I saw a quote, “housework can wait but children’s childhood won’t”. It also came with a gooey poem about a dirty house, filthy tiles and washing piled up, but as long as I’m playing with my babies the world can wait.
Bullsh*t! The world can’t wait and neither can the housework. However, once I finished reading the poem I did have a little ping of guilt.
Mothers, particularly mothers of young children who are stay at home mums get a bad wrap. We don’t do our hair, we’re in tracksuit pants most of our stay at home mum life, we’re tired all the time and now we are made to feel guilty for not playing with our kids all day.
Where will the guilt end?
There is even more pressure on us today that if we are not playing with our kids all day we are failing as parents and raising kids that will have issues later in life. What about the issue of having stressed out parents? The pressure to spend quality time with your kids can stress you out and actually make you a worse parent.
I love my three kids, but I cannot play with them all day. Nothing would get done. The house would be a big fat mess, dinner would not be cooked and we would have no clothes to wear and that’s just the necessities of life.
All those lovely well-wishers and clichés. “Oh don’t worry about that it can wait”. “It all goes by so fast”. “Treasure every moment”. There is one phrase in particular that gets trotted out time and time again. “The house work can wait”. Wait for what? The housework fairies? My husband?
While my husband is fantastic and is 100% present in every area he’s just another child I have to look after. It’s not his fault really. He’s a hunter. Going back to the cave man days his job was to go out and hunt for meat. My job? Make the cave look pretty to eat the meat in.
No-Frills ‘Me Time’
According to some experts we’re meant to play with our kids and be at their beck and call all day and when they’ve gone to bed, it’s time to scrub, dust, vacuum and iron.
Now I don’t know about you but I treasure my evenings. Once I’ve cooked for my three kids, cleaned up after them, bathed them, wrestled with them to get their pjs on, watched 5 episodes of the Wiggles, read them a story, read them another story, sung them a song or five, then spent the next 20 minutes holding hands with my 2 year old until he falls asleep – I don’t really want to start on the housework.
I want to take a long shower without all three kids trying to get in, have a glass of wine and watch two episodes of Keeping Up with the Kardashians. I want time off to myself and I think that is okay.
Seize the Sweet Age
Of course I play with my kids, in fact I spend time playing with them more than most. I taught all my kids to read and write before they started school and have always played sports with my boys out in the street, even while heavily pregnant. No I don’t want a medal or recognition, I just don’t want to feel guilty about not playing with them all the time.
It’s good to spend time playing with your children and I love it. My three get so excited when I initiate a game of wrestling, play blocks or make up silly adventure stories. But I refuse to feel guilty because I also spend time, cooking their dinner, tidying up after them and washing their clothes while they watch TV or play on the iPad.
What I try to remember when I’m overloaded and ready to pull my hair out. “It won’t last forever”. My exhaustion, the kids are always asking me and not their father, fighting and all the yelling.
And also the sweet moments when my oldest boy never forgets to kiss me and hug me so tightly when I drop him off at school. Lila who always comes into our bed every morning at 5am and wraps herself around me and falls back to sleep or when little Jude grabs my face so he can stare into my eyes and tell me a little story.
The same phrase comes to mind that this sweet age will not last forever so I treasure those moments even more. And I reckon, there is no such thing as spending too much time playing with our kids . Time is irrevocable and regrets of missing their childhood can be unbearable These are just some of those moments in parenting where we affirm this saying: Carpe Diem (Seize the Day!)