Tuesday, August 11, 2009

Mommies aren't always playful

Sometimes I am sick to death of my own living room and I question my mothering skills. I still struggle, as a stay-at-home mom, with my lack of productivity on a daily basis. I always have an endless list of things to get done and by the end of they day it seems I'm lucky if I've emptied both racks of the dishwasher. You'd think I'd have learned by now, ten months into this new career, to not make such long to-do lists, to take a deep breath and realize that my primary responsibility is to care for my child, not to scrub the baseboards, pull weeds and wipe down the refrigerator. Sometimes I am able to take note of this and experience a sort of zen-like peace that allows me to understand that "they grow up so fast" so "enjoy every moment" but I am also still frequently experiencing days when I am craving time to start and complete tasks, time to feel productive rather than playful.

And why aren't I more playful? Yesterday, when Finny woke up after only forty-five minutes of afternoon napping and it was raining again, I found myself restless. Two hours until dinner--what was I supposed to do with him until then? So I plopped him on that all too familiar living room rug and surrounded him with the same old toys and watched him throw his plastic balls around and suck on his plastic donut rings and admire the air vent once again. Once in a while he would find himself stuck under the coffee table again and I would have to fish him out so that he did not get a concussion from the head banging. But beyond that I sat on the couch, folding laundry and watching Design Star the whole time plagued with guilt. Should I be doing something developmentally stimulating with him right now, I questioned. Should we be working on his multiplication tables, playing catch, peekaboo, doing a paint-by-number? Am I letting his brain rot while I guiltily enjoy my DVRed show?

The truth is though I can only take peekaboo in small doses and I've read all those books in the book box too many times. Sometimes Mommy needs to watch her show and baby needs to learn not to crawl under the coffee table. So he did not learn 8x6=48 yesterday, but he did learn that mommies aren't always playful (especially when babies get up early from naps) and so he is learning to play by himself and that's valuable too.

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