Friday, November 20, 2009

Day 324.

Once again in my quest to be the perfect mom (not really my quest...just making fun of myself a little here), I'm going to contradict something I posted about a few days ago. I was giving myself a hard time, in a round-about way, for thinking too much about cleaning, cooking and other things I end up filling my time with besides "mommying." I think I need to explain.

Yesterday we spent a great day with friends (as mentioned in my post from that day), and there was a big lightbulb that happened for me in my conversation with the other mom. I think I was mentioning my guilt over turning them down for play and getting things done. She remarked, "I never play with my kids." Now when she says that, it does NOT mean she's not spending time with her kids - quite the contrary. She's a fabulous homeschooling mama with kids who are very secure and adore it's not like she hasn't bonded with her kids...far from it. That's what was so great about it. I thought about it more after they left, and thought, gosh, did my parents really "play" with us like I feel guilt for not doing enough of? I remember them reading to us, playing games with us and just being with us a lot, but not this stuff. The kind of play my kids want me to engage in on an hourly basis is hard core pretend play with a lot of imagination and creativity...and to be honest, I just end up feeling old and boring when I do this. Give me a book to read, a game to play or a craft to do anytime and I am THERE.

So, I am cutting myself some slack. I'm not a bad mom when I cook and clean or tell them to "go play." In fact, I think I'm a better mom because of it.

I am grateful for letting go of guilt.

I'm letting go of guilt that I feel when I don't spend hours of my day pretending with them. Yes, I'll still do it with them because they love it and I love them and it makes them happy. But, it's also cool when I ignore them and they end up playing beautifully and creatively together. I'm OK with not being the fun mom all the time...that's not my purpose.

I also think I realized where this guilt comes from. I spent most of my 11-18 year old life babysitting. I was obsessed with babysitting. I loved kids. I loved the responsibility. I loved the money I got. I loved being the fun babysitter that brought over a "kid kit" (any Babysitter's Club fans out there?) and made up cool obstacle courses. I loved being in demand and people booking me months in advance for New Years Eve. I was the fun babysitter. And so when I eventually had my own kids (only about 8 years after that 7 year run was over)...I couldn't separate fun babysitter from mom. I molded that into one entity and tried to be a mom who played with their kids all the time.

So, it's not a terrible thing to try to be fun and entertaining, but what ends up happening is when I actually do have stuff to do, I carry that guilt - did I play with them enough today?

I'm over it...for today at least (I'll go back and read this post tomorrow).


  1. great post, Hil! It's so easy to see that your kids get so much of their imagination and creativity from you. I totally remember the "kid kits." So fun! Oh, and can we book you for New Year's Eve? ;)

  2. shoot, emily beat me to it!

    i just wanted to say that i've loved catching up on your last few mega-posting sessions, but i have found myself overwhelmed with wanting to comment but not finding the time. so, please know that i have really enjoyed reading them, as always, but that i can't find the time to comment as thoughtfully or as "on time" as I would like to. so, you must know that not posting regularly keeps me from commenting regularly sometimes, too. but i didn't want you to think i wasn't enjoying your thought-provoking entries of late. thanks! and keep posting!!!!