An Adultitis Fighter is someone who rallies against rules that don’t exist and engages in ruthless, senseless acts of silliness that undermine Adultitis and its unadventurous version of adulthood. Once a month, we shine a light upon the most remarkable among us, holding them up as a dazzling example of what we should strive for in this epic battle against a formidable enemy.
Jana Mauldin is a first-class Adultitis Fighter who challenges Adultitis in a dance battle and wins!! With a bright spirit and a kind heart, Jana sets a shining example for family and friends (just as her mom does!). She fully invests in the power of play both with her kids and the adults in her life. An advocate of “yes” in a world full of “no,” Jana brings joy and laughter and fun!
In recognition of their efforts, Adultitis Fighters of the Month receive a special mini-canvas hand-painted by Jason, along with a certificate of honor, a sweet patch, and other Adultitis-Fighting tools. We asked Jana some questions about how she fights the Big A and what advice she has for others…
What are some of your favorite ways to fight Adultitis?
I love to catch myself when I have a case of Adultitis and break free from it with a dance party. I have had dance parties in the kitchen, in the car, while vacuuming, walking down the halls at work, in my cubicle, while folding laundry, just before presenting a workshop, and more.
Playing with my kiddos is my favorite way to keep up the good fight too, and when I say play, I mean it. If they’re on the slip and slide, so am I. Another of my favorite methods is to play games with my husband and keep the competitive spirit flowing, especially when we’ve had a long hard day of adulting far too hard. He is a constant silly influence on the family that I am grateful for.
I also love singing Disney tunes at the top of my lungs while baking with my girls, tasting the ingredients, and batter along the way.
Who or what has been the greatest influence in your own fight against Adultitis?
My mother is my role model for parenting, and parenting is probably what ironically triggers my Adultitis more than anything (as well as being the best way to fight it.) My mom, Shelly Hicks, has a sense of humor that can’t be topped. She brings fun to every gathering and reminds us to laugh through all parts of life, including when life is tough. My mom taught me to “never say no when you can say yes,” and it’s the best Adultitis-fighting advice I’ve ever received. It allows me the reminder that it’s okay to say yes to ice cream at 3:00, yes to camping in the basement, and yes to “Mommy, play with me” moments. (It’s also quite helpful with parenting teenagers now, because “no” has meaning.)
My mom instilled in us faith, hope, and love… sprinkled with laughter. Here’s a recent example: My father is battling a neurodegenerative disease and has lost a lot of physical mobility. While at the hospital for a check-up, the nurse who was taking an x-ray accidentally left him unattended and he fell from his wheelchair to the floor. The nurse was obviously struggling with guilt about the incident as she retold the story to my mom. My mom’s response… “Dave, did you remember to tuck and roll?” He chuckled, she giggled, and the nurse was forgiven with love and laughter.
What is something you loved doing as a child that you still do in some form today?
Singing and dancing, baking, playing on the slip and slide, eating blue moon ice cream, blowing bubbles, playing board games, coloring, and making forts.
What is your strategy for dealing with people who are obviously infected with Adultitis?
Empathy is an incredible tool that I resonate with, and I believe strongly in the power of human connection. I won’t be able to share the power of escaping adulthood by lecturing anyone about their behavior, so I try to listen and really hear what is troubling them. Once connected, I find that modeling vulnerability can be infectious. (I have learned a lot from Brené Brown’s work on shame and vulnerability!)
What advice do you have for someone who is feeling overwhelmed by Adultitis?
I think taking the time to remember a childhood simple pleasure is a powerful strategy to ground someone who is too caught up in their own mind. Once that simple pleasure is remembered, can you do/have that thing you love now? Did you love spraying the hose into the air as high as you possibly could? Go do it. Let your kids watch. Let them try. Was it eating watermelon in a swimsuit after running through the sprinkler? Ask yourself what’s really stopping you from doing that again. I wish more people in the world allowed themselves to enjoy things they did as kids without fear of stigma. If you would feel more comfortable doing something like that with kids around, then invite some over!
Anything else you’d like to share?
I didn’t feel worthy of this award at first, because I have seen some incredible Adultitis fighters in my life after first being introduced to the Kotecki family via Sue Gudenkauf and Jenna Regis. After recognizing the shame spiral I was in about “not being enough” and asking for a friend’s perspective, I realized that our family’s activities can be a witness for others and it’s not my job to determine what is worthy. Don’t forget that one Adultitis-fighting activity or mindset might be all it takes for the contagion to begin!
Congrats to Jana Mauldin, June 2020 Adultitis Fighter of the Month. Thank you for making the world more awesome!