This conversation took place on the Mrs. Momblog facebook page this morning:
Parents: what is the one game/activity that you don’t particularly like playing with your kids? Mine is Barbies. I lose all creative dialogue/plot lines after about a minute and then it just turns into a giant naked (because we can’t find ANY of the Barbie clothes anywhere! I blame Ken) hair salon where we are talking in high pitched voices.
Today is a snow day, after already having 10 days off. I’m HIDING THE BARBIES. Bring on Sorry and UNO!
The post elicited many comments, most from mothers who listed their least favorite activity in which to play with their children. The conversation was light, and a few moms of older children chimed in with the “enjoy the day, it goes so fast” (I’m paraphrasing) comments.
Those women are right, time does go quickly. My oldest is now eleven, and my baby is now five. Sometimes the days seem long, but when I look back at how far we’ve come, the years seem to have passed by so incredibly fast. These women were not rude or mean, but had good intentions and were speaking from experience. The one woman (a grandmother) even agreed that she felt the same way when her children were little.
However, as I read those comments and reflected on the fact that my baby just turned five yesterday and we are now officially a toddler-free home, I felt that old companion who is always close by, sneak in: guilt.
Dammit! Why am I feeling guilty for admitting that I don’t like to play Barbies?
I don’t feel guilty for not liking Harry Potter or math. I don’t feel guilty for not liking high-waisted pants, and I definitely don’t feel guilty for not liking bacon. But then those things don’t have anything to do with my kids, do they?
Did guilt sneak back in because if I admit I don’t like every single thing my children like then I’m sliding down on the parenting scale? Maybe…but I do know this: I know that when I am home with my children, I play with them. I might not play all day, or I might not play exactly what they want, but I play. Old Maid, forts, coloring, painting, pig, swimming, Just Dance. We play and we laugh.
…but I also let them play alone. I tell them I need to get some mom stuff done and they’re okay with it. They go do their own thing, sometimes together, sometimes separately, and at the end of the day, we say I love you and go to bed.
Moms! Why are we driving ourselves crazy with feeling like in order to be a good mom we need to be an overly active mom? We don’t need to feel bad for not playing Barbies. We don’t need to feel bad for suggesting something else rather than Monopoly. Of course our kids are going to grow up and we’ll have moments of “I wish they were still little,” but we can’t spend every minute doting on them.
Until then, we all just need to do what is right for our families. If playing Barbies is up your alley, then knock yourself out. But if not, don’t sweat it. Go rock some coloring books and Wii bowling and know you’re doing the best you can.
Right now I’m going to log off the computer and play a pretty competitive game of Sorry and then dodge playing Barbies for the rest of the day.
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