October 9th, 2011
Sagittarius Confession: I Don’t Like Playing With My Kid
There are two types of moms: moms who play with their kids and moms whose kids play with them. Figuring this out took me three years, many self-doubting waves and lots of tears. I always envied moms who could sit and enjoy playing with their kids, because I did not.
Look, I’m not saying that the mothers I hang out with are even close to the “mom-zilla” types whose entire lives revolve around their kids (not that there’s anything wrong with that). The moms I hang out with have pretty active lives. They’re “afternoon playdate drinkers” who get just as frustrated with their mommy role as I do.
That’s not what I’m talking about. What I’m saying is that I don’t like playing with my kid at all—not even for 20 minutes. I will never be the kind of mom who plays dolls, Candyland, and board games—or who builds Lego towers with a smile on my face. I pretended to enjoy it for a long time. But after five minutes, I’d make up excuses to stop. I outsourced my daughter’s fun to her grandma, her dad, the local tumbling class. I stopped going to playdates and mothers’ groups because I left completely defeated (and like a terrible mother) when I saw all the supermoms delightedly engaged in imaginary games.
It was only through an act of desperation that I found the cure to my restless non-parenting. My husband was out of town for two weeks. Desperate and stir-crazy, I strapped my daughter into a carrier and went hiking in the Arizona mountains (we lived in Phoenix at the time). It was a blast. I love being out in nature, moving and walking around like the on-the-go Sagittarius that I am. My daughter, a Capricorn “mountain goat” and an earth sign, adored it. I loved being with my kid and loved and I was delighted by how much she loved it. I loved being a mom for the first time—three yeas into my new role.
So I made a list of all the things that I love doing: hiking, pedicures, bookstores, farmers’ markets, cooking, reading, gardening, antique shopping, museums, trying new beauty products, cafes, high tea. I copied and pasted my activities and interests from my Facebook profile and ran with it. I even created a list of things that I don’t like doing: cleaning, cooking, laundry, paying the bills. For these, I created a game where she felt like I was playing with her. Antique shopping was now a treasure hunt for a a springer spaniel ceramic statue. Paying the bills now had a little kit filled with stamps, play money and lots of stapling.
Now, instead of needing to get away to do the things I love, I have someone I love to do them with together.
Necessity is the mother of invention, it turns out. How do YOU feel about playing with your kids? Love it, hate it, ambivalent? Share your tips and tricks!