I just read a really interesting article in Redbook Magazine – yes, I realize how old that makes me sound, but I find it even more aging to pretend I’m not an almost 40-year old mom – about a mom who confesses that she hates playing with her kids and has mommy guilt about not being enthusiastic about playing Candyland (or tea party or trains) for the bazillionth time with her daughters.
Take a swig of your latte if you’re not at all shocked by this “Mom Confession” and actually have felt at some point or another that you’d rather get ten bikini waxes in a row than take another trip to the park.
Double swig (except it’s regular coffee with organic light vanilla soy).
Despite being a mom who blogs about ways to play with your kids, as I read through that article, I was nodding in agreement as the author described making grocery lists in her head while waiting for a game to end or typing e-mails secretly under the table until she was busted by the kids. I TOTALLY get that. I felt it a lot when I stayed home with the kids and I still feel it back at work part-time, even though my time with them is so much more precious because it’s limited by my work hours. But guess what: it’s normal! And definitely not a reason to have mommy guilt over, which the author says she suffers from.
You don’t HAVE to play with your kids.
You don’t HAVE to schedule playdates and be forced to play with other kids’ moms.
You don’t HAVE to enjoy getting down on the ground to play with dolls and dinosaurs with your little ones.
I think what the author is missing and what anyone, if you’re suffering from mommy guilt for not absolutely loving playtime, needs to know is that kids don’t need you to play. They’re perfectly fine and happy without you. But – taking a few minutes every day (or every week if that’s all you can muster – which is FINE) to slow down and be present with your children will give your family a positive boost from connecting in a way that might not be built into your daily routine and a way that your kids might really dig just because they’re kids and I’m guessing, probably love to play – even if you don’t.