I've realised I don't 'do' anything with dd

(54 Posts)
slowlycatchymonkey Tue 22-Jan-13 22:09:44

My dd is 5 and I've kinda realised that while she is kept busy with activities and play dates, I don't actually get involved and I feel really guilty about it.

I've never been great at playing - I find it boring blush and i always find a way of getting out if it. She does 3 fun activities a week, and sees friends 2-3 times a week at either our house or theirs, but again, I avoid sitting down to 'play' and let them get on with it. DD asks me to play a lot - she is an only child and not remotely interested in entertaining herself, so will watch telly or use the iPad instead. I never take her swimming cos I hate it, and if we go to soft play I usually try to bring a friend if hers to play with so I can avoid having to do it. God, I sound awful don't I? I care deeply that she has plenty of opps to socialise etc but I seem to 'set it up', rather than get stuck in myself. Her dad and I have been split for years and he's the opposite of me- they do bike rides, swim etc, but this just isn't me.
I read to her every night and we talk a lot, but that's it.
How can I change? I'm terrified that she will have crap memories of me when she's older :/

PhylisStein Wed 23-Jan-13 20:25:36

P.S. In case it makes you feel better .... I will do almost anything to avoid taking my three DC to the park - after 10 years I am SOOOO bored of parks I really feel I'll scream if I have to push another swing!

Zappo Wed 23-Jan-13 20:36:51

For a day or so you could try waiting until your DD is in bed before using your phone and computer.

I don't like my DD (5) watching too much TV so I don't watch any in the day as I feel I would be setting the wrong example. Plus I wouldn't get a chance to watch in peace anyway. Once she's in bed, the computer goes on and I have a couple of hours of screen time before bed.

I am different to most people as I love playing (most parents I know hate it) but there's a lot of other things about parenting that I don't enjoy at all (the feeding, cleaning up, school run, discipline etc).

If you are having difficulty playing I would recommend "Playful Parenting" by Lawrence Cohen which has a lot of great ideas about introducing play into your everyday life.

www.amazon.co.uk/Playful-Parenting-Lawrence-J-Cohen/dp/0345442865

Is there anything your DD enjoys to play with that you like. I love lego and playmobil (in fact I buy it for myself) so I love sitting down and playing that with my DD. I'm actually more keen than her on it at the moment.

I also do a lot of role play games (tea parties in the kitchen with dolls) but I know these aren't for everybody.

My 5 yr old is starting to want to play with other children now in preference to me so the time you actually get to play with them is rather short.

slowlycatchymonkey Wed 23-Jan-13 21:05:40

Love the matchbox idea, and i know she would love it. She loves role play tbh and I should so be doing it with her knowing that she does. She loves to play houses and likes to be the mummy etc. In her bedroom alone she has a shop, 'hairdressers, music station, kitchen, dolls house and even a sweet shop, all of which are ignored because she hasn't got a playmate. I feel so guilty now but seriously going to sort it out.

Zappo Wed 23-Jan-13 21:08:00

Half an hour a day would make all the difference to her. On the upside by not playing with her you have made her tremendously resourceful. My DD cannot play on her own (imaginative though she is)

zcos Wed 23-Jan-13 22:36:52

so glad slowly to see your last couple of posts so positive compared to your first. think you will even better after trying some of these things ... post again so we can see how you got on!

Sit and do a jigsaw tgether, or get her a big box of lego cannot wait till my dd is old enough for.lego she will have to foght me for it

stella1w Wed 23-Jan-13 22:45:24

I feel a bit like you OP and am also trying to cut down on phone. However, I also hate going swimming with my dd, same age. I get cold and she can't swim so I worry.. and tbh the worst times we have had is doing something I can't stand.. I have just told a friend I WONT do a playdate at the swimming pool.
I think you can only really spend time doing what you want to do, otherwise she will pick up on your resentment. It's great that her dad does the days out stuff etc, and she also has a lot of activities, so you don't need to DO stuff with her just BE with her (which I know can be tough).
The cold weather has made me realise how much time I spend taking the kids places and how little time I spend interacting with them.
Also, I don't know how old you are but I grew up in the 70s and I am pretty sure parents just expected their kids to fit round them, and didn't run their lives round their kids like nowadays..

slowlycatchymonkey Wed 23-Jan-13 23:23:26

Thanks everyone. My mum tells me off for beating myself up and says she doesn't remember ever doing anything like this when we were growing up ( neither of my parents played with us and I'm not scarred by it, haha, it's just the way it was in those days).
Dd has taken to skiing like a duck to water and it's great that she is being I can give her the opportunity to go, but last time we went, I slept so badly out there and dd completely refused to go to bed earlier than me as we were sharing a room, so I ended up so shattered the following day and grumpy with her. i was just willing the holiday to be over. Dd brought some games for the evening and I did play a few but I just didn't want to do it all night from 4-9pm. What do other people do in situations like this?

