I don’t like playing with my kids.
There, I said it.
I just don’t. At ages two and four, my kids have WAY more energy than I do and both boast an incredibly short attention span. I’ll just get into my grove of coloring when they’re ripping the paper from me and demanding we go outside, instead. Combine this with their favorite toys being the most annoying ones in existence and it’s like the perfect storm for me; a storm that challenges my pretend-play creativity and my patience.
I love my kids and, of course, I love spending time with them. It’s important to distinguish that I get plenty of quality time with each kid, both individually and together, and how this is totally different than the “playing” I’m referring to. I love the Mommy-Son dates, the girls only time with my daughter, the chats about whatever flies into their heads as we cuddle at night (read this linked article! Do it! We all need this advice!). I love seeing their developments and their problem solving skills emerge. And I definitely don’t take my position as a stay at home momma for granted. It’s just the actual playtime that I hate.
You know it—the sitting cross-legged until I’ve lost all feeling below my waist, the Legos chucked all over the room, and the “look at me” x 3000. That’s the “play” I grin and bear. I’m sorry but there’s only so much dressing and redressing Barbie’s that I can handle and only so much fake enthusiasm in my reservoir each day.
“So find something to play that you both enjoy!” Yeah, I’ve heard THAT one before. But do my kids like to drink coffee and scroll Facebook comment wars? Because honestly, nine times out of ten when they ask me to play, that’s what I’d rather be doing. Let’s face it: my interests are nowhere near theirs at this age so one of us has to compromise and guess who does that? Momma Bear.
I’ve tried being Pinterest-worthy, with new art projects and fun games. All that led to was a huge mess and one-sided joy (theirs, which is more important, I guess). Because that’s the thing about new (messy) projects: they stress me out like none other. It’s like Pinterest knows I’m trying to act like a different person by being interested in executing the perfect, age appropriate S.T.E.M. project.
Don’t worry, I’ll continue to grin and bear the playtime because I know all the benefits it has for the kiddos. I know how happy it makes them and for now, they’re young enough to not recognize how fake I feel when I smile and clap for the millionth time for the 2-year-old’s tilting block tower. In case the more experienced mothers who warn, “some day you’ll miss this” are right, I’ll keep playing with my kids.
But I just wanted someone to know how much I wish they’d just play next to me so I can scroll Buzzfeed articles in peace sometimes!