I’m not a resolution maker. Usually. We read a lot with our kids. Almost every night we read a book before bed, and both the boys are really interested in the book. So I feel like we’re good in that department. Could we help with the homework a little more? Or at least monitor it better? Probably. But I decided for my School Year’s Resolution, I wanted to play more with my kids because I need the most improvement in that. It might be selfish to say, but it’s the truth.
Why does it seem like my husband is better at playing with the kids than me? And I’m not alone. My mom and my girlfriends have had similar experiences and I assume there are other parents across the country who feel the same way. But we all have the same issue; the ever-running to-do list I have in my head. I have a very difficult time hitting the mute button. Even when I put my phones aside and sit down with my kids, the minute I’m there – which is terrible and I hate admitting it—within a minute or two I’m thinking “oh, we need milk and I need to bring this thing to work and I need to mail that package and I can’t forget to pay the mortgage.” It’s really hard to focus on being in the moment. I hope that by putting it out there, that this is hard and something I need to work on, it will help me conquer it.
IMPORTANCE OF PLAY
I’m a firm believer in my kids being kids. Could they have more homework? Sure. But they don’t need 3 hours every night. By focusing on playing with them more, it reminds me to make sure they’re still being kids. It’s a really great way to connect with each of my boys. When my little one says “mommy will you do this with me?” it’s a really great reminder for me that they need their mom to be fun, too. They’re both really into sports, and my older son is all about basketball and football. My kindergartener is really into creative play so he’ll get dressed up in costumes or we’ll play restaurant with pretend food in the kitchen. And they’ve both been interested recently in cooking with me, and I’ve found that to be really fun.
One of the biggest barriers to playing is simply having the time. Just like many parents, I feel like there aren’t enough hours in the day to get everything done. How can I play with my kids but to get everything else done too? So I’m also trying to get better at prioritizing. Sometimes I think of something that has to get done in the moment and I feel like it has to be done right away, but the reality is that it doesn’t. So I write it down so I don’t forget and then I can worry about the things that really are in front of me. I haven’t been able to figure out how to squeeze more hours into the day, but prioritizing is one way that helps get around that.
I do really think I’m getting better, now that I’ve been working on my resolution for a few months, but there is definitely room for improvement. I mean, I’m not perfect and I think like every other parent I recognize that there’s no such thing as a perfect parent or a perfect child. And that’s a good thing! We’re all figuring it out as we go along and none of us are experts. I think if at the end of the day you can look back and have at least one moment where you feel like “I did a good job with my child today,” then it’s worth it. Then you did something right. For me, it’s about trying to focus on the moment I’m in and the people I’m with. I wanted to play more because I owe that to my children. Those are moments you don’t get back. And when I do sit down and focus, I feel so great. And my kids get it too. They are aware of the minute I tune out, and I want to be present and patient for them. I think in the end focusing on being playful and present with them is going to make me a better mother and that’s what my kids deserve. Plus, I need to work on my throwing arm for football. So there’s that.