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Heaping mum guilt on myself...I just dont seem to play with my kids enough

(15 Posts)
Herecomesthesciencebint Wed 14-Oct-09 21:35:37

Seems like a almost never just sit and play with them. DS's aged 4 and 2.

DS1 at school and by the time we get home, empty lunchbox, sort bag for next day and he has had a play in the garden whilst i sort tea out, its tea, then bath and bed. Or we go to the park, meet friends etc.

DS2 I work 2 days and on the other days I tend to go a bit mad if not out and about with him so we do playgroup, lunch in a cafe etc but then its nap and school pick up.
I try and do some stuff with him at group but prob spend at least half the time there drinking tea with friends blush. They have both always been really independant and rarely ask me to do stuff even at playgroup which gets me off the hook and makes me lazier.

I dont seem to set aside time to sit and do a jigsaw, colour, cut and paste, build things etc. I have to admit its not really my thing, Im not good a switching off from the household and playing, I always want to be tidying or cooking. But its no excuse and I felt really bad about it today when I realised that we bought DS2 a cash register and purse a week ago and I havent played with it once with him sad.

At weekends they are real outdoor boys and like to be in the garden with their dad but I know i could find time then and bet they would be keen to do an activity if I asked them

Am I alone in my parenting neglect or is this common? darent ask my friends!!

StrawberriesandCherries Wed 14-Oct-09 21:45:52

I dont think many mums play as such with dcs - as you say there is always so much else to do. But i know hat you mean re the guilt as i feel that too.

We now have a few card games on a wednesday and have bought a couple of easy games that take about ten mins. i find then that we can have half an hour on "family games night" (a wednesday) and the dcs love that.

But you do seem to be doing a lot with them and it is great they are outdoor boys - long may it last!!

defineme Wed 14-Oct-09 21:47:21

I am pretty much the same. I don't think it's all bad. You clearly facillitate play -you give them stuff and they get on with it whilst you get on with something else.

What I've tried to do is get into a routine of doing something with them from 2-3pm ie after we've come in, had lunch and cleared up. I know you have nap time, but there's probably a slot somewhere in the day.
If you do that then you have to pick up the slack later eg do the housework when they're in bed or when dh with them at the weekend or care less about the house being clean.

I also don't do things OI don't like - so no jigsaws or marble run, but yes to painting, playdoh and feeding ducks--dh does the marble run.

You know if you're reading stories to them, talking to them when they're in the bath, chatting over tea then they're luckier than a lot of kids will ever be-attention is priceless.

Why don't you get them to help you with the cooking - it will take longer, but at least you are getting on a bit.

Get out there in the garden with them and dh, but be productive - my 4 yrolds like weeding, deadheading, collecting leaves- you don't have to play football.

You can build on the good foundation yoou have -they sound lovely and so are you for caring.

ApuskiDusky Wed 14-Oct-09 21:48:19

This sounds very much like me, and I don't feel right about it. The times I do make an effort, I feel like it really makes a difference to the connection I have with my ds, but for some reason I find it really difficult to do it consistently. It doesn't help that DH is usually very good at playing (and other stuff - he isn't a good-time only dad) and that kind of lets me off the hook at bit.

I find some kinds of play better than others - I can get into duplo, but playing with cars or his train set drives me spare.

I bought 'playful parenting', and for me it confirms my view that it is important, I just need to put it into action more....

peggotty Wed 14-Oct-09 21:49:28

No, I am exactly the same. I do feel guilty sometimes but dd and ds are the same age as yours and they are perfectly happy. My ds in particular is happy to just potter about, and dd would rather play with friends than me anyway! Kids will come and pester if they really want you to play with.

deaddei Wed 14-Oct-09 21:50:14

Don't give yourself a hard time.
My mother did NOTHING with me- never took me to the park, messy play, feeding ducks- growing up in the early 1960s I was just put in the garden or sent out to play. I don't think mothers did in those days- they were busy enough with housework!
We do too much with them tbh, then beat ourselves up about it.

preciouslillywhite Wed 14-Oct-09 21:51:37

<whispers>

I hardly ever play with my dcs. I hardly ever have, even when they were tiny. In the school holidays, I take them out. Every day. When we come home, I hide sit in the kitchen and read the paper.

I do watch telly with them, though. Me and my ds (12) enjoy nothing more than watching "ten years younger" grin

don't beat yourself up! I think kids are much better off playing with other kids- and if you take them places they can do just that, then you're doing fine.

peggotty Wed 14-Oct-09 21:53:18

Positive attention doesn't have to involve playing, like defineme says, just talking to them or reading stories is attention. There's nothing wrong with not enjoying cars, playdoh, trains etc it's mind-numbing for most adults!

hormonstersnomore Wed 14-Oct-09 21:56:07

I never really enjoyed playing with my DCs, I dislike board games intensely and I'm not crafty at all. But my DH loved taking the kids out swimming or to the park & it used to give me a break. I wouldn't worry about it too much, mine say they never felt neglected as they had the playing bits with other people - grandparents, aunts & uncles & friends - and I used to read to them & bath them as well as watch videos, walk them to school and nursery. As long as they have your company and your attention at times, that's what matters.

