Can I confess something to you? I don't always enjoy playing with my kids.
When my sons, age four and two, come to me and say, "Mama, come play with us!" I don't always feel an immediate rush of joy as I join them on the floor for Legos.
In full honesty, I get a little tired of making the same dinosaur noises over and over and over again. I look at the clock thinking hours have passed... it's been 15 minutes.
I love watching them play. I love hearing them laugh. And I am willing to tell them the same joke again and again so I can hear their peals of laughter
But for a long time, I felt a real sense of guilt over the fact I didn't just love play time. It's something I did and continue to do, but it's not my favorite part of the day.
I confessed this to my mom, that I didn't enjoy playing Legos or trains with my kids. Her response was... are you ready for this... "So?"
That was it. That was her response. So? My mom is awesome. My mother was fun and attentive and she worked hard to make things special for my sister and me. But when I thought about it I don't really ever remember my mom sitting on the floor and playing with me.
I remembered her reading to us, snuggling on the couch to watch movies, teaching me to play checkers or card games. I remember her helping me learn to read and do equations. I remember her teaching me to cook basic meals and helping me learn to roller skate.
Looking back on my childhood I don't feel a sense of longing for missed playtime with my mom. I had a sister and I played with her.
I also don't feel a sense of missed quality time with my mom because that time was there. My mother did so much for us and with us and my mental scrapbook is spilling over with memories of her dancing with us in the living room and dressing us up in ridiculous costumes because we thought it was fun.
I decided to stop focusing on what I thought was my failure in motherhood (it's not a failure at all!) and start focusing on the areas where I was pouring time into my children.
So I started keeping a to-do list in reverse. Every time I did something with my kids I wrote it in my day planner.
I realized I was doing so much more with my kids than even I realized. I would look back at the end of the day or after a long week and see all of the things I did with my boys. We pick blackberries, I put music on my phone and we danced in the field next to our house. We read book after book after book. We baked. We went for walks. And we all loved these things.
I am not telling you this to toot my own horn or to shout "hey look what a fantastic mom I am!" I am telling you this to maybe bring some encouragement to you in your own motherhood journey.
There may be areas of your life with kids you don't absolutely love and maybe you do them anyway, maybe you don't. That's fine. Don't be so hard on yourself. Don't drive by the neighbors house and see another mother chasing her kids through the yard and feel bad about yourself. There may be things you love to do with your kids that she tolerates with a quiet smile.
What about you? Are there areas of motherhood you feel guilty about not enjoying?