Wait. I’m supposed to play with these kids?

by Janelle Hanchett

I created a new category called “things I shouldn’t say out loud let alone publish on the internet.” This post, my friends, falls squarely into that category, and may actually redefine the term “over-sharing.”

I actually considered not writing this, even though I felt compelled to do so.

Because this borders a little too closely on something I may want to pretend doesn’t exist. Something I may deny. Something my ego hates to admit.

But in the first post I wrote for this blog, I asked “where do the bad mothers go?” (Wait. Did I just quote myself? Wow, that’s a new low.)…and that got me thinking…I already admitted I’m a bad mother, and I don’t mean “bad” in the “ha ha ha aren’t I funny because really I’m a great mother and we all know it” kind of way…I mean “bad” like for real bad – like people may wonder if I have a heart bad. Like screw you, Janelle, bad. Like I’m not proud of this but it’s true, bad.

And since I already admitted it, why back out now from telling this shit the way it is?

There’s no reason.

So here you go…

Most of the time, I pretty much can’t stand playing with my kids.

You see? What the fuck. Bad.

Sometimes the stars align perfectly and I’m in a great, playful, carefree mood, and I can play with them and sing and be goofy (like recently when I walked around Walmart with underwear on my head – (I was buying them, they weren’t dirty)…and the kids were in hysterics and we played sword fighting with the foam pool noodles, right there in the aisle…and it was fun and we laughed and I felt like an alright mom for a minute.)

But say…oh…I don’t know…say the kids ask me to play with them, and I’m not in that kind of mood. Say yesterday happens, when I had been cleaning the house for 6 hours and was finished, but was suffering from allergies and feeling not quite right…just a little uneasy…just a little depressed…just a little, wait…what was it? Oh right. Self-pitying and self-centered and DOWN. That’s right. Uninspired. Over it. Fuck this family crap. Down.

But they are kids and they deserve a mom that plays with them.

And they’ve been asking me all day.

And the game’s all set up.

And I should do this for them.

But what I really want to do is leave. Be by myself. Not clean. Not listen to kids. Not be in this house for one more damn second.

But I have that pull. I hear that voice “Janelle…you should do this. Mothers do this. Just fucking do it.”

So I sit down to play Monopoly and they are bouncing. Bouncing. Because mama’s playing a game with them. Mama’s involved. As a courtesy they pretend to buy my plastered smile.

They even put cushions down in my spot, so I would be more comfortable on the floor.

Those kids are damn angels.

But check it out. Everything they do irritates the hell out of me. The way they slam the board when they’re moving their tokens across it…the way they lean over and knock the money piles everywhere…the way Ava directs everybody’s every single move…the way Rocket won’t focus and rolls around constantly…the energy…the time it takes… all of it. My skin is crawling. I act terribly. I’m a straight asshole to those kids, telling them what to do, demanding they do things my way.

Demanding that they not act like kids.

As I’m doing it I hate myself.

What the hell is wrong with me?

I’m there. But I’m not there.

I try, but I can’t snap out of it.

If you’re reading this and your kids are in college now and you’re thinking about how much you miss them, please don’t tell me how I’m short-sighted and should cherish these times because wow they’re SO QUICK and before I know it they’ll be out of the house and soon I’ll give ANYTHING to have these moments back .

Don’t tell me that.

Because I already know it.

I felt a yearning for that Monopoly game 5 hours after it happened.

I realized the beauty of what I missed while lying in bed that same night.

Right now I feel the sacredness of playing a game with my non-stop director daughter and goofy distracted son. I feel it. I know it.

And YET it doesn’t change it. It has no effect on The Now – when I need it. And all the self-talk “Oh come on, Janelle, be patient. Be kind. Chill the fuck out. These are your KIDS…”… all of it withers in the face of…well…I don’t know. Whatever the hell it is that makes me act like that.

It’s only the next day and I wish I could go back. But as one of my favorite songs says… that’s a “no-go for this hobo.”

I wonder how many times I’ll feel this before I learn.


