How to Be a Fun Mom (Even When You’re Exhausted)

Look, parenting is HARD. It can be easy to get lost in the drudgery of parenting and forget to be the fun mom you’d always hoped to be. But we’ve been there, and we’ve got your back with this guide for how to be a fun mom, even when you’re EXHAUSTED.

You’ve dreamed of being a mom since you were little. You couldn’t wait to shower them with kisses, host the playdates, go on adventures, and just be a super fun mom.

But then you grew up, and actually had the kids. And instead of being a super fun mom, you found yourself exceedingly exhausted.

So first things first: there is no pressure here to be a fun mom. It may not be the season for that. You can still be a REALLY good mom without being over-the-top in the entertainment department.

But if you are looking for advice on how to be a fun mom, we have concrete, actionable tips that can help make parenting look more like you thought it would.

Here are 20 ways to be a more fun mom, starting today.

mom dancing with child; text: 20 ways to be a fun mom

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Wondering, “Am I A Fun Mom?”

We CANNOT start without saying this undeniable truth: you are doing a wonderful job.

Whether or not you feel like a super fun mom isn’t necessarily relevant. Kids don’t need nonstop entertainment. They just need someone to love them, take care of them, and support them.

The fact that you’re here, trying to do better? That’s proof enough to us that you are amazing, and your kids are lucky to have you.

How to Be a Fun Mom

So we know you’re a good mom, but maybe you’re not having much fun with it. Maybe you and the kids are in a funk, and you’re trying to do better.

We’ve been there.

But to be a fun mom, you have to take care of you, too. You can’t be perpetually exhausted and then be all fun and games all day.

Here are some ways to make sure your “fun” reserves are full enough to share with others.

Get Some Rest

We’re not necessarily talking about sleep- we know you don’t control that- but it’s hard to be a fun mom when you feel like you’re “on” all the time.

Let your kids get bored. Let them learn to entertain themselves. Get creative with childcare solutions. Call upon your partner/friends/village to help you.

You don’t have to do it all, and you certainly don’t have to do it all yourself.

Plan Activites That Light You Up

So often, we plan activities our kids will enjoy. But what about you? What do you think is fun?

Maybe you love to be outside. Maybe you love your bike, or reading, or you used to be on a bowling league. Maybe you love restaurants or movie theaters.

Make a list of things you love, then try to find interests that you can pursue with your kids. Odds are, if mom is having fun, the kids will, too.

It also helps to plan activities for yourself without the kids. Having something just-for-you to look forward to can really help to break up the days, allowing you to be a more fun mom on the day-to-day.

Plan Activities That Light Your Kids Up

Part of feeling like a fun mom is seeing that pure joy in your kids. Sometimes the activities we think of as being super fun are fun for the kids, but sometimes there are simpler things they’d love even more.

There’s a simple solution: ask them!

Ask what their favorite things to do with you are. Ask what they like best. Have them choose between two or three manageable ideas.

Putting them in the driver’s seat sometimes helps them feel like their mom is super fun, and that’s half the battle.

Plan for Special Moments

When I was home with the kids full time, I’d aim for one special thing a day. Something simple- a park trip, or an art project- to bring some joy into each day.

Now, working full time with two kids in school, I aim for one “wow” moment or activity during the week, and one each weekend day. They’re having enough fun at school and after school care, and it’s just my job to add the routine-busters.

Again these can be simple (see our list below) or more extravagant, but they’re an easy way to make sure you’re getting in those special moments regularly.

Ideas for “Fun Mom” Activities

Being a fun mom is about 75% mindset, and 25% doing things that are actively fun. If you say yes when you can, are willing to chase joy with your kiddos, and keep your eye on connection, you are in incredible shape for being remembered as a fun mom.

That being said, it can be hard to figure out how to be a fun mom without, you know, doing fun things sometimes.

This comes more naturally to some than others, and that’s okay. If you struggle with finding fun mom ideas, we’ve got you covered.

Have Some Fun Traditions

We’re not talking about holidays or big celebrations- we’re talking about easy, weekly activities that let your kids have something to look forward to. These traditions are wonderful for bonding, and easier to execute than over-the-top fun activities.

Here are some ideas of traditions to start:

  • Dinner Traditions: Breakfast for dinner on Mondays, Taco Tuesdays, Pizza on Saturdays- it doesn’t matter what it is, but as a preschool teacher, I can tell you that kids think these little dinner traditions are BIG fun.
  • Breakfast Traditions: Donuts on weekends, cinnamon roll Mondays, or Fried-egg Fridays- it’s a super easy way to sneak a little fun into busy mornings.
  • Afterschool Rituals: Weekly trips to the park (“We go every Wednesday!”), riding bikes to school one day a week, or grabbing a sweet treat on Fridays to celebrate the end of the week. It can be so very simple, but so very effective.
  • Family Movie Night: This one doesn’t always have to be done on the same day of the week, but that feeling of snuggling up with popcorn really sticks with kids.

