Thursday, June 3, 2010

Not Your Average Entertainment Committee

When my boys were young I remember days filled with just trying to keep up. 

Keeping up with changing diapers.

Keeping up with the dishes.

Keeping up with meals.

Keeping up with picking up.

Keeping up with guidance and discipline.

Keeping up with housework.

Keeping up with keeping up.

Looking back now it was a whirlwind. Minutes, hours, whole days flew by and I remember feeling guilty, at times, for not being a more “fun” mom.  I allowed society to make me feel like I was not giving my children the best of my time. There were a lot of times I just said no.  I had to.  I couldn’t do everything and be everyone.  I couldn’t sit for hours and play tractors, goodness one turn around the “field” and I was clueless on what to do next! I couldn’t spend every day at the park. I couldn’t stand to have play dough ground into my carpet EVERY DAY.

Sometimes I said no, because I couldn’t handle one more thing.  Sometimes it was out of selfishness.  Sometimes it was out of tiredness.  Sometimes we needed quiet. Sometimes it was because I didn’t see my main job as chief entertainer.

I still don’t.

It is high on my list to spend time with my children, to build relationships with each of them. We read, do puzzles, talk, have tea parties, create with play dough and build tents, but I don’t feel it is best for me to become my children’s entertainment committee.

One of my goals is to help my children learn to play independently of me. I specifically want them to be able to use their imaginations, create and be active without having me lead them each step of the way.

Often I will get them started (especially the young ones) then I will step back and let them take over.  Sometimes I will sit and play for 20 minutes, but then I tell them I need to do laundry or make lunch.  Most often my children will continue playing and often take it far beyond what I could have ever thought up.

My youngest son is so content and creative in his play, that once I watched him transform two pencils into flying rockets.  I sat and listened to him zoom and create a dialogue between his two flying machines.  It lasted for 45 minutes!

There are many ways that a mom can spark that imagination and creativity next week I will highlight some of my favorites.

Until then enjoy your weekend and don’t beat yourself up if you aren’t playing with your children all day long, they might just transform into a airplane pilot or mommy extraordinaire when you aren’t looking!


  1. Do you know how freeing this post is? I started to laugh, about half way through... with relief, that someone else TOTALLY put into words EXACTLY as I feel.

    You obviously read my post from the other day (and other's here and there) where I do say I feel guilty. Wanting to be more of a "YES-mom", then to always be saying "no". But. I honestly do not have it in me to sit and "do entertainment" all day long.

    Thanks for speaking grace into this for me. I suppose it is truly finding that unique balance - to mothering.

  2. I'm looking forward to your next post! I feel like I lack major creativity when it comes to kid's play.

    Trying not to carry around too much mom guilt. It's hard not to feel like each day I could've done something better

  3. I can soooo relate to this.
    and it's nice to read that someone else can too. For me, I esp. feel like this when someone else takes the time with one of my children and I feel like I should spend more play time with know one on one...but really on an average day when you are mixing up school,meals,chores,and cleaning???who can?!!!!
    great post!

  4. I completely agree with you! My 3 year old daughter loves to play with pens and pencils imagining they are people, despite having little figures she could easily do this with! How can they say they are bored if they know how to use their imaginations!?
    Collette xxx

  5. very well written and very good advice.

  6. I cannot tell you how many years I beat myself up over this! YEARS! I let the enemy convince me that I was an awful mom, and this was one of the lies he used. I still get tempted to feel guilty because I am not 'playing' or 'fun' enough, but I will not believe that I am an awful mom because I don't play for hours with my children!

    Great post and a great lesson I wish I had learned years ago.

  7. Hi Jenn, I linked up to your post!

  8. Visiting from Michelle's blog - this was excellent and encouraging. I often feel guilty for not playing with my kids for hours on end. But you're right - they need to play and create without me! Thank you!

  9. Oh, the mom-guilt. Trying hard not to give in to it, too.

    I love listening to the dialogue of creative play. Happy, happy!

  10. I liked this post alot, sometimes I feel bad because I don't think I play with my Little enough, sometimes I just don't know what to do or say. I'm pretty quite as it is.
    This really encouraged me, maybe I'm not such a bad momma after all! :)

  11. Wow! Do all of us feel the same way? As I look around, it seems that all I see are the things that I need to do. Get 1 thing done, see another that needs attention. It is difficult to keep it all together and play with the kids too. I will do the same thing and play for about 20 minutes and then let them continue on. Actually, I got the idea from Toddler Wise. I love that series of books!


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