We’ve just had One Of Those Days. Those days where I’m suspended somewhere between remembering what it’s like to be a kid when your mum’s too busy to play and forging forward as a mum who’s too busy to play. I read that book – Playful Parenting – and it is only one of three that resonated. It made perfect sense and when I put the teachings into practice it totally worked But…dinner’s burning, postman’s knocking, mess, washing machine’s dinging, I only have today to finish the three loads of washing so it’ll dry before Monday,
When did I become so DULL? When does the playfulness give way to schedules and routines and vitamin-related anxiety?
I have excellent plans the night before, usually because I’ve disappointed myself that day by shouting or not listening properly. ‘I shall be patient all day, we’ll laugh together and have those sweet, quiet moments which dominated our first two years together. Then I wake too early or find that glass of wine has left me feeling foggy. My temper is short, and I try to fight it, knowing I have the power to turn this day around – just me. I allow the TV to go on so we can cuddle in my bed. It doesn’t have the desired effect. As the TV lulls her into a private, muted moment, a rogue foot swings round and catches me in the face. I suggest we go get breakfast and she whines because the programme is in full flow. No matter, they only last 5 minutes these shows. Except that the show we’re really there for is still 3 shows away it turns out.
That allows just enough time to be mired in guilt, realising we could be reading, playing…. Even just talking.
And so I make several more errors and missteps. Either out of laziness or stupidity. They stack up, the mood drops. I snap. I reach around in my brain for words of wisdom from all those books I meant to read. I think colouring will fix it, and then we miss the signs that lunch is overdue so we are both hangry. We play Sylvanians and the dictatorial mum of the bears bosses the babies into their playroom, telling them off for dragging their heels and forgetting to wash their hands. It’s painful because they’re my words coming out of my gorgeous kid’s mouth. This bear in her flowery dress and flappy apron is me, big chin and all.
I’m grumpy. I know I have to rise above this mood, but it’s tricky for some reason. She just wants to play, but not alone. She’s probably seeking reassurance after every little disagreement that it’s all OK really. And of course it is. Our stars aren’t aligned today. But there’s always the bedtime story. And tomorrow is another day.