During my visit to the park with the kids over the weekend, I decided that I would not be pushing anyone on swings. I just didn’t feel like it. I wanted to go there to relax for a bit (it’s been a tough weekend) and read my book while the children had fun playing in what could easily the most incredible park/play area on the planet. The place was teeming with children and I set them loose with an ice-cream each and settled down on my blanket. Jack came up to me and asked me to push him on the swing.
“My boy not this time, Mummy is tired and wants to relax here on this blanket.”
He really didn’t seem to bothered by it and said, “OK,” and scuttled off to play. Lucy needed a hand here or there to get up onto something or get down but she is little and I couldn’t very well say no to that. However, she also asked to be pushed on the swings and when I said no and suggested she try the slide, she nodded and off she trotted. I was surprised by how easily I was getting away with this and settled down to read my book.
All in all, I did get some relaxing in and it was great to have some ‘me time’ while checking on the children occasionally from a comfortable, seated position. It was actually quite blissful, all I had to do was close my eyes and there was the beach, the sea, the hunky lifeguard, ogling at my perfect body (ha-ha).
So this morning, while walking with my Mum and explaining my weekend activities I explored the feeling of guilt I often get when I say no to my kids when they ask me to play. Now, of course I realise that, as a parent and an adult, you can’t play with your kids every-time they ask you, but I also know that it is really important to do so from time to time. Why? Because play is how children discover their world and make sense of it, and they want to share that with the most important person in the world… that being Mum or Dad. Be aware that this privilege doesn’t last long at all. Indeed, I reckon that by the age of about 9 or 10, they would much rather share their discoveries and questions with their peers than with Mum or Dad and you will quickly be replaced as desirable no.1. Makes you think, what with Jack aged 4 and a half, I’m almost half way to being no. 2 or 3 or 4! But does that mean one should feel guilty when one says no. Not at all, it means that one should feel guilty when one says yes and doesn’t mean it. By that I mean, don’t play with your children if you don’t want to. What does it mean to them if you sit down to play as quickly as possible so that you can get it over with? Not much at all. Don’t feel guilty about saying no, you’re an adult and sometimes you don’t feel like behaving like a child but when you do then let go of your inhibitions, and enjoy every moment.
What did I learn from this: When you do play with your kids, no matter how often, enjoy it and make it count.