your Passions
We all know how important creativity is in childhood, but it’s easy to see it as superfluous as adults. A few years back, my oldest son was thriving in art class. He wanted to draw my portrait, and so he studiously pored over his paper with pencil, intently glancing up at me every few seconds. I was inspired. I don’t think I’d picked up a pencil and pad for many years (long before I’d even had children, in fact it may have been as far back as university) but I said, “I’ll draw you too.” So we drew each other. As I studied his long eyelashes and the creases where his nose leads to the corners of his mouth, I rediscovered something I’d completely forgotten I’d loved. When I showed my son the drawing, he was overjoyed, and in a complete role-reversal, he took it to school to proudly show off. It’s something he’s kept ever since.