Hold the phone. Stop the elevator. What did she just say? I can't believe she just said, "she doesn't like playing with her children!" How dare her! She is so unmotherly; totally unfit to run her household.
Ok...seriously. Before any of you go off on me, let me explain. I don't HATE playing with my children, I just strongly dislike it ok! I don't know if that makes what I'm saying any easier to grasp but the truth is...I'm just not a "get on the ground, let's play pretend Barbie all day long...WHILE we play school and kitchen" kind of mom. I envy those that are though! I wish I could be more like you but the truth is I'm just not.
My kids have learned early on how to play pretend and entertain themselves. And if that's sad to you I'm sorry, but that's what works for me and my parenting. That's not to say that I never play with them because trust me I do, but I refuse to sit around all day being dictated by what my 4 year old wants to play next. Sometimes I feel guilt about it and other times I feel complete freedom from it.
I believe (and these again are my beliefs and what work for my parenting) that kids that run the show all day long with their parents often times forget how to entertain themselves; they consequently never learn the importance of self-imposed play.
Now I'm not at all saying that I have this whole "play-ratio" down. I often struggle with balance and admittedly being caught up in my own personal happenings (aka my phone). But parents...here are some things I think we all need to be reassured of...
- We all parent differently.
- We are all doing the BEST we can!
- Our children do not need our 100% undivided attention all. the. time.
- It is ok to let your child fend for themselves every once in a while (let them make their own lunch, get their own cup of water, clean up their room).
You might be thinking...well, my child is too little to play on their own, let alone make their own LUNCH. But let me tell you something, back in the olden days...children had "jobs" at 2 and 3 years old. My husbands grandpa told me once that at 3 his job was to empty the ashes from wood burning stove every day and that was at THREE!
Kids are WAY more capable than we give them credit for. And I'm speaking for myself too. I am a control freak/perfectionist so when it comes to messes, arts and crafts, cleanliness, and the dreaded letting them pick out their own outfit...I can get a bit crazy. I'll admit it. I have a lot of work to do in this department.
But what I've found is that when I have "let go" of what I think I should be doing, and start creating a routine that not only works for me but allows my children to learn a little self-discipline, my world spins round so much smoother.
My kid is completely capable of getting her own spoon for her cereal, heck she even knows how to put her spoon and bowl in the dishwasher (and she learned that at THREE). She loves to set the table for dinner, put her afternoon snack in a baggy, and wipe her own rear end! She doesn't do everything perfectly, or how I might, but at least she doesn't need me to do it. And what's better, is she's showing her younger siblings how to do things on their own as well.
It's our job as parents to not only nurture and love our children, but to teach them what it means to respect time and those around them. We can't decieve them into believing that we are going to be able to wait on them hand and foot because that's just not reality.
When it counts, play with them, put aside your phone, computer, house work, whatever...and for those few short moments, give everything you have to your children. They don't need a long time, they don't even need to "play" necessarily. They just need for you to engage with them, take interest in them, and love them in a way that no one else can.
Turn the music up in the kitchen and dance, put on a concert in the playroom, run around the backyard like a madwoman (who cares what the neighbors think); just stop what you're doing and be a kid for a few short moments, even if that means you have to set the timer for 15 minutes so you can see that there's an end in sight. You don't even have to like it, but I guarentee you, you won't be able to contain your happiness once you see the way your children look at you.
We are all in this parenting thing together. It's our duty to lift each other up and encourage each other along the way. We got this friends! Stay strong!
Thank you for stopping by my little corner of this big huge internet world! I am honored!
Did you see our video for The Bucket List Family??? See HERE!