If you’ve ever watched “The Goldbergs” then you’ve probably laughed until you’ve cried and thoroughly enjoyed the sitcom’s hilariously nostalgic glimpse of a family raising their three kids in the 1980’s.
My favorite character is Beverly, the matriarch of the family. She is a vivacious, loving, sometimes obnoxious, and overprotective mom with a wide array of bedazzled, gaudy sweaters and an Eighties hairdo to die for. So, yeah…she’s pretty much awesome.
Now, I’m not saying I want to be just like Bev (as I like to call her since I now we’d be friends), but I love how she keeps things fun and light-hearted in her home as much as she can. She always finds a reason to bust out a humiliating Eighties dance move, to hug her kids a little tighter, or to kiss them on the cheek a ridiculous number of times. Bev is constantly feasting on the life that she has been given. She likes to be involved with whatever is of interest to her husband and kids…sometimes a little too much. Okay, so Bev’s a little on the extreme, hovering side, but she’s so much fun to watch!
So, why am I yapping on and on about my TV friend, Beverly Goldberg? I LOVE how she’s not afraid to lose her “cool” and have fun with her kids. I think most moms, including myself, have a tendency to get stuck on autopilot while raising our kids. I don’t want to put laughter on the shelf while my kids are growing up. We need to have fun with them WHILE teaching them all the things they need to know. It’s not just on television…it CAN be done. And, here’s a few ways how:
1. We need to not take ourselves too seriously and fill our homes with laughter as much as we can.
It’s so easy to shut down emotionally when we feel like the house is a total wreck, there are deadlines to make, and our kids aren’t listening to anything we say. Believe me, I find myself in that predicament a lot. Yes, we need to be authoritative parents with expectations and follow-through on consequences, but we don’t have to yell our heads off or slam doors to get our kids attention. In fact, I’ve found that I get their best attention when I resist falling into “mom on the verge” mode.
Just this morning, I found myself nagging, Cooper, our eldest son, about getting to the bus stop on time. He tends to dilly dally in the morning…sometimes on purpose, I think. It drives me crazy, and I hate how I often end up sending him off with a frustrated undertone in my voice and demeanor. So, I decided to change it up and add some embarrassing humor to the mix. Once again, Coop was dragging his feet getting ready, and I was on to him. I was playing dress-up with my three year-old and noticed a red, Ninja Turtle eye mask in the toy box. I put it on my face, looked Cooper square in the eye (with a goofy grin on my face, I’m sure), and said, “Coop, if you aren’t at that bus stop within the next five minutes, I am going to walk you there myself, AND I’m going to wear this mask.” Needless to say, he ran out the door in three minutes flat, and, thankfully, both he and I had smiles on our faces instead of grimaces.
2. We need to think outside the box and switch things up every once in awhile.
It’s so exhausting to do the same thing over and over, especially when it comes to raising our kids. Routine is great and needed to create stability, but throwing something new in the mix every now and then is a good thing. When I was growing up, my parents taught me the importance of an education, and I LOVED school. I took school very seriously, and in high school, I would study for hours into the night preparing for the ACT and AP exams. During that time, my mom did something that I will never forget. Every now and then, she would come to the school office and ask to check me out of school. I always assumed I had an orthodontist appointment (since I had braces FOREVER), but on a few occasions, she checked me out of school “to have fun”. I remember the first time she did it, and my nerdy self completely freaked out. I couldn’t believe MY MOTHER was having me skip school, and with her nonetheless! Just to clarify, she would never check me out on a test day, and we usually just went out to lunch. Mom was trying to switch things up and have an unexpected special moment with me before I left college. I am not a natural rebel, but those three outings were pretty fun. More importantly, they were special moments spent with my mom.
3. We need to share our authentic selves with our kids, especially our sense of humor.
We have the best time when my kids and I tell jokes or act silly together. Out of our four sons, our most serious one loves to laugh the most. Go figure! He loves to read “Diary of a Wimpy Kid” books and tell me all about the funniest scenes, which usually have something to do with poop. I love seeing him cackle as he retells the stories.
In our home, we LOVE to laugh. We love to go see funny movies, share impressions of different accents or characters, and make up song parodies about random things. Our three year-old Chandler knows the tune to the “Rocky” theme song only because we used to sing it to him all the time, using his nickname “Bambine” in the lyrics, when he was very little. Both Dave and I have a quirky sense of humor, and we want our kids to know that part of us. I don’t want to get lost in the day-to-day and hold that in. Our kids need to know and enjoy the best parts of who we truly are. You don’t need to go “pull a ‘Beverly'” to be funny (in fact, don’t); just be your own silly self. And, isn’t sharing a good belly-laugh with your kids one of the best feelings ever?
I want laughter to always be the soundtrack of our family life. I want the kids to remember my smile more than my furrowed brow. Life is too short, and childhood is even shorter. Let’s have fun with our kids while we still have the chance.