Every year, folks all across the U.S. celebrate the independence of our nation from British rule. There are family gatherings and parades, barbecues and fireworks, memorials and air shows. As a kid, any excuse to run around outside, jump into pools, and watch adults launch rockets is gold, but once you hit your 20s the fourth feels a little less... exciting. Thankfully, 4th of July is more fun as a mom, so any "been there, done that" feelings go right out the proverbial window when you have children of your won.
As a kid, I recall most of my Independence Day festivities revolving around my family. Our nation's "birthday" is also my cousin’s birthday, so we’d usually go to her house for an all-day gathering of celebration and festivities. As I grew older, however, everyone started going their separate ways. By the time I hit my early 20s, I was mostly interested in getting together with friends over beer, barbecue, and reruns of the Will Smith classic, Independence Day.
Truth be told, the 4th of July started to feel a bit stale after a few years. Now that I have my son, though, it’s fun to get to pass on some of the old traditions I used to enjoy, and experience them through his eyes. While my feelings on our nation and its “independence” are a bit complex, for now I’m enjoying simply taking part in some Americana-style fun with my little one. If you’re celebrating the 4th as a mom, you might be able to relate:
Because You’ll Actually Wake Up In Time For A Parade
I’d never been to a 4th of July parade before I had my son. In fact, I had no idea they even existed. I’m a sucker for a good parade, though, and will gladly wake up early so my son can enjoy the festivities, too.
Because Parade Swag Is A Thing
For those of you who may not know, the folks participating in parades often hand out goodies to those of us in the crowd. Last year, for example, we got candy, pamphlets, and even a magnet. And, of course, most of it was handed to my kiddo. Fortunately my son’s pretty great about sharing, so it wasn’t too big a deal.
Because Kids Make Family Gatherings More Enjoyable
Family gatherings were my favorite thing when I was a kid. But as I got older, well, not so much. The kids became young adults who would rather hang out with their own friends than their family. Then everyone started having babies and, before you knew it, we were all back together again. Kids gave us a reason to connect with one another, to pass down traditions, and to make new memories.
Plus it’s always entertaining to watch your kids play with your nieces and nephews.
Because Kids Make Everything More Fun
Plenty of families enjoy fun outdoor games during holidays like the 4th of July. Cornhole (or bean bag toss), for example, is a fairly popular 4th of July lawn game for kids and their parents. But you can totally get creative and try things like ring toss or a wheelbarrow race, which your less limber adult relatives might not be very good at but you know the kids will love.
Because You Have An Excuse To Enjoy Water Activities
Whether it’s a dip in the pool or a water balloon fight, an Independence Day backyard barbecue isn’t complete without someone getting a little wet. Your partner might not be too keen on a water gun fight, but kids? Well, kids are ready to go to war with squirt guns and water balloons.
Just make sure you don't have your phone on you during the first attack.
Because Ice Cream Tastes Better When You Share It With Your Kids
In my experience, the 4th of July means is the perfect day for ice cream, and plenty of folks do make it a point to have some (or even make some) on this celebratory day. Whether it’s in a cone or a cup, you’ll be glad to have someone to share it with so half of it doesn’t end up melted on the sidewalk.
Because Sparklers Just Aren’t As Magical When Kids Aren't Around
OK, I know some folks love to light up sparklers for their fancy Instagram shots and all, but for the rest of us sparklers are only cool for about a minute. They tend to burn out fairly quickly, and most adults won’t really light up many more after that. Kids, however, are fascinated with these shiny handheld fireworks and will squeal with delight every time one is lit. And that, my fellow mamas, is something worth enjoying.
Because You Get To Watch Your Kid Watch Fireworks
I still remember the first time I got to see a legit fireworks show. I was maybe 8 or so, and we went to the local community park. I remember standing in the field for quite a while when they suddenly turned down all the lights and these loud, booming noises gave way to a breathtaking display of reds, whites, blues, as well as purples, greens, and yellows. I’m sure my parents were thrilled to see how happy I was, because it’s the same feeling I get whenever I bring my son to a fireworks display. Few things are more magical to a child, or to a parent.
Because You Have A Solid Excuse Not To Stay Out Late
Sure, 4th of July used to be about boozy barbecues with your friends and celebrating until 3:00 a.m., but things are different now. You’ve got a kid (or multiple), and that means you probably want to head home early. There will, of course, always be a friend or two wanting you to stay out and party a little later, but let’s face it: you’re probably exhausted... because what mom isn’t?
“Sorry, my kid needs to get to bed!” Seriously the best excuse ever.