I was recently with a group of my trusted girlfriends when I sheepishly admitted that I don’t like playing with my kids.
Don’t get me wrong. I like my kids. A lot. I just don’t really like Thomas the Train and My Little Pony. I’d much rather write an article, tackle my to-do list or clean the toilet. (Yes, the toilet is more appealing to me than Thomas.) I often find myself shooing the little ones outside or trying to occupy them with a toy, book or TV show so I can get my work done.
I go back and forth between thinking this is OK (moms are busy, and kids can be creative and play by themselves) and thinking that I should really work on it (childhood is fleeting, and my kids really need my hands-on influence right now).
When I shared all of this with my friends and asked what I should do, they had so much good advice. They have children ranging in age from newborns to teenagers, and they are wise mothers. I knew I needed to write down their suggestions for myself — and for any other moms out there who also struggle to play.
Be playful in your day-to-day interactions.
Any activity, including chores, can become play if I am upbeat instead of grumbling. A friend said that she and her little ones used to have laundry-folding parties. Her son thought it was just hilarious to put underwear on all of their heads, and they would laugh and talk. She taught the them how to fold dish towels and match socks, and it became a bonding activity for the whole family. Since having this conversation, I’ve turned on music more often while I am cleaning the kitchen and challenged my kids to dance-offs. I love to see them twirl and sway (and often fall over — we are not graceful people). I enjoy motherhood more when my mindset is playful, even in the midst of our daily to-dos.