As a busy mom, I’m always trying to do a million things. Laundry, clean the house, feed the kid, shower, maybe even attempt to exercise. My son is also trying to do a million things. Create more laundry, harass the cat, plant LEGO landmines, get everything dirty, and also- get me to play with him.
Sometimes I get so focused on “getting things done” that I just want to keep going like how I would in pre-baby days. Do all the things! And do them all now! But in pre-baby days, there wasn’t a small child creating messes while I’m cleaning messes and constantly going “Mommy, mommy, mommyyyyy…” while I zoom around the house.
And then there’s this nagging memory I have from when I was little, where my mom would pretend to play with me while she was doing housework. Like I’d be playing Monopoly and badly want someone to play with so she’d tell me to set the board up for two, and then play for her. So basically, my mom was being my imaginary friend. I also remember thinking this arrangement sucked. There are some obvious drawbacks to being an only child.
(*As a side note, so as not to suffer future wrath from my mother, I have to say she really did make time for me a lot, and this was a just a memory that sticks out from a particularly busy day. In fact, I completely understand and sympathize with her now for wanting to do those dishes instead of paying the mortgage on my Park Place hotel.)
So when I hear the begging and pleading for me to stop what I’m doing and just PLAY, I try and think of how I felt that day and make myself go crash some cars, play a video game or shoot some monsters and just indulge my son for at least 10 to 15 minutes. He has a short attention span so I’ve found that works in my favor for stuff like this.
And when I think back to all the times my mom stopped to play with me, my respect goes up a notch. I can only imagine how many hundreds of times I probably asked her to play Monopoly (it was my favorite) and she would sit down and play the whole game. I appreciate that in a whole new way now.
So just remember you can stop, for a few minutes at least, and play with your child. Because if you don’t, 30+ years later they will still remember that one time you didn’t, and they won’t appreciate why until they have kids of their own! (And I fully admit to using my mom’s trick and telling my son to “set the cars up for me” and pretend I’m playing too. He seemed as thrilled about it as I was, lol)
So what game or activity is it that your child is always asking you to drop everything and play?