Momstrology

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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!

 

6 thoughts on “Sagittarius Confession: I Don’t Like Playing With My Kid

  1. So true! This is one of those “taboos” that moms don’t like to talk about – not liking to play with their kids or even admitting that playing with them could be *gasp* boring… I doubt anyone except making a preschool or K teacher can focus that long so don’t feel bad. i like your solution and I’ll definitely try it with my 5 yo Taurus boy!

  2. Wow! I thought I was the only one!! Haha! Wonderful post… great insight and advice! As a mom, I struggle with the very same thing and always felt so guilty. Thanks for being so open and honest. It really is refreshing to know there are moms going through the same things. Keep the blogs coming… I’ll be checking back regularly.

    • Emily, you are always igsinhtful and balanced in your approach to parenting, which is one of the reasons I have read all of your blog posts.As a dad’, I don’t tend to feel on the periphery of the parenting matrix, but rather in an uninformed central location. My apprehensions are mostly about not knowing what my wife (who works a full-time job staying home with our children) has put into motion while I am away at work. As a result, I am cautious about discipline/supportive actions with the children, etc when I arrive on the scene.Communication is at the core of all parenting, as each child needs some customization of approach in order to make sense to them. That is not to say that there aren’t solid rules’ that we have agreed to apply to our parenting, but rather that the specific application of those rules can change from phase to phase of the child’s life. I come home, and I don’t know what, if anything, has changed in the approach due to some input from the environment (recently our child saw a disturbing video that put them in contact with death for the first time, via a cartoon to which I was not privvy immediately upon arrival), or due to a changing relationship with a sibling (she is learning to crawl, and it has changed the life of my older girl).The point here is that as a dad that works away from the home, with a mother that works at home, I am required to re-orient myself upon entering the household in order to best support the current situation, yet I don’t have the information required to serve it well at the moment that my child comes to me when I walk in the door and begin to help’.This can obviously be even more true for dual-income parents who come home to a day-care provider or pick up a child at day care.But the fact remains, if you don’t know what the current status is when you arrive, its challenging to play the right part that supports your significant other AND does the right thing by your children.Any thoughts on this? I love the instant gratification I get when I walk in the door, but finding a few minutes to get a download’ about what is going on is a challenge in the heat of the moment. It seems like an opportunity for improvement for dads everywhere (and anyone else who comes home from work to kids that have had unique experiences that are not well understood at time = zero).-Jed

      • Thanks for the thoughtful reply, Jed. It’s a tough line to toe, between wanting to be a full participant, but not having all the day’s data to make the best choices for the post-work day.
        Other working parents, what’s worked best for you? At-home parent: Do you want your out-of-the-house partner to jump right in? do you need some decompression time for everyone?

  3. I have another similar but different confession. I was always one of those mom’s; didn’t (and still don’t) play outside, or in the snow, or riding bikes or even playing imaginary anything, just didn’t like playing with my kids period. I thought it was just me being a jerk. I’m a Leo, my son is a Capricorn and 11 now, and my daughter is an almost 7 year old Gemini.
    However, here’s where I really feel crappy about it. I had another baby, a little lion cub, my little princess Leo. I never enjoyed my other children like I do her, we play all day and I can’t get enough. I can’t get enough of her, it’s like she is my universe.
    One part of me says it’s because I’m older and a wee bit less selfish and concerned with social life. But the other part says duh, I’m enamored by her because she is a Leo, just like me. How Vain!

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