Let me get this off my chest first: I love my daughter. However I don’t like to play with her, or with any other child to be honest. I had always envisioned myself to be the Pinterest-worthy mom, before I had a child. I envisioned myself baking cookies and doing arts and crafts for hours. I would indulge my child with all the cool ideas I found on the internet. I would take my time, and play hide and seek for hours. We would make forts, and build sandcastles. The truth is I am more like a facilitator, buying her any kind of toy possible, and don’t forget all the arts and crafts supplies.
When I was a child myself I always wondered how adults could forget what it’s like to be a child; looks like I have completely forgotten what it’s like. I am too busy with adult things to sit down with her and do some coloring or play with Lego. It makes me antsy, I end up organizing her toys. My daughter is pretty self-sufficient, playing by herself. I always thought this is important. However not having a sibling makes you want to play with your parents, it’s a fact. My husband is able to play with her for hours like he has not a care in the world. I listen in envy as I move along with my adult things.
I recently started to admit that I don’t like to play with my child. There are many other things I enjoy doing with her, but playing is not one of them. Since I have admitted this to friends they told me that they find it hard too. These are mothers, not dads, funnily enough. I recognized some kind of childhood fear deep inside myself, and have started to be bit kinder to myself, while taking baby steps to connect with my child through play.
Believe it or not last weekend I jumped on a trampoline together with my child, and it was fun. Anybody that knows me knows that I hate jumping on trampolines, but her laugh was infectious. And it seemed that her cup was filled with love a bit longer than usual. My play might not include building sandcastles, but maybe a fort could be possible in the future.
Pictures: Pauline van Hasselt