Tuesday, February 26, 2008

Bad Mommy

I have finally come to the conclusion, and there is no running from it anymore, that I am not being a good mom. I don't spend enough time with my kids. I spend plenty of time around them, but not enough with them. This is something I have felt so guilty about for so long. I think I just have to put it out there. I was reading a bunch of reviews for various parenting books on Amazon and came across one called Playful Parenting and the arrows of guilt went flying right through my chest. It's not that I am a super serious mom, I am fun and funny. I just tend to get self-absorbed and distracted by cleaning the house or running errands...B A D...M O M!!! I feel like I pawn the kids off on playing with their friends, which of course they love to do, but I feel like *I* really need to 'do stuff' with them more.

I think I am a great mom to Andrew. I relate so much better to him. Maybe because he is a teenager. I love music, he loves music. We love to listen to alot of the same stuff and talk about it and find cool new stuff to listen to. I don't want to play alot of girlie stuff with Autumn or video games with Ben because they make me really sleepy. I know this is terrible. I am NOT looking for comfort. I get really mad when Ben tries everything in his power to coerce me to play video games. Except for Guitar Hero which is fun, I don't want to shoot people in Halo 3 or kick the crap out of them in Mortal Kombat. I like reading stories to my two youngest kids, but they won't always let me.

Here I am this AP (attachment parenting) mom and I feel like I am majorly dropping the ball..total fraudville! I mean, when the weather is nice I will take the kids to play tennis or play baseball outside. But inwardly I am wanting my husband to do those things...you know...be the dad that throws the ball. It's not something he does much.

Also, with Ben's relentless demands and moodiness I tend to run away from him and find something else I really need to do...like laundry etc. I know I am the mom who is forever saying, "Hold on a minute." or "I'll be right there." or "Maybe later." And I try and avoid them. Oh, I am so BAD! Why am I like this? (No one needs to answer that...it's more a question I am posing to myself.) You know, it's that I am selfish. I get bored doing things that aren't mentally stimulating and literally start to fall asleep. How do I get my kids to do stuff that won't put me to sleep and that we will all love?

I love snuggling them, I love chatting with them, I will take them places. I nursed them all for years not months, we co-slept with all of them. I just have such a hard time playing. Am I alone in this?
For those of you moms out there that are great at playing with your kids...how do you do it?


Marie said...

Hey Rachel,

I read that book "Playful Parenting" a few years ago. As I recall it is actually helpful, and it talks about what to do when you are bored stiff doing what your kids want to do, and what to do when you don't like to play. In other words, it teaches you how to play. I don't remember all the details, to be honest, but I recall that it was a good book.

My ds always tags dh to want to play his stuff, and I admit that I like that because he always wants to do physical contact "sports". He can clobber me! I don't mind playing with my daughter, but she's only 2 so we can do just about anything and it's fun.

I think this is the fourth time I've had this same conversation come up in the last week, about the struggle to play. So we are not the only ones who struggle with this! For me it does take an exercise of the will to play. I don't think it makes one a bad person for play to be foreign. Like cooking or balancing a checkbook, it's a skill.

Amanda said...

I can TOTALLY relate to this, Rachel. All of it except the teenager part, 'cause I don't have one yet. :) I even tried reading "Playful Parenting," but I never finished it.

As often as I've felt guilty about it, and tried to change, the only thing that's really worked is to find something that I like doing that my kids could do with me -- and then let them. Like baking and gardening, mostly. I do play games with them sometimes. And they'll let me read "Captain Underpants" and any nonfiction about animals to them.

I also have to set limits on my own reading and computer time so I don't become too absorbed in my thoughts during the day. As long as I'm truly PRESENT and mentally available, I don't necessarily have to be doing something with them directly. It still affects our closeness and their contentedness.

Leonie said...

I think we all mother in different ways and that is okay. Some are more playful, others more chatty It works out in the end. Truly. Be yourself, love your kids in your own way. :-)