Add “FUN” to Your To-Do List

Moose Hunting…fly fishing…and horses. What do they have to do with graduation? Read on…

Spring is here! It takes me back to my daughter’s senior year of high school. There were a thousand things to do: making the final decision about which college to choose, selecting the right dorm, sending in recs for sorority rush, prom, graduation invitations, gifts. Then the plans for the party afterwards. Then Senior Trip. Not to mention the “last” everything before summer hits and then the “first” everything getting them ready to go to college!

A mother’s to-do List is never done. Yikes!

Perfection Gets In The Way

It’s time to stop and think about what you want that “last” semester to look like for your child.

You want to send them off to college happy and healthy. You want them to have the happiest of memories EVER so they will always want to return—sort of like the swallows at Capistrano—except more often!

What I did not realize at the time was that most of my efforts at creating the PERFECT last semester were often adding more stress and chaos rather than peace and love. My stress level, both emotionally and physically, made me snappish and angry because I wanted everything not just color coded and themed, but perfect. Anything less would not meet my standards. The other moms might—horror of horrors—see me as something less.

The real issue is that you want your children to know how much you love them. Moms often do this by acts of service. We go to all this effort in a quest for expressing love. But are we really going at it in the right way?

It’s Springtime For You and Your Child

Let’s look at this another way. Winter is over. Think about your child’s whole childhood as winter. It’s coming to an end. (Don’t despair! Hang with me on this.)

Spring has sprung!  Your child is about to enter an exciting time in his/her life. A rebirth if you will. A time to take all that you have taught them and fly out into the world!

Time for FUN!

Attitude of spring: Let’s make their flight FUN!

Remember the saying “All work and no play makes John a dull boy?” Well, all work and no play makes Janet cranky and irritable.

So you don’t get bogged down in all the “to do” stuff, make sure you plan some time for some “want to do” stuff. Your family, your student and you need it. I did.

Want to know how I got through?

Confessions of a Perfectionist

That spring didn’t start off well. I was a Type A personality. My to-do list was my mission. I experienced the pain of the imminent departure of my daughter.

That’s when I remembered that pain is often the best teacher. Sometimes pain shines the best light on a solution.

I realized something important. I made a vow that whatever I was doing those last months did not have to perfect, but it did have to be FUN!

I gave myself permission to NOT be Martha Stewart. I stayed off Pinterest… OK, to be honest, I cut back on Pinterest. I added some “I didn’t have to’s” to my to-do list. I loosen my reins on perfection.

And you know what? Graduation still happened. The world didn’t stop turning. We were ok. I was ok.

Most important, I also added FUN.

Fun was a carrot in front of my nose. I planned a mother-daughter trip to a dude ranch in Montana after graduation. After we did all our work getting her graduated and ready for college, we were going to play!

She loved to ride horses. I loved to fly fish and we both love moose. They are big and lanky and awkward, but they are also majestic creatures. Every night we would get in our car and “hunt” them with our camera.

Ten years later my daughter still remembers our TOF – Trip of Fun. We made a memory that will last both of our lifetimes. It sweetened my memories as I said good-bye to her and sent her out into the world hoping against hope she would soar.

How to Add FUN to your To-Do List

Here are a few tips about how to add FUN to your to-do list:

  1. Literally write “FUN” at the top of your to-do list every day. If there is not a way to make your task fun, then just don’t do it! Yes, anything can be made fun. Get creative!
  2. Make it your mantra this year: “It doesn’t have to be perfect, but it does have to be fun.” Say it over and over. Write it on your bathroom mirror. Tape it to your dashboard.
  3. Look for those special moments with your child. Savor one-on-one time. Plan a special day or a special trip for just the two of you. It’s not a time to say good-bye but a time to welcome your child to the exciting adult world that is waiting for them.
  4. Plan for your future. What will you get involved in after they leave home? It’s springtime for you too! Bask in the joy of having done your job well. You have reared an adult and you are sending them out into the world. Pat yourself on the back and then write down what you want to do with the next chapter of YOUR life. Come hell or high water, do it!


What tips can you add to this list? Write them in the comments below!

Janet Byington I’m Janet Byington, a former school administrator who helps parents build confidence, motivation, and mental toughness in their soon-to-be college students. Work with me.

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