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How much time do you play with your kids?

post #1 of 16
Thread Starter 

My Mom is really laying a mega guilt fest on me.... and yeah, I know I'm not playing with my kids as much as I'd like... but I'm also only one person, and chores still need to get done too... 


I'm in the process of moving.  My BF is just moving into his new house now, and we are going to join him in the next couple of months, once the kids have had a chance to have a few overnights, and BF and I have everything set up really nice for us all, so we are expecting minimal organizing to have to happen once we move in.


Well, my Mom is really on my case because she doesn't feel DD helping unpack and "dust" is me interacting with her enough and since I work full time, weekends should be only about playing with my kids.


But if weekends are only about playing with the kids... when does cleaning, laundry, errands get done? 


I do laundry nearly every night after work, and I still seem to have mountains of laundry to do by time the weekend comes.  (um, I have two young children, they go through a lot of clothes, not to mention the baby and spit up rags, etc...)


I also try to run to the store on either my lunch break, if I'm not picking up anything that is going to spoil, or I will get into work early and run to the store after work to still get home around normal time, so my nanny can still leave on time.


I juggle a lot of things!  I'm totally on my own at night right now, and have to juggle the two kids, cooking dinner, feeding two kids and two kids betime routines, cleaning up dinner and end of day pick up of toys, laundry, bottles, etc.  I know this will get easier as both kids get older, and once I move, BF will be able to help with a lot of this.


But right now... it's incredibly hard to fit in actual play time with the kids.  Yes, I know, I'm not that great of a Mother.  bah... But I'm only one person, and just the actual care of them, just priority things, like food and having them and clothing clean... takes a lot of time.


So... how much do you get to play with your kids?  What can I cut?  (I can't afford a house keeper or someone to come unpack a house for me.  :P)

post #2 of 16
Im a student mom. DH is a student to. Mon &Wed im gone from 9-6. And tues/friday im gone from 9-5. Im home thursday and the weekends but its not unusual for them to play at my moms house or MILs house so we can get stuff done. I feel like im constantly doing housework or trying to do chores and play at the same time. I have a bit of mama guilt. Ihavent actually counted how often im simply playing with them but i know its less often than is optimal. I try to make chores as much fun as possible--playing games, being silly, talking the whole time. Laundry i usually do when they are in bed. I hold onto the fact that it will get easier as they get older and that future semesters will hopefully be easier.
For you, it sounds like this is largely bc of your move. It will calm down soon and hopefully you'll be able to find a better rhythm than you have now. I think it will be better as the baby gets older as well.
post #3 of 16

Oh please-ignore the guilt trip!  I WAH and I don't play all that much.  It is just not my personality to get down on teh floor and play all day even if I did have the time.  My kids get TONS of time to play, but it is more individual or with each other.  I am sure your dd is getting lots of play time during the day as well.  As dd gets older, I like to play card games or do crafts, but just can't get into long involved pretend games. My kids also tag along as I do chores, laundry, etc., and I think this is a positive thing.  You don't want your kids growing up feeling like chore happen like magic after they go to bed, right? You also don't want them growing up with an exhausted mama or in a dirty disorganized house with no clean laundry right? (well, to the best of our abilities at least, lol!)  Interacting while you cook or clean is still positive interaction even if it is not actual "play."


Unless your mom is offerring to help you with cleaning and laundry, I don't think she gets a say as to how you spend your time.  From your past posts, it seems like she just wants to find fault in what you do.  I actually vividly remember a post from LONG ago about your mom criticizing you for cleaning on weekends that you had your dsd, so it sounds like this is an ongoing problem that you just can't win-so don't try :)


Oh, and congrats on the new place!

post #4 of 16

I was a SAHM for 10 years and I did not play much with my kids. It's just not me. They turned out to be very intillegent kids with great imaginations who could self-entertain. They were expected to just join along with my life and help out with chores, which we made a game. And shopping and such. I also let them know I needed my own time to recharge. I did go to mommy groups once a week and the park, we read together and did puzzles and such, but usually they learned to just fit into my daily life and the things that needed to be done to run the household. I can't imagine spending all day only concerned with entertaining children. 

post #5 of 16

I very rarely sit down and play with toys with my kids.  Heck even at the park, I'll watch or push on the swing or maybe go down the slide, but that's about it.  And my kids are just fine. 


