I had one of those “Aha!” moments this week. You’d think after 4.5 years of being a parent I would have figured this out by now…
Evie is really into playing Polly Pockets these days. We have two Polly Pocket cars and her favorite thing is for her to have a car and me to have a car and for us to drive our dolls around and pretend stuff. Now, don’t get me wrong, I love spending time with my little girl, but I just can not get into playing with these toys the way I wish I could. I still suck it up and play anyway, but it’s just not fun for me. Similarly, Kaelyn can play with her Little Pet Shops or her vast collection of plastic bugs for hours on end. And, again, I can hang with it for a little while but after a while I am just totally out of imaginative ideas for my Pollys/Pet Shops/bugs.
BUT, I can totally dig going out into the backyard to jump on the trampoline, play keep-away with the soccer ball, or set-up a totally rockin’ obstacle course like this:
(run, go down big slide, crawl through tunnel, kick soccer ball through cones, jump in trampoline and throw the kickball out over the top, throw the frisbee past the cones, go down little slide, run to finish line, give lots of high-fives)
My girls had a blast with this and would have played for who knows how long if it hadn’t of gotten dark and dinner time. I was having real fun too!
So, back to my “aha!” moment. I was thinking about this and thinking back to my own childhood. I always loved to be outside playing, running, riding my bike, skating (making skating routines in the drive way), jumping on the trampoline, digging in the ditch, and anything else I could get myself into (and always accompanied by my BFF, Lisa, and my little brother, Jared). I did like to play certain things inside, but more like “real world” type pretending: school, grocery store, fabric store** (Ha!). We even played radio station DJ when we discovered that Lisa’s house had a portable telephone with a speaker phone. I was never that much into things like Barbie dolls. I think I had maybe 2 or 3 Barbies while friends my age would have boxes full of dolls and accessories.
That’s when it all made sense – even as a child I didn’t get into the playing with little figurine things that much. Suddenly I just felt this sense of relief like I wasn’t this horrible mom who doesn’t like to play Polly Pockets. It’s just really not my thing, and never has been.
Nothing is really going to change on the outside – I will still sit down and play dolls/bugs with my girls because they like it and I want to engage with them and do things they enjoy. BUT, now I don’t feel this guilt like I’m doing something wrong by not enjoying it to the fullest. I DO enjoy the time with my girls, just not the activity (see the difference there?), and that’s okay! Also, I will pay more attention to also engage them with activities that I am naturally inclined to do, because they actually love those things just as much. (And thank goodness we’ve had just beautiful January weather to do all sorts of outside playing lately!)
I think us moms are bombarded with all this “stuff” we are supposed to be doing (who comes up with this stuff anyway??) – play with your kids every second of the day, have you taught them to read by the time they are 3?, have you enrolled them in the perfect preschool program to ensure their entrance to Harvard? – AHHHH – seriously it can get ridiculous. It’s so hard to not feel that pressure even when you try to block it out. I am thankful for this simple moment of realization I had this week that has helped me to relax a little as I go along this journey of motherhood.
I’m signing off now because it’s almost bedtime and I know my little Evie will want to “boom” (aka drive) her Polly Pockets around one more time before drifting off to sleep.
I’ll leave you with videos of our action packed obstacle course:
**Fabric store: this is when my grandmother passed along a bag full of old fabric scraps to me and we would pretend to shop for fabric, bring it to the counter, measure it out, cut it, etc. It was awesome! 🙂