Are you the fun parent?

paintBefore I had children, I worked with them. I taught art and science through the Maine Discovery Museum in Bangor, Maine. I tutored through the public school system. I was a classroom aid. I was blessed with stupidity about what it means to have kids, and so naturally I thought I would be a super fun Mom.


Turns out, I am the stern parent with all the boring rules about washing hands and being quiet, not poking out eyes or calling people stupid. I am Mom, the anti-fun brigade. I expect good manners and at least some modicum of cleanliness from my children. And when that fails, we just stay home.

Dad, on the other hand, is the fun parent. And yes, I get jealous. My oldest son looks at his Dad with a kind of unsullied adoration that makes me want to apologize for ever making him pick up his toys or ask to be excused from the dinner table.

This afternoon, while I was inside tending to the youngest of our clan, my husband told my oldest son that he could paint the side of the house. With his fingers. And the hose was totally free game too.

When I came outside I found a four year-old boy covered head to toe with finger paint that appeared to dripping off him into pools of primary colors. Behind him was a lovely new mural.

Boys. They really are roving, whirling, shards of noise with dirt on them. And manners or no, I wouldn’t have it any other way.

Sarah Cottrell

About Sarah Cottrell

Sarah Cottrell is a member of the Stay-At-Home-Mom Club and proud herder of two loud boys. She earned her MFA in 2012 and then accidentally washed it in a load of laundry. Sarah's work can be found on popular websites like Mamalode, BlogHer, and Scary Mommy. Her work will appear in two new parenting anthologies in 2015.