Today I’m feeling like a parenting failure. Not just today, but it’s my overriding theme this winter. We are busy, there aren’t enough hours in the day, and frankly by 7pm all I want to do is sit in a chair under a big blanket and watch mindless TV as I can’t even keep my eyes open long enough to read a book or write something.
My kids at nearly bedtime(if we are not running to dance or music or voice or gymnastics or to a school function) are milling around me. One is doing homework(or maybe Facetiming with a friend), one is reading while petting the cats on her lap, and one is either dancing around me or coloring. They’ve gotten used to me lately not being completely in the moment with them.
I sit heavy with guilt as I want to engage and be present, but it feels hard and exhausting. I try to remind myself that this is short-lived – our moving houses, our busy. But it feels like forever.
I try to make myself feel better and think about the dance party we had a few days ago, or the game of Beat The Parents that we played. Or when we all zip-lined on Friday night and played hide and go seek together. Play doesn’t have to be Candy Land. Play can be a walk around the block together, right?
After 12 years of parenting, I know that I am not my child’s playmate – I’m their mom. But sometimes(especially now) I wish I could just lighten up a bit and be more fun. Instead I make lists of things that aren’t done – Christmas thank you notes, dishes, laundry, cleaning the litter box, grocery shopping.
That is not a game.
I was honored to be asked by Rachel of You Plus 2 Parenting to write an essay about play as part of her 28 Days Of Play series during the month of February.
It opened my eyes to how I play with my kids – and how it’s easier now that they are older, but still at times awkward for me. And reading the other essays this month from other parents has given me more to think about as I try to be present in my kids’ lives – and maybe playing make believe doesn’t have to be part of that to define being fun.
(comments closed here)