How much should I play with my kids?

I’m lucky that I get to spend so much time with my kiddos.  I really am.  And as much as I, or any other parent, may joke about them wearing me out and stressing me out, the bottom line is that time with our babies is priceless.  (Side note: I officially sound like one of those cheesy mommies that I rolled my eyes at once upon a time.  We’ll talk about non-parents being annoyed by parents on another post though.)  But one thing that I have always wondered is, how much time should I spend actually playing with and/or entertaining them?  Now, my babies are just 10-months-old and 3.5-years-old, so they’re not old enough to be real independent yet.  Maybe when they’re older they won’t even want to play with me, right?  Oh, geez.  Okay, that’s a whole other story.  Anyway, if you’ve ever spent some days home with your kiddos, you know that there is always plenty to do, not counting any play time.  There’s prepping and cooking meals, cleaning up after meals, changing diapers, washing, drying, folding and putting away laundry, personal business like bills, errands and phone calls, and for me, actually doing my work from home.  Some days, it seems that there isn’t even much time to do any playing, but once you get a good groove and organize all of your tasks, finding time to play with the babies is easier.  So when I’m faced with a moment where I could play with them and just put off other tasks, should I?  And if so, should I do that every time?  Am I being too hard on myself?  Am I catering to them a little too much?  Or am I selfish for wanting to get some work done instead of play with them?  And don’t even get me started on when I do something fun for myself instead of playing with them – guilty city, baby.  Some of you may think I sound like a crazy person, but plenty of you probably have these exact same thoughts.  So, what’s the answer?  I imagine that an expert would tell us that we should find balance by playing with them some and also encouraging some independent play.  And although that obviously sounds like the logical answer, I hope I’m able to convince myself of that and not feel guilty if I’m not constantly playing with and entertaining my babies.  Mommy guilt – another term the old me probably would have rolled my eyes at – but it’s real, it exists, and it exists within me.  Okay, that’s enough writing for now.  I’ve gotta go play with my kids. 

Categories Family Fun, Parental Etiquette, Working Parents

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