I do disagree with your mom that you can't interact with your child while you're cleaning.  I do it every week.  My kids help clean and we talk and laugh and it's fine.  My oldest son does his homework while I'm cooking dinner and we both learn all kinds of things from that.  As long as you aren't sticking your kid in the corner and ignoring them, you can still get things done while interacting with your child.  As a working mom (in your case a single working mom) you have enough on your plate without having to deal with guilt that someone else is trying to force on you.

post #6 of 16
Thread Starter 

Thanks everyone, that certainly makes me feel better.  :-)


I'm not that big into pretend play either.  I'm really excited for when I can really start doing crafts with DD.  She can now, but our space is so crammed at my parents, and I'm a Virgo almost to fault and if I don't have a space set up comfortably and in my own organization, I simply can't function.  All our craft supplies at the moment are in a cabinet that is usually blocked by DD's toys, and there is no real good solution until we move... I can't wait to have access to all those fun supplies again and a space to sit down with DD and do things like that!


I do talk to her and explain laundry and dinner, and have her help in a fun way with all of that stuff, and I see that as beneficial.  I also have fibromyalgia, so some days... nothing but cuddling on the couch gets done.  lol  I'm definitely much more of a nurturer bonder (cuddles, kissing boo-boos, reading bedtime stories) than a play bonder... for one, I can't get down on the ground and play, far too much pain, it's very difficult for me...  And DD is starting to understand that some. 


greenmami... that is a very valid point about my Mom.  She was a SAHM until my youngest sister was school-aged, and I think she has a hard time recognizing that things just aren't the same with me because I have to work.  She likes to guilt me about working all the time... but um, how else am I going to keep my kids in clothes and food on their plates?  But yeah... I likely will never be able to meet my Mom's unrealistic expectations.  *shrugs*

post #7 of 16

I don't play with my son very much - as in, get down on the floor and play or devote an afternoon to kid play. It's just not my style. There is always stuff to get done, especially on the weekends. However, he is well aware that I am available for listening, conversation,checking out what he's doing, overseeing his homework, etc. And I don't have a problem explaining to him that the laundry needs to get done or that meal needs to be be cooked, so I can't play right now.


Now that ds is old enough to enjoy board games, that provides a good time to sit and participate in an activity with him that doesn't make me want to die of boredom and can be done while in between laundry loads or why I get something in the oven.


And if the "I don't play with him" sounds harsh (which I've been told before on MDC), I can almost guarantee if you saw our lives in action you wouldn't think so. The boy gets so much of our attention.

post #8 of 16

I play with the kids a lot in the one-on-one style on the floor I'll be donkey you be sheep or let's do an art project or read 400 stories. I find if I play for a longish stretch, moret than 30m and less than an hour I can then work on a concentrated fashion on something else (food/cleaning/laundry) without them being bothered. But if I don't make it a priority several times a day then they are all over me.

post #9 of 16

I WOH full time and I confess to liking to play with my kids.


I'm lucky if I play with my kids for 20-30 minutes each 2-3 times a week. My dd is 6 and she loves to cook with me. Ds will follow me around the house and spout off random sports facts while I do stuff like fold laundry. (Did you know that San Antonio has lost 6 straight? I'm still trying to figure out why we care about San Antonio..)


IMO, interaction with your kids is important. Play? Not so much.

post #10 of 16

once I read an article, it was very interesting! I think I rad it on mothering. On about how actually playing with your kids kills their imagination and their ability to intertain themselves. My kids love to play and pretend and everything and they learned to do it with each other, since from me they can get nothing more than homeschooling (I am a student, working mom). I don't like to play, they know it, and it's no problem, they like to draw and are super-creative with spending their time since they have no TV and no baby-sitter. All the family find them easy kids since they don't ask for much attention, they are find by themselves. On the other hand there are some kids I know who are used for full-time attention from their nanny for example, those kids are real pain. they won't spend 5 minutes by themselves!!!! My SIL's dd was in kindergarden since she was some months, and with a nanny constantly, she was never let to spend any time alone....now that she is 4 and if her nanny is busy (since there is her sister now) you really can't stand her. you have a feeling that she doesn't know how to entertain herself! my both parents worked full time and me and my sister always played together. if one of my parents could play with us, that was a very special time, but we knew very firmly that adults have to work and not play to keep our lives go on...:) 

post #11 of 16

I like this: "Unless your mom is offerring to help you with cleaning and laundry, I don't think she gets a say as to how you spend your time." Yes, as a single mom, I'm sure you could use more help! Tell your mom you would love to have more play time with your kids, and that it is generous of her to offer to help!! :)