OurLadyOfPerpetualSupper Wed 14-Oct-09 21:59:42

I think it's lovely for hem to play with mummy sometimes, but as Defineme says, being attentive is more important.

It's natural to have less time (and less inclination) as they get older, especially as you add to your family.

And the best way for them to learn is to accompany you as you go about your tasks - so give the little one a spray with water and a cloth so they can dust while you tidy up, or let them stand on a chair with bowls of raw pasta and a saucepan while you cook, or let them chop mushrooms for you.

It doesn't speed up your work, and still makes a mess, but it's great 'together' time, without that sense of dropping everything to play with them.

Herecomesthesciencebint Wed 14-Oct-09 22:22:12

thank you all for replying.

I do let them cook and clean with me, we all enjoy that. And I always sit and chat whilst they have tea and bath, read every night so its not that i dont spend time with them, i just feel that i never dedicate time for just them and playing. Well, rarely, cant really say never but not much.
But am relieved I am not alone.

I will try the suggestion of mentally agreeing a certain time a couple of times a week to just play but dont think will manage more than twenty minutes!!

I basically find things they like that i like which is being out the house, in the company of others!! or going somewhere with a teashop, so riding to the park and visiting the tea room!

I keep thinking I should be doing some phonics or juts making letter shapes whatever with Ds1 but the time just isnt there or isnt made (more to the point) other than bedtime and then he wants his stories not 'work' as he calls it! When they do playdoh i leave them to it but I could just go and sit and do letetrs then etc. i just seem not to. i stand and half read a paper or unload the washing or something, all things that could wait.

mummywoowoo Wed 14-Oct-09 22:29:32

hmmm... I can honestly say I NEVER remember my mother never played with me... and I didn't expect her to... thinking about it she just wouldn't know how... not that she was perfect but I did appreciate that she taught me to cook, took me shopping, theatre, talked a lot, etc... we just did other things.. You can't be good at everything!

I have a feeling I will also struggle with this aspect of parenting, especially as I'm always trying to do different things... like housework... how boring! Maybe I should buy the playful parenting book...

defineme Wed 14-Oct-09 22:36:39

With the phonics stuff we do those letters from elc that go in the bath and stick on the side of it - generally the 4yrolkds end up writing 'poo' with them, but it's a start and they're getting clean at the same time.

I also got a couple of notepad type workbooks from asdsa about phonics for 3-5yrolds and we do them once a week in the 20 minutes we have waiting for swimming -I keep them in the side pocket of the swim bag.

We also have the Dorling Kindersley play and learn reading and counting cdrom -they love the games and it's learning too -I think you can get jolly phonics cdroms. They get on with that on the computer on their own now.

We have the jolly phonics poster up in the kitchen so I can understand the phonics too -I find it difficult!

If your ds1 has started school he might need different stuff than my 4yrold twins, but you see how I'm not slogging over stuff with them - in the bath, whilst you wait for something -all much less arduous.

My friend does take the piss out of me for being a pushy parent when they have the workbooks out in the pool cafe though!

TheWheelsOnTheBusHaveFallenOff Wed 14-Oct-09 22:48:03

thank you so much for posting OP - you are not alone and neither am I now! have been thinking much the same about ds, 2.5 and feeling guilty that I don't get down on the floor and play with him - because I would much rather be reading the paper doing some housework and playing cars / Happyland / dinosaurs or whatever is sooooo dull.

Like you, we go out loads, so do tons of park / playground, seeing friends, museums or activities involving a teashop at the end educational opportunities.

I'm going to make a list of things that we can do at home including all the stuff I hate and make sure we are doing those things together every week. Perhaps I will make myself a reward chart and when I get enough stars I will award myself a treat!! I'm thinking new boots here rather than a sticker ... grin

iwantitnow Thu 15-Oct-09 18:59:46

Can't you do alot of the household stuff while your youngest has his nap - prepare tea in advance etc... Cook and tidy when they are in bed too - batch cook. But I love playing with my kids and hate doing the housework.

I would allocate a certain amount of time for each child each day to be honest. It is mind numbing but children love it when their mummies play with them. The more you play with them the more you can guide them towards doing the stuff that you enjoy. They are so little for such a short period of time when they actually want to play with you. The more you play with them the easier it becomes and you may actually enjoy it!

I don't think I will look back and think I wish I had a tidier house rather than I wish I had played with my toddlers more.

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