family life

Becoming a Fun Mama

If you follow me on facebook or twitter, you’ve likely seen me talk about earning “Fun Mama” points. This little batch of recent photo booth silliness earned me 6 Fun Mama points, which brought my total for the day to 9.5 (on a scale of 1-10); that makes this my highest scoring day of Fun Mama-ness yet!

Mother Daughter Photobooth Fun

Being a Fun Mama does not come easily for me. In my house, I am the Responsible One, the Voice of Reason. I’m the Reminder, too; I can’t NOT remind the kids to make their beds, put away dirty cups, and so on…

But I don’t want to be the Nagging Mom. I don’t want my family’s only memories of me to consist of something along the lines of, “Mama kept a clean house and taught me the habit of making my bed every day.” That’s all well and good, but not very conducive to heart-winning — and heart-winning is exactly what is needed in my kids’ lives.

I’m still learning what this heart-winning looks like with Lindsey, but we’re making progress. However, I’ve learned the formula for winning Kathryn’s heart, and it’s being a “Fun Mama.” Thankfully, this doesn’t require anything as drastic as back-flips or roller coasters or anything of that sort. It simply requires letting her know by use of my time that she is important to me.

A few ways I earn Fun Mama points:

  • reading aloud
  • doing an art or handiwork project together
  • snuggling on the sofa
  • styling her hair (or even her doll’s hair!)
  • playing a game (extra points for wii since she knows I don’t like video games)
  • painting her nails
  • posing with a penguin
  • surprise trip to our favorite frozen yogurt place

I quickly lose Fun Mama points if I’m on the computer too much. She understands that I do need time to write, to edit photos, and to catch up on email, etc., and she’s okay with it as long as I show her that she is a priority over all of that.

We’ve also talked about how she can help me have the energy and enthusiasm left to be fun: things like doing chores without me having to repeatedly remind her, not arguing or having a bad attitude, and cheerfully doing her schoolwork.

When I lay down with her for a few minutes each night at bedtime, I ask how I did that day, and she gives me a “Fun Mama rating.” Before I began this more intentional heart-winning, she says my typical day’s score was about a two. Ouch!

Now, most days I earn at least a 5 or 6. We began all this Fun Mama stuff (including the rating system) was a day when Ken and Lindsey were gone all day and Kathryn anticipated an awful, boring day. Instead, we read, snuggled, talked, played games, and drank hot chocolate. That night, she told me I’d earned a 9 for the day.

Already this little girl of mine has becoming a young lady, and as the years go by, I want to remain a much stronger influence than friends or media or boys. That will only happen if I’m intentional about our relationship NOW.

“… walk, not as unwise but as wise, making the best use of the time…” Ephesians 5:15b-16a

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Tricia @ Hodgepodge

Oh – I am the reminder too. It’s definitely a balance wearing all the hats of Mama. But, yes, so very important to be intentional about the FUN. Love this.

Barb Martin

What a great encouragement. I’m the no fun…take life to literal mom. Thanks for the challenge.


Ah, too many days I’m not a Fun Mama!! Thanks for reminding me of the importance of taking the time to do what my girls think is fun.

What a wonderful reminder, Jamie. I don’t even want to know what my score would be if I asked my kids right now, but thanks to your post, maybe I can start working on bringing it up.


Great post. I am fortunate that my daughter thinks I’m a fun mom. (She says I’m the most fun mom of all her friends. Wow, does that make me happy!) I think the key is knowing what matters. Relationship matters far more than the bathroom being clean. I’ve learned the hard way to let things go. It just doesn’t matter if the carpet is not vacuumed. Doing that messy craft is far more valuable.

Delana Stewart

Hi Jamie,
Great advice! We do need to take time each day in our schedule to take off our serious hats and put on the fun ones!


I’m sure my kids would not give me too many Fun Mama points. I am the perfectionist, the busy woman, the “uptight” one, always worrying about what others might think. Sometimes I feel that we are living parallel lives, and that is very sad. I love your post. I hope I still have time to earn some Fun Mama points before my children are all grown up (my youngest is 13). Thanks so much for the inspiration and maybe my kids will even thank you for new glimpses of a “Fun Mama”!


Way to go, Fun Mama!
Thanks for being an encouragement to us as well:)


Backflips and joining in roller coaster rides, she can get that from other people. However, only you can give her fun and memorable experiences with her mom.

Annie Kate

Wow, you’re right. We read aloud a lot and I try to play games and smile, but sometimes I have to be tough. It helps when I apologize for being tough and explain to them how I have to, for their own good and because God wants me to. I think that helps keep their hearts as well.
Thanks so much!


I love this idea! i am the voice of reason too.

Jami @ An Oregon Cottage

What a terrific reminder, Jamie! Too many times I am not the fun mama. 🙁 It was easier when they were little kids – that life stage just sorta demands attention. 🙂 It’s as they’ve grown older that I feel I miss opportunities with them when they’re home. Thanks for the reminder to keep giving them memories that are fun!

Jenn LeBow

I love this post! I’m going to ask my kiddos for lists of what they think are good “Fun Mama” activities. Thanks.

Adelle Gabrielson

I came by because of your hair…but this post was about ME. Except as a boy-mama, I never get to paint anyone’s nails but my own, and Fun Points in my house would be earned sword-fighting or participating in burping contests. But I totally relate and needed this reminder! Lovely, lovely…


What a great idea! I am the voice of reason in our home as well. I have been working on the “fun Mama” status more, though I haven’t called it that or asked my children to rate me. Pondering…
Kingdom Life & Blessings

Melissa Scott

A an adoptive, homeschool momma of 10 children ages 4 to 16, (8 daughters and 2 sons) I appreciate this encouragement sooooo much! I want to be a fun mommy! I have also told our children when they complete their chores, obey, have happy attitudes, get along, do their schoolwork, etc. momma has more space left in the day for fun, and laughter versus consuming our time re-training, reminding, refereeing, and correcting. Thank you for the great ideas! Inspiring! ~Melissa,(formerly realmom8, recently became realmom10)


I just discovered your blog from a Pinterest board and love it! I can’t wait to read everything! Just signed up for the the updates. I think it will fan the fire within me! My passion is changing the world one spark of kindness at at time and kids LOVE this!!! Kids naturally desire to be kind, to help others!! I really want to start Sparks of Kindness days/groups in schools before bullying kicks in. I started a FB group Sparks of Kindness only 2 months ago and has spread worldwide with over 2,200 people who want to make a… Read more »


Thanks for the great post! I am not that much of a fun mom and have been trying to be more intentional with my kids. Your ideas are great and I had stumbled upon a few on my own which earned me a “you’re my favorite, mom” from my 5 year old. That warmed my heart, especially since daddy is typically her favorite ( he is way more fun than me!)

Jen Wieber

Oh my goodness! I feel like you and I could be sisters!! How is it that you can put into words exactly what I struggle with around these here parts? You really touched on something that makes a whole lot of sense to me…I work from home and I, too, juggle homeschooling and reeeeaaaalllly don’t want to be the nagging mom, the responsible one who always has to remind them to do the things they are forgetting to do….never mind that they inherited their forgetfulness from ME!! I struggle so badly with trying to balance the fun mom and that… Read more »