My husband works out of town -a lot- so while I am not a single mom, I am responsible for 100% of housework and kiddo + work much of the time. My son hangs out with me while I do chores, and he "helps." He is in a Montessori school, and much of their philosophy says this is the way parents/teachers should interact with kids. You are doing everything just right!

post #12 of 16

I think you should tell your mom that she is welcome to help you do x,y, and z anytime she feels the desire to so that you can make have time to just be with them.  I think it is very easy for someone who hasn't had to balance working and being a single mom to step in and judge, but that doesn't make it right.


One thing that saves me time is dutch oven cooking.  You throw in the ingredients and cook them for about an hour at 450.  There are really awesome recipes and they tend to last two days so I only have to cook every other day.  The crock pot is also a nice thing to use for meal prep.  I don't pound meat or season it so the chunks of cut meat from the butcher work best for even quicker preparation.  This saves a lot of evening time that we spend reading and having a nice long night routine.  I also try to really plan out my shopping list so I can do it right after pick up on the last day of the work week, I am not at my best then, but it is nice to have the weekend to relax without the pressure of having to run even more errands.  I used to run all over the place doing many errands, but I have tried to really cut back to essential errands (groceries and library) on one day of the week or two week nights after work so we can have at least one full day to stay home and relax.  I start laundry on Friday night and finish it Saturday then fold it while my dd watches a movie also so that I can keep Sunday a work free day.  This is something we have just switched to in the last few months and after a tough adjustment on my end I have to say that it is really nice to be able to have this day to stay home or walk the neighborhood with nothing but enjoying each others company on our minds. 


Also, taking and asking for help from my family has been something that I have had to learn to do.  I wanted to do it all myself and never ask for help, but when I started going easy on myself and asking for help or taking the help that was offered I really felt more relaxed and my dd was able to enjoy being a child while I worked more quickly because I wasn't interrupted.  It had the added benefit of making my mom realize how hard it is to care for a child and balance out other things, it is something that mom's forget once they are out of that stage (especially when grandkids are concerned).

post #13 of 16

I agree with cutting back on errand running. I shop online waaaay more- including occasionally ordering groceries online and having them delivered Saturday morning and doing the subscription feature on Amazon for things we use frequently (contact solution, diap wipes, shampoo, etc). Saves a lot of time that can used for play time.


I also thought about this thread last night while my 17 mo was "helping" me make my bed. As I was putting the sheets on I would parachute them over his head- he loved it! These little moments of connecting and playing while also doing work COUNT!!

post #14 of 16

I do NOT like to play. Once a week we have an all out "fun" afternoon of imaginary play that everyone is involved in. Otherwise they are on their own.. I'm not a playmate. I'm their mother... we do however spend lots of time doing together things like cleaning, reading, cooking... I don't have to be their playmate or clown for them to know that I love them. This is the schpeel I give myself when guilt sets in... I don't know that everyone would agree but it works for me!

post #15 of 16


You are doing fine--your mom just doesn't understand. Eventually she will see that you not being "The Toy" will not stunt their emotional growth and your children are fine.


I am a SAHM but my dd has long since given up on getting me to play barbies; I'm more of a "kiss and cuddle" than a "play on the floor" parent too.

post #16 of 16
I think having your dd dust with you and help you unpack totally counts as "play" time! Kids just like to spend time you and she probably is having a great time dusting, etc. She's too young to know it's work LOL.

I think time spent with kids is all valuable, regardless of the activity you are doing. Besides each minute of the day can't be spent riding ponies, playing games, coloring, etc.
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