We moms are a busy lot. We have the dishes to do, dinner to prepare, the next day’s lunch-box to plan, kids’ studies to take up, and their nails to cut. But what do our kids want, especially our toddlers, pre-schoolers and pre-teens? They want their mom to play with them.
When they asked me in the past, did I have time for them? No. Because if I spent time at play, everything else would be pushed back, and it’s going to be Mom who will have to finally finish everything before going to bed, exhausted!
I am guilty of having declined their invitation to play, justifying it with the thought that at least I am at home with them, around them, while so many parents aren’t. “Let me work at my desk, and I can see you playing”, and other times, when they were building a Lego airplane, from the kitchen where my hands are deep in dough, I said, “Wow, that looks like a lovely plane, M! Great stuff!” I thought that what I was doing was alright.
Until I read a book by Patricia H. Rushford titled “What kids need most in a Mom”. Turns out, kids need mothers who are not afraid to play, to get their hands dirty, or sit cross-legged on the floor building a Lego town, or playing board games. The key word here is “with”. Play with them, not watch from the sidelines and cheer them on while they played.
What about the dishes you ask? Well, they can wait. The kids won’t remember if they ate a bad dinner or lunch twenty years down the line, but they are sure to remember how fun their mother was. How she thought nothing of playing hide and seek, and scrabbling on the floor! In short, how much FUN she was! Yeah, I thought, I want to be remembered as a fun mum. In fact, one of my strongest childhood memories is of my dad regularly taking the time out to play a board game with me after dinner, or when I was older, solving crossword puzzles with me. I was going to do the same for my kids!
So the next time they asked, I immediately said yes, and their faces lit up. Did I have fun? Oh yes, it was liberating to be a child again! To run, hide, laugh uninhibited, and play – I hadn’t done it since they were babies! It was a joy to watch their happy faces, and see how glad they were to have me as a play-mate.
After play-time I settled them down with some pre-dinner snacks (yes, I broke my cardinal rule – no snacking before dinner) while I prepared a meal that consisted of a few healthy things hurriedly thrown together. However, I was at peace, knowing that though the dinner would soon be forgotten, the memories of play-time with mom would last a lifetime! I can’t wait for our next play date… really!
Sharon Colaco D’Souza is a mother of two kids, a girl and a boy. She is a business management post graduate, and works as a content strategist for a living. She is passionate about home decor and design, and blogs at The Keybunch. Parenting is ‘that continuously-unravelling mystery’ for her and she views Parentous as a great place for parenting information, as well as a place to share her own parenting discoveries. She is currently working on a book idea on indigenous architecture and hopes to see it to fruition!