One of the things I pride myself on as a mother is that the kids and I are always doing something together. We go to the park. We go to the library. We bake together. I do crafts with them. I read to them…etc. etc. This is is something I assumed all modern stay at home parents do. Growing up, I only knew 1 stay at home mother and that was mine. For 2 years, she ran an in home daycare.
I can still remember the routines. “Go play”, “Go watch TV”, “Go play outside”, “Come in for lunch”, “Go back outside” and of course, “Let’s clean up!” she would say. I do not remember my mother playing with us or even reading to us. She was always very hard at work taking care of everything else. Of course, that was a very long time ago. The times have changed but she has not. She maintains that her grandkids should learn to play by themselves. It stuns me because I would think she would be proud that I turned out to be such a good mom after all.
Then, I got sick; lay on the couch, do nothing unless absolutely necessary sick. On my good days, we still went to the park or out to lunch with a friend but a day or two later and I would relapse. I began to feel guilty. My kids were used to playdates and outings. They were used to having control of the television despite rarely sitting through an entire episode of anything. They were also permitted to graze throughout the day. They were growing kids right? When you get this sick, something has to give.
As the days passed, I began to see the beauty in it. My kids began to play with their Christmas toys. They opened the play dough I had made for them and began making “cookies”. They practiced riding their new bikes in the garage and began bringing me dandelions from outside. Effectively, my kids became kids. I do not mean to say play dates and outings some how robbed them of this but the need to fill up every free moment… is just slightly crazy.
While I am feeling better, I continue to follow my mother’s example. I do send them out back and to their rooms to play. I am no longer a short order cook and have stopped serving as a remote control. Despite it all my kids still love me and I am a good mom afterall. “The best mom ever,” they tell me.