Many moms are convinced they don’t spend enough time with their kids. I get that because I often feel the exact same way. How much should I play with my child?
In fact, there are many times that I don’t want to play with my kids. Times I crave alone time and silence to read a book or do an activity just for me.
But then, the guilt starts rolling in.
What kind of mom doesn’t want to spend as much time with her kids as possible? They’re only young once, after all…
Let me be the first to raise my hand and say, ME..
We want to feel less guilty. But sometimes, our kids just get on our last nerve.
So before we go any further… first, you need a way to cope. I wrote down five of the strategies I use when I’m super annoyed and feeling so guilty for not spending time with my kids.
Grab them quickly by clicking the picture below.
Got them! Awesome… ready for a needed dose of reality?
Here’s the thing:
Modern Moms are Expected to Play With Their Kids All the Time
And this was simply not the case when we were kids.
Today’s culture has become increasingly kid-centric. All of our time seems to be spent attending events, shuttling back-and-forth from dance lessons or engaging in “meaningful” family activities.
Many of my mom friends tell me that they get “things done” after their kids go to bed.
That means that after tirelessly working or playing with their kids all day, at 9PM they start paying bills, cleaning the kitchen or doing laundry.
And they are burnt out.
Much more burnt out than our moms were or even our grandmas.
Back in the 1960’s, stay-at-home moms largely left kids to play by themselves while they took care of housework.
According to ABC news, the time women spend on housework has decreased by more than 40 percent in the last four decades. What’s that time being filled with?
It’s been totally devoted to time with our kids.
I say, victory… but we still carry around that guilt of not having everything together.
We want to be the fun mom with the perfectly spotless house.
Here’s why that’s impossible.
Our culture needs to change
My mom constantly tells me of how I’m a better mom to my kids than she was to me.
This is utterly false, but here’s how she sees it.
She sees me spending time with my kids and playing with them, something that she never had time to do because in the 80’s the culture was more about women working and keeping a clean house.
You know what I see?
When I look at my mothering, I see a chaotic mess.
- the four laundry baskets of laundry sitting in our room waiting to be folded.
- that my son’s pants are way too short for him and I haven’t made time to get him a new winter wardrobe.
- And yesterday afternoon when I gripped the corners of my kitchen counter willing myself not to scream.
The truth is that we have no help. Let’s look at this way:
Lack of Support for Moms
In elementary school, we used to have a 30-minute recess in the morning and then an hour for lunch and recess. You know what today’s kids have:
That’s it. When our kids come home, they have so much pent-up energy. Unlike our parent’s generation, we can’t just let them go outside and blow off some steam.
We’ve been too conditioned by stories of kids disappearing, getting hurt, or taken away by child services for neglect by leaving them to play by themselves.
So instead, we drag our tired selves through the motions of playing with our kids.
But, it’s a charade we can only keep up for so long before we become embittered and angry.
We fiercely love our kids but we are missing that time for ourselves.
Imagine how much different our lives would look if:
- your children could attend high quality pre-school for free like they do in Finland.
- You can send your young kids to the park worry-free just like Dutch moms.
A lot less stressful, yes?
The biggest predictor for a successful kid
But then, we want our kids to be successful when they grow up, right? That’s why we’re putting ourselves through hell now!
Here’s something to think about:
A study conducted in 2015 showed absolutely no correlation between the amount of times mom spent with their kids and future development.
You know what they did find a correlation between?
They found that the level of a mom’s stress negatively impacted her children.
Stress that comes from juggling working, taking care of the family and finding time to play with our kids – which tell us that this non-stop scheduling and not making ourselves as a priority just isn’t working.
It’s time we took the time for ourselves.
And I’m not just talking about the “me-time” that is so often touted such as relaxing baths and reading trash magazines.
Those are all well and good… but I what we really need is a purpose outside our kids. Something that brings intellectual stimulation, challenge and everything we’ve told ourselves that we don’t need right now.
Because we do need it….so so bad.
This can be:
- volunteering for a cause you’re passionate about
- learning a new skill such as playing the guitar or learning a new language
- Starting your own business
- pursuing something on your bucket list
We just need to pick something. That one thing. And go for it.
Because the more our kids see us engaged and happy in life, the more successful they will be.
The next time you feel guilty about not wanting to play with your kids, take a second and evaluate whether you are also pursuing something that challenges you.
If the answer is no, it’s time to find something.