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Just not enjoying playing with kids

(11 Posts)
littletinkers Thu 02-Jun-11 07:27:10

Hi I've been suffering from depression from a while and thought that playing with the kids would lift my spirits. In reality I just feel it is hard work and don't really enjoy it - well there are some things I enjoy more than others. Of course I love the kids to bits but I just don't seem to be able to create the happy fun atmosphere I want to when we are home alone together. I think maybe I am being a bit unrealistic - imaginging that I'd be some sort of mary poppins mother! Anyone got any tips for how to make the hard work more enjoyable without just doing things to please yourself?!

LardyMa Thu 02-Jun-11 07:46:19

sorry to hear about your depression little tinkers. i have 3 dc. not sure if this helps but what I do is just have fun myself and they kind of join in. ie I don't beat myself up about telly or computer use and I do my own thing and they join in. Sometimes tha means trips out to places I fancy and they are more than happy. Of course I listen to them too and it kind of works. I think we are all kind of happy most of the time but not all of the time since that would not be realistic. HTH

swash Thu 02-Jun-11 11:40:55

Littletinkers, sometimes playing with children is really really boring. That's a fact. I play with mine a bit and let them play with each other a lot more! My youngest loves helping me unstack the dishwasher or wipes the surfaces/windows with a damp cloth - they both love watering the garden. Cooking is always good - though I get really irritated when they don't listen! Telly goes on when I am feeling tired or ratty - which is a lot more often than I expected.

Getting out is much easier than entertaining your children at home too. If you are depressed, it will probably help you too. Check out your local surestart centre and make sure you know about events in your area.

littletinkers Thu 02-Jun-11 23:18:24

Thanks. I seem to be better at activities than sort of pretend play... my son is really into pretend play and quite quiet so I feel I should spend time with him on this... generally in the afternoons the depression kicks in and I just want to sleep but I know I wouldn't do if I didn't find play with Bob the builder diggers just so dull!

NormanTheForeman Thu 02-Jun-11 23:21:04

How old are they? The play gets more interesting as they get older, and have better imaginations etc.... And some of the toys get more interesting too, then.

QuackQuackSqueak Fri 03-Jun-11 08:26:26

OP You could be me! I have had a long lasting depression (mixed with bereavement) since my children were born and the oldest is 5. It's only been the last 6 months or so that I have started to feel better.

As well as finding play hard I've had trouble with my temper. I feel so guilty about it all, as though I have ruined my children's lives as they've had this terrible start to life with me.

I remember every day feeling as though getting to the end of the day was like climbing an enormous mounting!

I don't have much patience which doesn't help with the play thing as they make up weird rules as they go that just makes me not want to do it anymore. There are some things with I find easier though and I tend to just try to do those, although I have to make myself do it quite often. At the moment I'm just trying to make myself spend a chunk of time with each of them each day. It's not even that much, maybe 15 minutes so I feel terrible that I have to make myself do it. I am hoping though that if I keep doing it, it will become a habit.

The things I find easier are reading, drawing, hunting for bugs in the garden, going for walks and exploring, simple craft projects, cuddling, puzzles etc

The only way that I managed when they were younger was to go to play groups/baby groups, meet other mums and make friends. Then we used to meet up with them a lot and the children would play and we could have adult conversation and I would get some peace (oldest is demanding). I felt terrible about that as it was totally for selfish reasons but I knew they would benefit from it too. Sometimes you just have to do what you can to get through the day.

swash Fri 03-Jun-11 09:11:48

Littletinkers - pretend play with a young one is truly the dullest part of parenting! Dss was into Thomas and - trying to be the best stepmum ever - I used to play trains. Almost cried with boredom! Dd games slightly better because as a woman you know the rules and have nostalgia to encourage you. But it's still pretty bad.

littletinkers Fri 03-Jun-11 20:55:00

Feeling a bit better thanks! They are three. My girl is chatty and demanding but easier to play with as likes painting, crafts, dolls, all sorts of things. With the boy it's trains, diggers, cars all the way (groan)... he's happiest when with another boy playing - and so am I!!! I mean you get to see them happily playing and know you are not going to be tested on your weak spots!

Abelia Fri 03-Jun-11 21:02:09

littletinkers, sorry you're feeling this way. I feel your pain.

there is a great thread here with lots of ideas of how to be more engaged in play / activities at home with dc. Worth a look!

eslteacher Sun 05-Jun-11 23:24:43

I definitely find "pretend play" hard with kids. I have a 6 year old stepson, and what he wants most from me is to play with him at his pretend army-type games, or weird one-man-and-his-dog type stuff. I do it from time to time because it makes him so happy, and it's what he asks for more than anything else (because when I throw myself into it I suppose I do it quite well as far as he's concerned) but my LORD I find it boring, and I feel so ridiculous doing it. I definitely agree that the best thing for all concerned is when children play with each other, rather than an adult trying to partake in "pretend" type games, which are just not really a natural thing for adults to be doing with children IMO.

That said, I was at a barbeque party for a friend's 40th this evening, mostly adults but there were a few young kids, and this one woman (no kids of her own) just couldn't get enough of playing pretend games with all the kids. Maybe some people take to it more than others, but then it's VERY different doing it for one evening as opposed to every day/weekend...

TotallyLovely Mon 06-Jun-11 13:21:59

riverboat I have a friend like that. Every time he comes round he plays with the kids non stop for an hour or so doing all sorts of things. I love hearing them laughing but it makes me feel terrible that he makes them laugh more in an hour then I do all day and that he finds it so natural.

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