"Mom, will you play with me?" big eyes locked onto mine. "Not right now, honey, I have to put away the dishes." &qu...

Play With Your Children

"Mom, will you play with me?" big eyes locked onto mine.
"Not right now, honey, I have to put away the dishes."
"I'll help you!."
"That's ok, you don't have to."
"No, I want to help you!"
"Ok, you can put away the silverware."
Dishes were away in a race, "now can we play?"
"Well, it's bath or shower time, so you need to do that first, and then we'll see if there's time to play."
"Ok! I will get in the shower and just wash up right away and get out!" he dashed upstairs to take what ended up being a very quick dip in the bathtub after Oscar got out. He brushed his teeth and was in his jammies by 8, pretty early for him.
"I'm ready to play now Mom!"
"We need to put away these clothes. And you need to clean your room first, it's a mess!" dragging clothes out of the drier, I started folding quickly and he wasted no time throwing Thomas the Train track into his basket and dirty clothes into his hamper.
"You like how I put my blankets on my bed?" a knotted mess of blankets and sheets sat in a heap on his bed. Mentally, I laughed and sighed.
"Don't worry about your bed, just get all the toys off your floor."
A few minutes later, floor mostly clean, "my room is clean now!"
"Ok, I'll let daddy finish folding these clothes," as I got up and walked away from piles of folded and unfolded little boy clothes sitting in the middle of the narrow hallway outside the laundry closet, I realized, I don't think I have ever done this. I've never voluntarily stopped in the middle of any kind of cleaning or organizing to play with my kids. It's not because I don't want to, it's because I'm slightly OCD and more than a little crazy about the fact that I can't do everything that needs to be done every damn day of my life.

What does that OCD do for me? It makes me an asshole parent. Yep, that's right. Caring more about how clean our house is than spending time with our kids is pretty fucking stupid when you think about it. I'm not saying we should all live in filth, but there should be a balance right? There's got to be a happy medium of work and play, in everything in life. I feel like I spend the majority of my life working, either at work or home cleaning and organizing and such. I don't spend nearly enough time playing with my kids. I'm not trying to be that parent. The one that always has an excuse not to play. But it dawned on me this evening after how many times I was putting Sebastian off, that I do seem like that parent. Of course that wasn't my intention, it rarely is. I would be lying if I said never, because sometimes often that kid gets very needy wanting us to constantly entertain him and we have to tell him to find something to do on his own. But back to the balance. It occurred to me as I was folding clothes and watching how quickly Sebastian was cleaning his room (something that without an incentive, takes him an eternity) that he really wanted me to just play with him. He even ran downstairs to get his box of Legos and hauled it back up to his room so we could play. Brian had already started helping me fold clothes and I knew that he has no problem helping with chores so I can spend more time with the kids.

For whatever reason (many reasons only revealed to me through years of therapy and soul searching) I've always been one to take responsibility for everything I can think of and stressing myself out to the point of depression and exhaustion. But not so long ago, I said enough of this bullshit, and I've been making more of an effort to take time for myself and my family. I'm still working on not feeling guilty about it, but tonight's play time with the boys was so much fun I didn't have any guilt. It didn't matter that it was short or that he had to share me with Oscar (after some reminding that I wouldn't play if he was going to be mean to his brother). He had a fun time building guns, telescopes, spaceships, and whatever else he could think of in a short period of time. Oscar even built a car (which I was impressed that my 2 year old could do with tiny Legos!).

Days like today I'm reminded how important it is that we take time for our kids. It's easy for time to get away from us when we let ourselves get wrapped up with things that are, when you really think about it, just not important. Not compared to this incredibly brief period of time we have with our kids while they actually like us and want to spend time with us. Every time I'm around friends with older kids I'm reminded that this time is quickly running out. So take a break from your chores this week and sit on the floor with your kids and build a rocket ship with telescope mounted on the side next to a gun that shoots Lazer beems. And hope with me that the more time we spend now, the more time they'll want us around in another 10 years.


  1. This is amazing. It is so hard to remind ourselves to sit down and play with our children. And when I do play, I lose interest after awhile or don't want to sit on the ground for hours on end. But I love my girls and want to play with them as much as I can. I am OCD too and I have a hard time putting the laundry down or stepping away from the dishes to play with them more. This is a good reminder of that.

    1. Thank you! I also lose interest sometimes too, but it gets better when they're older and can do more than play with baby toys. The biggest distraction is my phone so I try to make sure it's nowhere near me so I don't look at it when I should be focusing on the kids.