And if you feel that way, shoot. Don’t feel like a sub-par parent — it turns out that a lot of parents feel that spending quality time entertaining their children is totally bogus.
A survey emerging from the UK states that just about 21% of parents claim that they “don’t know how” to play with their kids, and 30% aren’t even interested in faking it. As for the kids? 55% wish that their parents spent more quality time with them, whether it was playing dollies and tea parties, or coming to baseball games to root on their favorite little players.
I’m lucky enough to be a stay-at-home/work-from-home mom, and …
… I’m available 24/7 to my daughter. Yep, there are times where I’m absolutely tied up in what I’m doing, and I can only stop for things like broken limbs, fires, and OK, the obligatory “Mommy! Help wipe me!”, but I make damned sure that I carve out time throughout the course of my day — a good chunk of time — to spend exclusively with my daughter. Whether we get out of the house and hit the beach for a few hours, or take a stroll to the nearby park, or even play games on the living room floor (yes, the same ones over and over and over again), I do it because I love my daughter. And my daughter loves me. And I’m not saying that parents who don’t play with their kids don’t love them, but what I am saying is that kids, you know, normally love their parents so much that any attention garnered from their caretakers is considered enough to make it a great day, whether it’s twenty minutes of play or four-and-a-half hours of play. And it’s not always going to be that way, unfortunately, and I think a lot of parents fail to realize that.
Do careers sometimes get in the way of the things that we want to do? Sure. But careers only interfere with the important things — like encouraging our children to thrive and play and be kids and feel secure with their parents — if we allow them to.
I’m going to quote one of my favorite movies — a movie that I, incidentally, watched the other day while enjoying time with my young daughter:
“Your children love you, they want to play with you. How long do you think that lasts? … We have a few special years with our children, when they’re the ones that want us around. After that you’re going to be running after them for a bit of attention. It’s so fast … It’s a few years, and it’s over. And you are not being careful. And you are missing it.”
In case you couldn’t guess the movie, it’s Hook, starring Robin Williams. Great movie with an even better message. And in case you’re one of the few surveyed who claim that playing with their children is dead “boring”? Maybe you could stand to watch the aforementioned movie a couple of dozen times. Or, I don’t know, consider not having kids that second time around.