No, I don’t want to play "Princess"

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My girls love being in their playroom. 

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Peanut is always ready to play imaginatively: making up stories about the trains on her train set, playing school, or pretending she is a mermaid princess.  Often her play involves dress up and a cast (i.e. me) who needs to be directed.  Pumpkin is happy to gnaw on whatever is laying around.  When she tires of the toy-mastication she finds pleasure in taking whatever Peanut is playing with and throwing it across the room.  Good times.

 

Insert feminist comment here.

 

The problem is that I don’t love playing with my kids.
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Let me be clear: the reason I don’t love to play has nothing to do with my kids.  The problem is that my attention span for imaginative play is short.  The urge to multi-task kicks in.  I want to organize the toy room, not play in it.  And it isn’t fun for me to be ordered around by a 4 year old (“No, Mommy.  You’re supposed to be swimming through the ocean with your CROWN ON!”) while trying to keep my 1 year old from choking on the little magnetic letters on the chalkboard.
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No one is more surprised at this confession than me.  One of the reasons I wanted to become a mom was to spend lots of uninterrupted time playing with my children.  I imagined spending hours on end with a dress up box and a puppet theater.  I just forgot to imagine that I would be stretched thin on time, with a to-do list a mile long.
Believe me; I’ve judged myself plenty for this shortcoming over the years.  What kind of mother doesn’t love dropping everything and playing with her children?  What kind of mom doesn’t relish time in a playroom, surrounded by toys and her 2 small girls?
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I remember telling a friend about this and she said matter-of-factly, “So you aren’t the mom who plays.  Who cares?  You like to do other stuff.  Just be the kind of mom you are.”
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Whoa.
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I’m the kind of mom who loves to have fun with my kids.  I love to talk to them and listen to them talk.  I love to take walks, go to the park, and have picnics.  I love investigating the world with them.
I have nothing snarky to say here.
Water testing really IS cool.
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I am the queen of art projects whether it’s sidewalk chalk, painting at the kitchen table, or building a paper chain to count down to vacation.
Peanut and pumpkin gettin’ their creativity on. 
Wait, what?  I can’t eat it?
It’s all good, I’ll just stick it in my ear.
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The girls and I love gardening.  Peanut can spend hours collecting rocks from the garden, which Pumpkin then delights in trying to eat.  (I swear we feed Pumpkin on a regular basis. We do.)  I love seeing them get their hands and feet and clothes dirty and watching a seed grow into a plant, which then grows a tomato.
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Even still, when Peanut gets the itch for a rousing game of ‘Princess Mermaid Mommy and her baby, Aurora” (guess who gets to play the baby), I wince a little on the inside.
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This morning I was in the shower, reflecting on how to write this post and on my shortcomings as a mother.  It was a long shower.  As I was coming downstairs, I heard a huge racket and I discovered this scene:
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I’d like to think that my kids get different things from each of their parents.  From me, they may get a more artsy, let’s-go-and-do perspective.  From my partner, B, they may get a more let’s-stay-and-play world view.   Either way, they are getting something great.

I’m just glad that this morning I stopped worrying long enough to join in the fun.  Ah, the woven moments.

 

I’m linking up with Little Hen House’s meme!

 

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