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!