Playing Barbies or Shopkins or whatever the Hell my kids are collecting these days is not my favorite. I know, I know, I'm a horrible person. Believe me, and trust me when I say, I love my kids. Both of them. Equally. In fact I love being a mother, even when its hard. However, for the love of all things holy, I just can't do the whole, let's play on the floor thing.
I'll bake with them. I'll paint their nails. I'll help them comb their dolls hair, but that's it. That is where my ability to "even" ends. Trust me, we've had dance parties. Picnics on the living room floor. Bring me a book or a thousand books and I'll happily read them. But babysitting baby Elsa is for the birds.
I'm not sure where the standard of parent/child interactive play time came from. My mom certainly didn't play Barbie or Strawberry Shortcake with me. I know. You all are horrified, considering I refer to my mother as the patron saint of mothers. My mother had other interests. Don't get me wrong she loved me, loves me now, but playing was not her thing either. My mother read books. Millions of them. My mother watched television and movies. Mother liked to go to bed late and sleep in. I don't think she ever once said yes to Barbies, and for the most part I don't remember asking. I'm one hundred and ten percent okay with that, in fact I believed I turned out just fine.
Just so we are clear, I'm not blaming my mom for my lack of participation with my own kids. I don't think it's so much as a learned behavior as it is just a way of life. I don't enjoy Barbies anymore. I don't really like playing baby dolls, in fact I never really did. What I do enjoy is crafting or baking with my kids. I also love to read and watch movies with them. Even better, I love taking them on lunch dates and sneaking away for Icees at Target. Sometimes though, I feel guilty. I should be down on the floor with one hundred and one Shopkins, playing with the girls. Why do I feel guilty? Is there a standard on playtime with my kids? I engage them. I talk to them. It's not like I ignore them, but if I'm honest this "helicopter" mom mentality has me like "Ugh". When I was a kid, it was up to me to entertain myself. Hence my imaginative personality!
All that aside. All the mom guilt and the standard on interactive play with your kids, I found a great way to play with my girls. It happened on accident. It was after a night of staying up way to late and getting up way too early. I was lying on the couch and Caitlin asked if she could play with my hair. It was about eight at night and we were done with doing anything more than laying around, so I said sure. This got the ball rolling and soon Mac was in the mix. Next thing I know we are playing beauty salon, I'm the client, and one is doing my hair and the other is doing my nails. I fell asleep.
Genius. Why didn't I think of this before? I just laid on the couch and I was totally playing with my kids. Easy. Simple. Very little exertion. Eureka! What else can you play beside "Spa Salon Client"? Well you could also be "the baby". I was the baby a few weeks back. Again, I was laying on the couch watching TV with the Hubbs and the girls brought me a blanket and a bottle. They also "fed" me baby food, and totally cracked up when I cried for more. The girls loved it and begged for more. Being the "baby" has it's perks. Also, I'm not going to put it past myself to be the "patient". Sometime in the near future, I'll be on the couch again and one of them will say, "Mommy, play with me", and I'll say sure, I'm sick, can you be the doctor? And they will come with their doctor kits and fake band aids and fix me right up. Again, I'll most likely fall asleep, which they will probably have already prescribed.
I'm sure you are reading this and thinking, "Wow, this chick. What a lazy ass", and you'd be right. Sometimes I want to be a couch potato more than I want to play with Monster High dolls. Sometimes I want to read a book with no pictures, or watch a show that doesn't have a laugh track. I've never said I was the world's greatest mother, and I've never claimed to be perfect. I'm just giving you some real life talk right now. I'd rather be the "patient" any day. I'd rather have them treat ailments like "lazy and tired mom disease" or treat me to a "spa day" than have to dress another doll. They're happy and I'm happy. World peace follows, at least in my house.
Trust me. The next time the kids want you to play, and you just want to chill and have a drink, tell them to book you for a "spa" appointment. Or tell them you lost the ability to "even", and that you need a doctor to treat you for it. Then grab your pillow, refill your drink, and breathe. You've just played with your kids, and quite possibly, the world's greatest mother.