I know what you’re thinking. I’m so mean. But it’s true, I don’t play with my kids and I’ll tell you why, it’s simple really. I want my kids to develop creativity and use their imagination. I want them to run around and chase each other, I want them to call each other “mom” and “dad” when they play “going to school” or “going to the store”. I want them to crave being alone and make up games where one queen (Olivia) tells the other queen (Eva) what to do.
My kids watch me all day long. They copy my mannerisms and the words I say and I don’t want them to copy the way let off steam because I think that kids really develop their sense of self in the way they play. Every child plays differently the same way every adult releases stress differently. For me its going to the gym every day, for some it means reading a book, or scrolling through Facebook, for others maybe its cooking. Some kids like to play with others, some kids like to play alone. Some kids like to get dirty and some like to stay clean. This doesn’t mean I don’t enjoy participating in their games from time to time and I’m never too far away to miss out on their fun. But I don’t like to interfere and possibly influence the way the play.
It would be easy for some to say “just play whatever they want, just do what they tell you”. Yes, and no. If your kids are anything like mine then they’ll tell you that you’re doing it wrong 10 times before running away crying because I ruined their game. Or I’ll start getting upset because they want to play games where they periodically say things like poop and booger. I can’t stand it when my kids say those words but they’re kids so they’re going to say them because they think its hilarious. Once you’re a mom you’re always going to be a mom and correcting your children kind of comes with the territory. They already have to remember to use their manners, to watch what they say, to be thoughtful of others, to be a helper, the evil of sharing, to answer with yes ma’m and no ma’m. They deserve some time to play and be kids and let their hair down.
Yes, kids need to let their hair down. Mom are so quick to say they need breaks (BECAUSE WE DO) and that we need to get away (BECAUSE WE DO) and that we need a drink (BECAUSE WE DO) but all that means is that we need some time to separate ourselves from the everyday to recharge and come back to our tasks with a renewed sense of purpose. Kids need this too. They don’t have to worry about feeding others and cleaning the house and budgeting and keeping the dog alive (yes, my dog is still alive) but maybe we expect too much from them. Maybe we don’t give them enough freedom to learn to be themselves. Don’t get me wrong, I didn’t say give them all the freedom. I said enough freedom. It’s still our job to make sure they grow up to be decent human beings, but just because we’re all human doesn’t mean we’re all the same.
I’m no saint. Sometimes I don’t play with them because I just don’t want to. We get dragged down by the day’s work of cooking, cleaning, working, commuting, cooking again and cleaning again. Almost everything we do is for our kids already wether you work out of the house or you stay home with them, it’s okay to say no to your kids from time to time. Parents make the ultimate sacrifice of giving most of themselves over to their kids, it’s beautiful really, but it’s hard and you shouldn’t be judged because you need a break from your kid and what a better time to take a break then when they’re off trying to recharge, too. You go your separate ways, so to speak, and come back together when you’ve each had time to yourselves.
So, that’s basically it. I don’t play with my kids because I want them to learn how to let off steam and come into their own personality through play. I want them to be able to problem solve and make mistakes, I want them to love being alone when it’s important. I want them to stop sharing and start taking turns. And sometimes because I don’t feel like it… but mostly the other things.