In January 2015 I made a resolution – “to play more”. To stop whatever urgent task it was… and play. Never mind that I was in the fog of breastfeeding a 3 month old. She was fine on the play front, however there were two others growing up too fast and precious moments not to be missed. Right?
My resolution reflected my desire to stop the busy-ness and enjoy the fleeting moment. It’s a lofty ambition when the ‘moments’ are 24/7 and any moments of sweet loveliness (theirs) can be swiftly followed by frustrated yelling (mine). It can be 4 parenting seasons in one day at my place!
But play. Back to that. I was seeing the photos and cool stories arrive in my inbox from preschool and I was missing out! So I would stop and play. Simple. The chores would wait.
And here’s three things I learned:
1. I don’t wanna!
I don’t always want to play that game! Like children I have likes and dislikes too and I don’t always want to play the game my children want to. I’ve learned that if I want to stop and engage with my kids I need to find a middle ground between what they want to do, and what I enjoy doing.
Want to bake a cake! Sure, what kind? Play hide and seek? Coming, ready or not! Drive hot wheels’ cars round and round an imaginary race track? You need to ask your father.
2. The entertainment officer I am not.
Like anything, it’s about balance. In making my resolution I was committed to trying to stop and play more often. Yet in doing so, I learned that I am not solely responsible for my children’s entertainment.
In this parent’s view children should be encouraged to learn to entertain themselves. It helps their creativity, their independence and their problem solving skills. In my house “I’m bored” is met with “Great, here’s an opportunity for you to use your imagination!”
3. It’s okay to struggle with play!
I’ve learned that as a mother I wear many hats and some are more important to me than others. It’s my job to cuddle and calm over-tired children, to stay up at night when sickness visits and to create the magic of Christmas. If I can’t always stop and play, you know what? That’s ok
The Verdict …
So, how have I gone with my ‘play more’ resolution? Ok I think. It’s a bit hard to tell because the one thing you can give your children is the one thing they will always want more of. Your time.
Finally, here’s us. Baking up a storm!