I think I’ve forgotten how to have fun.

For my husband, fun comes naturally. It always has. He can find lighthearted enjoyment in almost any situation, and I love that about him. He frequently and sweetly tells me, “I just want you to be able to have fun.” To which I reply, “I can’t.” Mostly because I forgot how.

Somewhere along the way, I convinced myself that walking the dog, grocery shopping, and watching reality TV was a perfectly fine substitute for actual fun and true play.

I get so caught up in the pattern of taking care of kids-work-dishes-laundry-repeat that I’ve lost what it means to relax and enjoy simple, honest fun. 

Those rare moments when I do allow myself to enjoy my surroundings, (usually after the kitchen is clean) are some of the best and most memorable times. Even if only for a few minutes, those times when I blow bubbles in the yard, throw the Frisbee around with my son, or do the Macarena spontaneously with the girls, are truly when I’m at my happiest.

A few weeks ago, prompted by a car-ride conversation about makeup, I let the kids take their turns at giving me a makeover. The kids giggled uncontrollably, and I laughed harder that night than I had in a long time. My face was a mess, but when I looked back on the pictures we took, I realized I also looked more like myself than in any other group pictures or ridiculous selfies I had taken. I looked like myself because I let my guard down and had real, honest, belly-laughing fun.

While I may have forgotten how to have fun, the good news is that I live with four people who are ready to show me how to again.

All I have to do is leave the to-do list behind and the dishes in the sink, put my phone away, and give myself permission to follow their lead into the moments I need the most in my life.

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Jessica Janssen Wolford

I’m Jess. Mom to the best kid in the entire world. Step-mom to the best step-daughters ever made. Wife to a truly amazing husband, who isn’t worried at all that I might be going a bit crazy by sharing our story with the world. Follow me on Facebook or Twitter or at www.astepintherightdirection.live.