Motherhood Matters: What if I don’t like playing with my kids?

I was recently with a group of my trusted girlfriends when I sheepishly admitted that I don’t like playing with my kids.

Don’t get me wrong. I like my kids. A lot. I just don’t really like Thomas the Train and My Little Pony. I’d much rather write an article, tackle my to-do list or clean the toilet. (Yes, the toilet is more appealing to me than Thomas.) I often find myself shooing the little ones outside or trying to occupy them with a toy, book or TV show so I can get my work done.

I go back and forth between thinking this is OK (moms are busy, and kids can be creative and play by themselves) and thinking that I should really work on it (childhood is fleeting, and my kids really need my hands-on influence right now).

When I shared all of this with my friends and asked what I should do, they had so much good advice. They have children ranging in age from newborns to teenagers, and they are wise mothers. I knew I needed to write down their suggestions for myself — and for any other moms out there who also struggle to play.

1. Find play that both you and your kids enjoy. A friend of mine said that she doesn’t like playing Polly Pocket, but she loves trampolines, so she gets out there and bounces with her kids when the weather is nice. After hearing that advice, I started swinging on the swings when I take my kids to the park. This is something that I loved to do as a kid but I hadn’t tried it in years, and it is just as fun as I remember. I also love to read books with my kids, and we do that several times a day. I had never thought about it before, but this counts as play. Now that I’ve identified the fun things that I genuinely love to do with my kids, I try to do them more often.

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