3.13.2008

Guilt Absolved By Hi Ho Cherry O

I have a confession to make. I do not think of myself as a fun mom, at least not on a consistent basis. I seem to go through phases of fun, but it is not a daily occurrence by any means. Reading books together, arts and crafts, occasional baking, some imaginative play with toys are within my comfort zone. Scott is really great at the physical play like wrestling, outdoor sports and general silliness.

Since Annelise is an only child, she usually either plays by herself or she wants me to play with her. This is not one of my strengths, I admit. She is so loving and patient with me when I tell her later or not right now, never quite making the connection that playing together later doesn't always happen. Ouch.

Why don't I do it more often? Does it relate to my own childhood experiences? Maybe. I was an only child too and either played by myself or had friends over when I was older. My parents did not play with me a whole lot. I don't know if that was a generational thing or selfish personal thing, but that was the way it was.

So here I am. I truly don't want this pattern to repeat itself. I have decided to challenge myself to engage more and not put off the playing. Even if I do it in baby steps, I need to do it. Take the other day, how hard was it to sit on the floor to play a few rounds of Hi Ho Cherry O with Annelise? Turns out it wasn't hard at all AND it completely made her day. I forget at times how easily pleased these little ones are by simple activities. Ouch.

This was the scene this morning before breakfast. Evidently she was preparing for a rematch.

Note the nightgown with her sneakers. Not sure what her plan was there.

Are you a playful parent or is is a bit of a struggle for you? Is there hope for me?

16 comments:

  1. I can definitely relate to your struggle. One of my goals is to play with my kids more too, but I find myself telling them I'll play with them later when I have time. Unfortunately, I don't always have time and some of the times I do play with them I'm not really into it--I definitely think our hubbys corner the market on play. I think the real difference between us and our husbands is that we're with the kids all day long and they're not, so when they come home they're excited to play with them, whereas we just need a break. Not sure if that was much help, but after reading your post I was glad to hear that I'm not the only one that has felt that way.

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  2. I'm also glad to hear I'm not the only one! My kids have just come to accept that I don't "play" in the way they would always like. I am silly a lot and do lots of playing games where I can sit on the couch and not expend too much effort. Ouch, as you said! I wasn't played with much either, as a child. And I HATE board games and card games. We were expected to entertain ourselves, and I have pretty much expected that of my kids. There are three of them, they should always have a built-in playmate.

    I think if it were boiled down to its essence, all they are really asking for is undivided attention. I give it through reading, cuddling, talking and silly made up games and songs (while I'm sitting on the couch, mind you).

    But really, I don't think it's ever enough for them. It could be 24/7 attention, and they still wouldn't be satisfied, I don't think. So we do have to set limits of what, when, and how much.

    The guilt will always be with us about something, won't it.

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  3. Wow....I totally relate to what you said, as well as the other comments on your blog. I know we simply cannot stop what we are doing always and give them undivided attention....they won't learn patience that way, right?! Gracie is also an only child, and Rhett and I both have one sibling. I find that Gracie often likes her "along time" as she calls it...she really uses her imagination!
    You are a good Mommy. I can tell. Don't fret :)

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  4. Well, I have to agree with everything you said. It's SOOO hard and I don't like it, but when I do, it totally makes their day. Thanks for the reminder.

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  5. The other day my 4 year old asked me to play ponyville with her. I quickly snapped back 'play with your sister, that's what we had her for.' When I took a minute to register the words that came out of my mouth, I felt terrible. So, I played with them. It was fun for them and me too! I enjoyed watching the wheels of their minds in progress as they made up a story line for the ponies.

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  6. You are a great mommy! I know from watching you!

    I find that if I don't plan too much for myself during the day I am able to relax a bit more and just go with the day -if that includes an extra book read or a game played.

    My striggle has been having two children at different ages wanting me to do two different things and making time for each one.

    I think Rhonda is right...they could play with you 24/7. I think it is the extra hugs and the cookie you sneak them before supper...you get the picture it's quality maybe not quanity.- That is what I tell myself anyway!

    Thanks for your post-

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  7. I am a pretty playful parent but I will be the first to admit I have days, like today, where I just want to scream "leave me alone!" It is hard to always make the time to play the games or do the hide and seek but you are right...it makes them SO happy.

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  8. I struggle a lot with it. I always have. I love it when I get down and play with them, but it's not natural for me. My husband is awesome at the wrestling, getting involved stuff. I'm proud of myself when I get the crafts out and manage to do it with them. I'm really good at reading with them though.

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  9. I don't play Barbies or Legos because I don't enjoy that. I do enjoy baking and reading...so I am great for story time and licking the spoon. Games with my kids have become more fun as they get older...

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  10. This is a struggle but I find once I get into it, its fun and you usually don't have to do it for hours-a few minutes here and there works out. I will not play video games though-can't stand them!

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  11. Oh, friend. If I were with you in person, I would fall at your feet and thank you profusely for this post! Seriously.

    I have guilt issues, too. Mimi is home (4yrs) with me while my older two are at school all day and I find myself calling around for friends to come play dollhouse with her. She asks me constantly and I find it to be SO HARD TO DO! I don't like to do it & I feel so bad. I know I'll regret it when she's all big and I'm not her entire world any longer.

    So I try to remind myself of that and "Just Do It."

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  12. Playing with my kids is total struggle for me. It's easier now that they're a little older because they're so entertaining and are smarter so the games are as mind numbing. I have felt guilty about this for a long time and sometimes have to force myself to things with them, even though I always end up having fun. There's hope for you!

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  13. you are a great mom and there is tons of hope for you!

    I have gotten worse about this, especially w/ the two young nephews I am keeping. they don't ask me much to play w/ them, but when my daughter wants me to play volleyball at night, I am just too tired! ouch!

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  14. oh, it's a struggle for me, for sure. it's hard for me to get inspired to play Ben 10 or Yu-Gi-Oh or any other of the obnoxiously ugly things that 7 year old boys are attracted to.

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  15. Oh, you must have written this post just for me because I am the same type of mom. I feel AMAZING when I finally decide to sit down with Levi and play something with him instead of letting him rot in front of the tv.

    Thanks for the reminder to try harder.

    I think that some of us just aren't "those" kind of moms. Do you know what I mean? But it doesn't make us a BAD mom. We have strengths that "those" moms don't.

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  16. My mom had my oldest brother when she was 28 and was very active with him. She had my other brother at age 39 and me at age 41. She was a great mom, but did very little with us. She would often say, "I'm right here with you doing my thing and you do your thing." And, we played outside a lot in the neighborhood with friends. I distinctly remember overhearing her talking to one of her friends saying, "I'm just not a play with playdough kind of mom." I was 38 when I had my only child. He's only 2 and I do read and play acting-out kinds of games but I'm much like you. My husband is does the physical stuff, just like yours. But, my little guy knows we're THERE and he loves playing and being around us, even though we're not doing stuff WITH him all the time. And, we don't stick him in front of the TV a lot, either, by the way. I think a child being able to entertain themselves is a good thing! Great post!

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