Before having a child, I assume most people think about what life is going to be like with said child. You know you won’t get much sleep, you think about all the stuff you’re going to have to buy or have to give up. You look forward to doing things like going for a walk with the stroller or taking your child to the zoo. You imagine all the ways your life is going to change. Something I am sure most people do not think about is the amount of time you are going to spend playing with/entertaining your child. I know I didn’t think about it. Yet, this is literally what I spend most of my time doing. I am living a double life. I am Renee… but, I am also Renee the circus clown. Or at least that’s what it feels like.
I would bet money that most parents do not enjoy playing with their children… and why would they? They’re adults!
Of course some moments are super special. Seeing your child develop and do or say new things is exciting. Toddlers are insanely cute. But, I still don’t love sitting on the floor making animal sounds in a high pitch voice and funny faces for 12 hours a day. I used to feel GUILTY about not enjoying playing with my son, but, then I realized… duh, of course I don’t enjoy playing with him… I’m an adult! I think the fact that I don’t enjoy driving mini cars around by hand going “vrooom” or putting little wooden puzzles together over and over (x100) actually makes me pretty normal. I enjoy adult conversations, watching Bravo, social media, shopping, going to the movies, yoga, etc.
…of course there are enjoyable moments and it’s exciting when they do new things and act all cute…
I’m not a monster.
It is also important to note that just because a parent (I’m sure it’s all of us) doesn’t enjoy playing with their child, doesn’t mean that they don’t do it. It also doesn’t mean that they aren’t good at it or that they don’t put effort in. I am f*cking good at entertaining kids, especially my son. Do I slack sometimes because I’m tired or focused on something else. Yes. Is that okay? Yes. I know rationally in my head that independent play is important for children, and my son is so good at it. But, no matter how many times I tell myself this, I still feel guilty when I’m not giving him my full attention. That is something I am working on. It’s kind of like how you can’t rationalize your anxious feelings sometimes. Your brain says one thing but your feelings/emotions say another.
Just because I don’t enjoy playing with toddlers, doesn’t mean that I don’t do it, and it doesn’t mean that I don’t do it really f*cking well.