Last weekend, in the late afternoon, Molly brought down a toppling stack of dolls and asked me if I would play with her. I agreed and got down on the floor to help set up.
She seemed a bit surprised but began discussing the details of the game ahead with me, and danced around the room with excitement as she spoke. Soon after Henri noticed my involvement. He came straight over to join in and happily we played for around 20 minutes. Naturally, the game we created involved us getting to an airport to go on holiday-we were running dangerously late and had to employ the skills of a very experienced taxi driver!
Anyway… whilst we were playing I heard a small laugh from behind at some of our game antics, I turned around to see Rob watching us from the doorway, looking on, as if it was a really ‘special moment.’ Then it occurred to me-it was!
Rob regularly plays in the children’s games, he sets up an array of board games on the weekends with enthusiasm, and literally has the patience of a saint. I will never match up to this as I don’t have this virtue in such (any!) abundance, but we’re all good at different stuff after all, and on the whole, I’m content with my ‘mum’ offerings.
But it did get me thinking, I tried to think of the last time I sat down and just played with them. We sit down together daily and read, talk, work on different activities, plan our next projects, watch tv, spend time together out and about etc, but I literally couldn’t remember the last time I had actually just played with them. In those moments where we are home, and I’m not working with them on something, I’m always preoccupied with other stuff that ‘needs’ to be done. So yes, as mum’s we are so busy and often lone parenting, it’s not always easy to fit in playing on top of everything else, and I’m definitely not into self inflicted mum bashing sessions-apart from anything else, I don’t have time! However, I have to say, seeing how much joy it brings them, to have me engage in a game of their creation, really demonstrated what a priority it should be.
Kind of obvious when I think about it, just because we now spend so much more time together doesn’t mean their need for this kind of interaction has disappeared. But I think since starting Home Ed and being so busy finding our own unique work rhythm, it had been something that had got a little lost.
So, in conclusion, (drumroll please), I’ve decided not to let it be a subject to add to the oh so familiar ‘mum guilt,’ as I don’t think it qualifies, we’re plate spinning activities and responsibilities as mums constantly, but just a reminder of how precious those memories of mum and dad playing on your terms are, (I have some memories of my own), and to factor in half an hour here and there!