Becoming Kindred Blog

Learning to Play

Transient

I played with my children today. You might be thinking (in a sarcastic tone of thought), “Wow, what an accomplishment!”.  Really, though, I’m not very good at the honest, fully heart and hands present, playing.  I get kind of bored.

I have other really strong areas in my mothering and quite a few getting better at areas. I do really well at involving the girls in whatever I am doing; I love having them helping me while I cook or do other household things and we have a great time together. I teach my girls so many things; it just comes naturally now for me to explain what we see or things that are happening and they love learning.I’m getting better at responding to whining or fighting with a patient voice and grace-finding solutions. I am even really trying to get better at remembering to brush their hair before we go out and to give them a bath more than once a week. Priorities, really.

The girls are amazing at playing and there are days when they will go for hours taking trips, or caring for their children, or playing with their farm. In fact, they get in such a zone together, that any input from me seems like an interruption.  However, both of the older girls have been requesting that I spend some time playing. This isn’t to be confused with doing. They don’t want me to come up with an art project or activity, they want me to come to their level and join in their play. And I’m horrible at it. I feel foolish making little people and animals talk or I just feel like I am boring. I can't say that I want to dress up as a flower fairy and “fly” from the chairs. And please don’t ask me to play on the trampoline, it makes me sick.

Somehow though, the wide-eyed, delighted, adoring looks that they give me when I do play with them is addicting.

I don’t expect that I will ever win a playful mom award, but I’d like learn how to play. And not in a lets-play-so–that-you-will-become-a-well-adjusted-adult sort of way. I want to play with them because it’s fun and because we can laugh together. Because I might learn something from their freedom. I want live in the moment with them so that their playful spirits and delight will sink deep in my soul.

So today, we played. We rolled in the leaves and played catch with the handfuls. They made me laugh.  And then they told me to hide so that they could find me and throw leaves on me. Sometimes, I had to switch off the I’m Bored button and decide not to be distracted.  It was a little easier today because I didn’t have to play with little people, but I might just do that tomorrow. I'm gonna learn how.

Do you play with your kids? I’d love some tips from any playful moms (or dads).