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I Don't Play With My Kids All the Time

My Mom Never Played With Me as a Kid, and It Affects the Way I Parent

My mom never played with me when I was a kid. She never got on the floor to play Barbies. She never played house or school with my brothers and me. She didn't create arts and crafts with us. And you know what? We all turned out just fine. We love our mother more than anything, and she loves us the same, despite the fact that she didn't play with us. To us, she's the greatest mother of all time. And I admit, I wish things today were similar to what they were back then, but they're not.

I adore my children, but I do not owe them all of my time.
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Today, parents can feel immense pressure to always be present with our children. Thanks to social media, being anything less than the perfect parent can make you feel guilty and terrible. You should make all of their meals from scratch, dress them in matching outfits, stage creative photo shoots, and play with them 24/7. Because of you, they should always be busy, right? You sign them up for camp and after-school activities, plan interactive parties, and spend hours on Pinterest organizing arts and crafts that have an educational purpose. Long story short, kids can't be bored for one damn second anymore.

While I understand the necessity to not be engrossed in screens and technology all the time, I'm still not buying into this stressful need to constantly play with my kids and be present with them all day long. Yes, I understand that my children will only be little once and that this time goes by quickly, but I also feel that they (and I) need to be left alone sometimes.

It may sound harsh, but my kids need to learn to just . . . be.

It may sound harsh, but my kids need to learn to just . . . be. They don't need me to constantly entertain them, just like my mother didn't feel the need to constantly entertain me. They should be able to create their own fun without my help. I don't care if they collect a pile of rocks from the backyard or put on an elaborate play in the backyard. If my children are bored, that's on them.

But I will admit that I've struggled with this. Even when I'm working from home, trying to meet a deadline to help provide for my family, I feel guilty for not concentrating solely on my kids. And then I think, "What a joke, right?" I work, cook, clean, and parent them every single day, so why can't I also relax and think about myself sometimes? I enjoy playing with my kids, but it's not my job to do it hourly, even if they ask me to or tell me they're bored. I adore my children, but I do not owe them all of my time.

Today, I'm learning to find a happy medium. I've found that when my son asks, "Mom, will you play Candy Land with me?" and I respond "No," his world does not implode. He doesn't cry or throw a temper tantrum. Sometimes, yes, he feels disappointed, but he's grown to understand that Mommy is not going to be his constant playmate. He has a little sister for that.

I will continue to be present with my kids by doing things like turning my phone off and playing soccer with them in the yard. But just like my own wonderful mother, I refuse to be my kids' constant entertainment. I'm sure they can figure it out on their own. And just like I love my mom despite her never playing with me, I'm sure my children will love me, too. I will enjoy my kids being little once, but not every second of it, because that's just too damn exhausting.

Editor's Note: This piece was written by a POPSUGAR contributor and does not necessarily reflect the views of POPSUGAR Inc. Interested in joining our POPSUGAR Voices network of contributors from around the globe? Click here.

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