Face it: as moms, we feel the pressure of doing it all. Whether or not we work outside the home, we still try to pour 36 hours worth of responsibilities into a 24 hour day. And now we have to feel guilty because we aren’t devoting enough time to playing with our children? When are we supposed to do that- in between loads of laundry or trying to make sure dinner doesn’t burn? (Anyone who is reading this and knows me is laughing because I do neither laundry nor cook on a regular basis!) Isn’t it sad that the very children we couldn’t wait to bring into this world, are trying to get but mere minutes of our attention each day? There has to be a better way.
If you’re anything like me, Mondays were always a big deal. Mondays were when the rabbit food diets started, the cold turkey quitting of smoking occurred and it was the day my entire life was going to come together. Fast forward to Tuesday, and I could be found with a cigarette in one hand and a bag of Doritos in the other. The reason I mention this is so that you don’t set a goal for yourself that is, while admirable, completely unrealistic. Please do not read this and say, “Ok that’s it. Tomorrow (which just happens to be Monday) I will spend the entire day playing with my child, and I will do that each and every day from now until eternity.” I think we all know how well that plan will execute. One Facebook alert ping or one dirty sock on the floor and your whole plan is amiss. If you take away anything from reading this post, let it be that you should set a goal that works for your lifestyle. I usually suggest striving toward 30 minutes of dedicated time to play each day. It may not sound like much, but do you know how long 30 minutes can be when playing with a small child?!
We spend so much time catering to the whims of our children, trying to remain in their comfort zone, that we tend to forget about our own comfort zone. Playing with your children does not have to compromise who you are and what you enjoy. If you enjoy crafts, make a craft with your child. If you enjoy music, then sing and dance. If you enjoy rolling on the floor pretending you are (insert character du jour here), then do it! Playing with your child should be reciprocal. You should not be made to feel like a captive. On the contrary, by framing the activity for your child, they will learn quite a few skills. Most importantly, they will learn to adapt to various personality types, which is essential to their emotional intelligence. While they may always remember and throw in your face how you only played Scrabble with them (sorry, Mom, but its true!), they will also remember the fun times you had during those activities. Do not let playing with your child become restrictive; let it be liberating as you get to know your child as the little person they are!
Your questions, comments, concerns and cries of outrage are welcome! If you do not want to post, you can contact me privately at firstname.lastname@example.org.