Fun-Mom Activities That Put the Kids in the Driver’s Seat

For many kids, they have very little control over their day-to-day lives. Whenever possible, try to put kids in the driver’s seat, giving them a little power over what the family does.

These can be small or big, simple or extravagant- the idea is just that you simply say yes to your kids’ ideas.

  • Planning Meals: Kids get one day a week or month to decide what’s for dinner. Bonus fun-mom points if they help you prep it!
  • Choosing Between Two Activities: Have a free afternoon? Give your kids two options you’re okay with, and let them decide which the family will do.
  • Let Them Choose Their Clothes: At our house, you can almost always wear what you want as long as it fits the rules of where we’re going (ie it has to be a school uniform for school) and fits the weather. We get to call the shots for bigger things, like weddings, picture day, etc, but we still give the kids some input on this.
  • Say Yes When You Can: If your kids make a request, try to say yes as much as possible. I’m not talking about anything unsafe or unhealthy here. I’m just saying, if they ask to sleep backwards in their bed or eat their dessert first, and there’s no good reason to say no- say yes.
  • Plan a Yes Day: I’ll admit, I am a very fun mom, but I’m not this fun. But it works for many families, so I’m including it here! On a yes day, kids ask for anything they want (ice cream for breakfast! go to the movies! build a fort in the living room!) and parents can’t say no. Feel free to slap boundaries on this as needed.

Things Fun Moms Let Their Kids Do

Look, kids are simple. It doesn’t take much to make them giddy with excitement. So if you’re wondering how to be a more fun mom, there’s tons of simple solutions to amp up the joy factor.

Here’s a list of concrete “fun mom” activities to try.

  • Have their friends over. Kids love having their friends over. Plan a simple snack, a back up plan or craft in case things go south, and let your kiddo put some music on. Just give them the space to just be with their frinds.
  • Be artistic. Nothing says wild fun to kids like art! Check out these process art activities that might just blow your kids’ minds.
  • Use art supplies when they want to! While you’re at it, don’t just make art supplies appear when you want them to. Keep a stock of process art supplies readily available for your kiddos to use.
  • Be Messy. We know, this isn’t for everyone! But kids equate messy play with fun. You can keep it contained- think of things like sensory bins– or take them somewhere messes are completely allowed, like an adventure playground.
  • Get in the kitchen. Our lemonade recipe is a hit (especially when paired with a lemonade stand) or make something cool like ice cream in a bag.
  • Set Up Science Activities. We love this frozen toy challenge (SO easy to set up) or letting kids experiment with baking soda and vinegar. You can also buy this science kit to make it all a little more accessible.
  • Go swimming. Kids love to be in water. Get a gym membership with a pool, find out where the public pools are, set up a sprinkler, hit the beach or the lake. We also have great ideas for outdoor water play.
  • Make special snacks. We love our snow cone machine (find how to make snow cones at home here), our popcorn air popper, and making Kool Aid slushes from scratch. These fancy snacks bring the wow factor for sure!
  • Play music. Kids love to be in charge of music.
  • Get invested in big projects. Let them really explore a big project- making a fort, or setting up a “store.” These activities are so fun, but also so good for kids.
  • Play outside. There’s a whole different world of play outside, so encourage your kids to explore it! Parks, nature centers, even your yard can be exciting to kids. (If your kids are reluctant, this post has ideas on how to play outside and this one has our favorite outdoor toys for young kids.)

Fun Mom Activities to Try

We know, you may have come here looking for some tangible fun-mom activities to give a try. You’re looking for wow factor.

Here are some ways to sprinkle in some fun mom activities (without losing your mind.)

sensory bins, art projects, camping in the living room, ice cream in a bag, science projects,

Fun Moms Don’t Do Everything Fun

Look, you’re a human person. If you try to be fun all the time you’re going to wear yourself right on out (and see our first rule above, about getting enough rest). You can’t do it all.

Being a fun mom is about finding out what’s fun for you, fun for the kids, and doesn’t suck the life out of you. That’s the sweet spot, and once you find it, keep it.

I am not a play-with-my-kids mom. I’m not a shopping-spree mom or a mom who doesn’t care if their rooms are clean. I am shockingly unchill about a lot of things fun mom are chill about.

But I am an activities mom, a go-places mom, and a good-snacks mom. That’s my version of being a fun mom, and my kids love me for it. Find your thing and embrace it.

Hopefully you’ve gotten some actionable ideas about how to be a more fun mom, but we hope even more that you’ve managed to see that you probably already are a pretty fun mom all on your own.

Be intentional about finding joy with your kids, and they’ll remember you as a fun mom long into adulthood.

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