Lady Of The Manor: I Hate To Play And I Don’t Care Who Knows It
Itâ€™s a given that little kids love â€“ and need â€“ to play. But what about their parents? Sure, channeling your inner child and â€œplayingâ€ apparently does marvels for your health and longevity. But how do you reconcile your inner child â€“ a girl child â€“ with the realities of raising three young boys?
In my case, you donâ€™t. I hate to play.
Stacking rings, ball â€˜n’ hammer and shape sorters are mind-numbing. Building intricate railway lines and racecar tracks, only to have them demolished by Spiderman and Batman, is an exercise in futility. And light saber battles always get a little too out of hand for this mother.
And then thereâ€™s the park. Watching my young son smile and laugh as I pushed him in the swing was wonderful â€“ the first time around. Ultimately, I loathed micromanaging swing schedules, let alone standing there and pushing for hours on end.
Was I an awful mom because I couldnâ€™t stand chasing my boys around the structures, hoping they wouldnâ€™t fall through one of the openings? A game or two of hide and seek was fine in theory but in practice, I found myself embroiled in worst-case scenarios as I tried not to lose anyone to the perils of streets, other peopleâ€™s backyards, or worse.
As my kids get older, how and what they play has changed. My guys need to run. Street hockey, after-school soccer, and general land sports have taken over from Lego and pirates. And, I confess, Iâ€™ve been known to hide at my desk â€œworkingâ€ rather than participate.
I thought it was my own dirty little little secret. But I quickly realized that Iâ€™m not alone in preferring cleaning the dinner plates to building forts. Call me a stereotype, but I like to do the girly stuff: arts and crafts, coloring, baking. Iâ€™ve been known to butch it up with kitchen science and temporary tattoos, but in the end itâ€™s the same non-physical kind of â€œplayâ€ that my inner child embraces.
Sometimes I worry I might be left out. While my husband organizes team sports and rides roller coasters, Iâ€™m bagging snacks and packing sunscreen. Will this make my kids like me less? Will I be the boring old Mum who is less queen of the house and more maid of the manor? Or worse: Martyr?
Lately, my boys have discovered their mama likes the odd round of Wii Rock Band. And Tetris tournaments. Iâ€™m well aware that â€œgamingâ€ isnâ€™t really the sort of â€œplayingâ€ I should be encouraging. But in board games I become the warden. And playing cards always end in 52-pick-up â€“ with me as the janitor. Luckily, my guys have learned that Iâ€™m much more fun when it comes to a dining excursion, shopping trip or seeing a movie.
And if we get a heart-to-hear heart conversation out of it (which we almost always do), all the better. Who says girl talk is just for girls, anyway?