“In Every Job that must be done
There is an element of fun,
You find the fun, and snap
The job’s a game!”
Walt Disney’s Mary Poppins
According to author Bob Nelson, our work should be fun, since we spend a significant amount of our lives immersed in it. In his article for Harvard Business Review entitled Why Work Should Be Fun Nelson says,
“Research suggests that fun has a positive impact on employee engagement, creativity, and retention.”
Whether you are a mom with a full-time corporate job, or, like me, you have a small side job, but your full-time job IS your home and children, Nelson’s suggestions for fun can be incredibly helpful. I certainly agree that a positive attitude can make a world of difference. Motherhood is relentless. It is wonderful work, but intense work nonetheless, a job that can be equally rewarding and exhausting. While I am no Mary Poppins, my kids and I have learned to try to find the fun whenever we can. Many days we sing to music in the car, read aloud a cleverly written story, I write down the cute things my kids say and do, or my children share puns and silly dad jokes, making the every day living of our lives much less of a grind.
In her article Relationships Build Resilience, Maren Daines, (Juris Doctor, Family Law and Policy Liahona Magazine), encourages parents:
“Play and have fun. Playing together provides many opportunities for connection and learning. This can be as simple as playing peekaboo with your baby, imagining with your toddler, or laughing with your teen. For all ages, having fun together relieves tension, encourages optimism, and increases positive communication. Enjoying time with our children helps them develop a positive view of themselves and their world. Interestingly, research suggests that playing with our children strengthens the parts of the brain in charge of things like planning, regulating emotions, and getting along with others.”
There are challenging days in every family, but finding the spoonful of sugar, can make the
tougher moments easier to swallow. I am blessed that my children get along extremely well. Still, I have four busy teenagers with lives and chores and homework, and never enough hours to get everything done. So, how can we continually attempt to whistle while we work?
Gary K. Palmer, (Teaching Professor of Recreation Mangement and Youth Leadership at Brigham Young University), spoke of this in his article entitled The Power of Laughter:
“If we will learn to laugh and play more with our families, not only will we feel better but so will they. “A merry heart doeth good like a medicine,” says Proverbs 17:22. Studies show that humor and laughter help people live longer, happier lives; be more creative and productive; and have more energy with less physical discomfort. Humor reduces stress, fear, intimidation, embarrassment, and anger. Laughter also has extraordinary healing power. When a person laughs, blood pressure decreases, heart rate and respiration increase, the body releases endorphins, and depression declines.
Laughter and play are closely related. Play puts everyone on an equal footing . . . Play brings families together. It is a subtle tool for interaction and talk. . . Through play we develop relationships naturally. We tend to like people we have fun with. Play allows us to use our minds and break out of familiar molds. It allows us to explore more. . .
Laughter is like getting away without going away. It gives you a break. . .
Laughter improves communication and builds relationships because everyone laughs in the same language. Your children will remember your humor much longer than they will the things you buy them. Children are more receptive when they are having fun. Laughter helps us remember. And we remember what we feel.”
Parenting is incredibly beautiful, but also incredibly difficult. As soon as one crisis is solved, another is coming at you fast. Sometimes, despite the fact that I truly love my kids, I feel downright grumpy. But I want to channel Snow White and whistle a tune while I clean up the messes. I want to be more like Mary Poppins and find the spoonful of sugar that will bring us closer and help us get through that hard work of being a family. I'm thankful for these reminders to find fun in my work, to play together, and to see reasons to laugh. I love this job! I wouldn't trade it for anything. I hope that as my kids look back at all the work, they will remember the sweetness too.