I think that's a big part of my problem, I just don't sleep enough and it affects me more than I realise. I'm determined this holiday to be different. We are still sharing a room this time, but its got a 'living area which means I can put her to bed at a reasonable hour and still sit up if I can't sleep. At least she will be well rested! I'll persevere with those gamessmile

I have always lived by the mantra that I am here to look after DD, not to entertain her.

As DD is an only child, I always felt responsible for all the play stuff in the park etc, but it did not come easy to me, and now that she is 13 it transpires that she doesn't bloody remember any of it anyway.

We do enjoy a good game of Mind Bender now though.

defineme Wed 23-Jan-13 23:35:18

I would take dvds that you can watch together that you both enjoy-for myself and kids it would be wildlife docs, I know families that watch musicals or classic cartoons-the key being that you both enjoy them.
I would take her out after tea-is there a family friendly hotel or bar that you can hang out at?
I enjoy doing stuff alongside my dd like painting my own picture whist she does one. Or making cards or something.

slowlycatchymonkey Thu 24-Jan-13 13:14:55

Thanks, DVD's are a good idea. We do go out every night for tea but tend to be back home early enough for dd to want to play hours! The sharing the same room thing last time was so hard because if I wanted her to sleep at 8pm it meant I had to go to sleep at the same time and she just wasn't having it. I actually think hotel based holidays are a nightmare when you have small kids.
DVD's are a great idea. Will also take on board the other great ideas I've been given. My GP gave me sleeping tablets so will take those on the holiday and hopefully be on better form next day.

gymmummy64 Thu 24-Jan-13 14:31:04

How about shopping? Not supermarket stuff, but other shops - present for Granny, something for the kitchen, that type of shopping. OK, it's not a game, but I remember DD1 at 5 going from a nightmare to take shopping to being lovely to have along and discuss choices with. If it went well we might then go for lunch/tea somewhere. Lots of opportunities to chat, point things out, ask opinions/advice/questions (what do you think that's for? Do you like that colour? Do you think that's a good idea?) and educate too - money etc. Obviously avoid toy shops or other flash points and don't be too ambitious wrt length of time. I wasn't good at games either and I was awful at anything craft-related, but we did enjoy going out and about together a lot at your DD's age.

Doitnicelyplease Fri 25-Jan-13 03:38:00

I am also not that keen on playing toys with my Dd1 4
I tend to do something more structured such as a board game or card game, there are also simple games you can play with dice. We also do crafts such as junk modelling, or playdoh, puzzles or, painting. Other things we do are baking or making forts/dens, hide and seek, sticker books or look at books.
I do find it a lot easier to take Dd out or to a class also she loves to socialize with other kids and I have trained her up to play on her own and now she is really good at doing that - she would prefer that I always played with her but I find often it is never enough and even if you devote an hour to playing they whine for more!
Everything is a balance. Get some new crafts and games that you can do together. Then after you have done something each day you can encourage your DD to play by herself for a bit.

Asamumnonsense Fri 25-Jan-13 16:28:41

I think you're really harsh with yourself. You sound like an amazing mum!! I am sure you set up all these activities and playdates for her to have fun, not to avoid playing with her? right?
What she doesn't get from mum, she gets it from dad and it sounds perfect and very well balanced.
I doubt that your DD will ever criticise you for that. I am like you with my DD5, we talk a lot and that is the most important thing in my eyes. I need and want to know how she feels about things in general and of course build a close relationship.

drmummmsy Fri 25-Jan-13 16:37:37

listen, i'm a single parent too and i parent only in a supervisory capacity grin so don't worry about it. i'm an academic so we read and like you guys, talk about stuff. my dd also watches a lot of tv in winter as she is exhausted after school - plays out in the street of our council estate shock in dry weather and attends summer day camp all summer

i will under duress play a board game (or as I like to call them a 'bored game'), and we swim when one of isn't down with some kind of disease or snowed in etc.

