My mom never played with me.
Maybe the occasional time, but it was rare.
I don’t remember asking her to either.
I remember knowing that she wouldn’t if I did.
She was working full time and looking after house and groceries and dinners.
My dad worked hard too and came home at dinner time.
Neither of them had much time to play.
And when they did find spare time in their day, they didn’t want to spend it entertaining their kids.
That’s not to say we didn’t feel loved.
We were showered with love. Our parents talked and listened to us and included us in family decisions. Breakfasts and dinners were always had as a family by the dining table. Talking about the day ahead or the day that was.
Bedtime stories every bedtime.
They took us on adventures and travels.
We went fishing and hunting. We helped bake cakes. Had long family walks in forests. Camping trips. Bonfires. Movie nights. Tickles and hugs and play fights and love love love.
But when it came to playing, we were expected to entertain ourselves.
It didn’t matter to me. I loved playing by myself or with my little brother.
We could get lost in a universe of our own.
I’d spend hours playing with my barbies in the grass, while my parents were gardening.
My brother and I would turn boxes into robots. We would build forts and make magnificent creations with Lego’s.
We would read books and Donald Duck comics.
When I was eight I started writing my own stories. After years of being engrossed in my own universe, my imagination was always on the run and eager to be let out.
I loved my own company. I still do.
Now as a mom myself, I too very rarely play with my own children.
My daughter will ask me and I’ll almost always gently decline.
Like my parents, I too work a full time job. When I find spare time in my day, I don’t want to spend it playing. It feels harsh to say that, but it’s the truth.
I shower them with love. I do all the same things my parents did. They know they’re loved.
I know they do.
But play. That is theirs. And theirs only.
Both of them are magnificent at self play.
Even the 19 month old. They’ll spend ages playing with their dolls or in the sandpit.
Sometimes I’ll add a little flare to the game, shouting from the kitchen:
“Oh no! I think I hear the baby crying!”
And they’ll rush to soothe, feed, put it to bed. Game continues.
I’ll hear them chatting away to themselves and I’ll feel so proud and thrilled that they’ve been given the same gift that I got.
Because it IS a big gift to enjoy your own company like that.
It really is.
So I rarely play with my kids.
And I truly believe that’s okay ❤️
Just to clarify, I massively believe in spending quality time with my kids. Read, sing, dance, walks, go swimming, look at them, talk to them, listen to them, joke with them. Love on them. That is important.
For me quality time is not pretend play. I don’t enjoy it, and she is better at it without me.
But when my child offers me a homemade sandmud cake full of dandelions and rocks, I pretend eat it. Or if her doll is sick, I give it a kiss and a plaster. Of course I do. 🥰