only unlike you, my dd doesn't go to many organised activities and i just can't be arsed having other kids in the house/taking them to soft play etc (plus i work more than full time) ... so the moral? don't beat yourself up, it could be worser! grin

and i was benignly ignored by my stay at home mother for years whilst she cooked and cleaned - and i turned out ok! sometimes mumsnet makes me think that i should be a jester as well as a cook, cleaner and full time academic - perhaps that's what's happening with you/the way you feel?

drmummmsy Fri 25-Jan-13 16:39:58

oh and i also sometimes worry that she'll have crap memories of me compared to her dad (or that she'll have a better relationship with him) but find reassurance in the fact that other poster's teenagers don't remember either way...

BeaWheesht Fri 25-Jan-13 16:58:26

I know how you feel a bit. When we just had ds (now 6) I used to play with him a lot but now we have dd (2) I feel like sometimes I don't bother because its too much hassle because dd gets jealous and ds wants to play intricate games that dd will ruin. hmm

I try and do simple things like watch funny clips on YouTube, make a road out of masking tape on our wooden floor and make signs / buildings out of cardboard, baking - more often that not simple things like icing cakes / biscuits / choc crispy cakes.

I've also just bought ds a makedo kit - see amazon - they are kits with different bits in to turn 'junk' into things eg robots and trailers etc.

We go out a lot too - museums, zoo, walks in the woods etc as it forces me to do stuff!

Snog Fri 25-Jan-13 17:07:56

I found that reading the book "Playful Parenting" made me see playing with my child in a totally different way and made me enjoy the experience far more. It's my fave parenting book and I can't recommend it highly enough smile

SocietyClowns Fri 25-Jan-13 17:22:07

What Drmummmsy said . Same situation here. Luckily dh is a big kid and does dens, hide and seek and all sorts of weird and wonderful games. I guess my girls won't remember that I fed them, put them to bed at a reasonable time, made sure they brushed their teeth and had clean clothes...

slowlycatchymonkey Fri 25-Jan-13 21:35:27

Will deffo get that book as a few posters have recommended it. I tried to make a point of spending the whole evening with her this eve, we did her reading after school, had dinner, played hexbugs then watched her favourite musical. She kept asking me to pause it though to ask me questions and talk, so it ended up being 9pm and it was only half way through so I said she would need to go to bed and watch the rest of it tomorrow. She has an absolute hysterical episode so cue me losing my rag and she goes to bed- evening spoiled. I'm am completely shit at this:/

3monkeys Fri 25-Jan-13 21:44:37

I find Lego and board games better if I have tv on in the background. I always think it's better than not playing! Dh is definitely the one who plays while I organise, iron, cook etc!!

BornToFolk Fri 25-Jan-13 22:03:34

You're not shit Slowly! I really think you are being too hard on yourself. I know where you are coming from, it's easy to focus on what went wrong but you need to remember all the nice time you spent with your DD. It'll make a difference to both of you.

Snazzynewyear Fri 25-Jan-13 22:15:49

Have always found museums very good for weekend things to do - they are free for one thing and also, where I am at least, they always have activities on for kids - making models of stuff, drawing pictures. Nice cup of tea in the cafe. There is also usually space for DC to run around among the displays and this is expected! Maybe have a look online at what is available near you?

OP try these two activities, they really are fun (even for adults). I did them today with my 4 and 7 y.o and they loved it and it didn't take that long.

Magic milk: put some milk in a plate so that it covers the bottom. Put a few drops of different food colouring on opposite sides of the plate. Dab a cotton but in a bit of washing up liquid. Pass cotton bud to DD and tell her to put it in the middle of the plates. Watch the colours swirl, it is lovely.

Slime: try to make some slime with some cornflour: 2 cups cornflour, 1 cup warm watter, a little bit of food colouring, mix it all and play...(I actually really enjoyed it and couldn't help but putting my hands in it all afternoon each time I walked past blush

Enjoy!

TreadOnTheCracks Fri 25-Jan-13 22:49:42

I love these.Nost of them are things you can do sat at the table and I use them lots when I have 10 minuites but lack inspiration.

www.amazon.co.uk/Things-Journey-Usborne-Activity-Cards/dp/0746073704/ref=sr_1_4?ie=UTF8&qid=1359154111&sr=8-4

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