Sorry, guys. You got dealt a mama who ain’t that good all the time. In fact she’s pretty shitty most of the time.

She’s a bad player.

But she loves you. And she’ll keep trying.

Hang with me little ones.

"I know Alcatraz stopped taking prisoners a while ago, but do you think they'll make an exception for that bitch mother of ours?"

  • kelly leonard

    I hear ya, sister.

    • Kickass Momma

      What a great post. Seriously. All the silly nonsense we tell ourselves (and each other) about what we’re ‘supposed’ to do and feel to be accepted into the Great Mommy Club. I generally hate playing with my kids (and have to admit that I sort of enjoy horrifying Triple A-type Mommies by proclaiming this…loudly). I spend 99% of my life force planning nutritious meals and cleaning and driving them around and obsessing about how to make their lives as fantastic as possible and running a house, and working…and as a wise circle of Mommy Crones on the other side of all this little-kid-ness once said, “So we’re supposed to do everything, AND play with them?! Fuck that – that’s DADDY’S job!” Yup.

    • Cristin

      Oh my God. Did I so need to read this post! Thank you so very much for being honest about your feelings. I feel exactly like that most of the time. I feel guilty constantly. Beating myself up cuz i think to myself, that I should not feel like this. I do though and I am allwed to have those feelings and so are you and everyone else. We can’t always be the fun goofy kid. We are adults. Anyways. Thank you again for posting this. It has made me feel so much better and to know I am not the only one who feels this way.

  • Shan

    So one thing that families are supposed to do for bonding and for better children and for the good of humankind is to have dinner together. At the table. I know this. You know this. If you didn’t know it on your own, there are fourteen people standing in line to tell you RIGHT NOW.

    Last week the girls and I did our Saturday shopping on Wednesday. No, we were not ahead of schedule. I bought a steak. No, I don’t know what kind. It was the normally expensive, but $5 off variety. Red meat. I can’t tell the difference.

    Yesterday I moved said steak from the freezer into the fridge. This weekend Tom managed to get out and do the Saturday shopping on Sunday. We’re trying to hit that target. He bought charcoal, took the boulder out that we have anchoring our grill (sucker weighs at least 40 pounds, but that doesn’t stop it from rolling across our backyard on occasion) and cooked the meat and some potatoes and made a salad.

    Tonight we had dinner together. As a family (minus my son, of course). Fynn sat in her high chair and played while Tom, Mad and I ate. And I struggled to enjoy it. Those lasting family memories shouldn’t come with Mama being so tense. But they do.

    You’re not alone.

    And I, for one, am pretty stoked about two posts in one day.

    • renegademama

      I love your insights on the blog, Shan. Thanks for reading & commenting…I can really relate to the dinnertime angst. And the “lasting family memories with mama being so tense…” that’s EXACTLY how I feel – like this is something special and wonderful – why am I so damn stressed out? Ugh.

      • DCMama

        I think I hate dinner time.

        • Christy

          I think I do too!

      • Nicole

        WOW!! This really spoke to me because i feel the same exact way sometimes. Its like at times my kids can be so innocent and want nothing more than to spend time with me playing a game or reading a book and if the day has gone well i feel like such a total bitch for denying them things i know i should do more often. I get so down on myself for not being perfect but counter that with rationalizing that i NEVER have time to myself so i end up zoning out and completly withdrawing from my surroundings when things become overwhelming (which is all too often). Its frustrating to think that there is always more i could be doing for my kids but at the same time feel as though i do so much already while all the time hoping to feel appreciation from a 4 and 2 year old.

      • Emily Wilkins

        I feel EXACTLY as you do about playing with my kids. It’s such a relief to hear someone else out there expressing my exact sentiments.

  • Dorothy

    I’m right with you. I have a really really really hard time playing. The second I give in and sit on the floor to play baby or whatever I start to yawn. My mind wanders. I make to-do lists in my head. After 5 minutes I can’t stand it anymore. And then, later, I feel bad because soon she won’t want to play anymore. You’re not alone in this, not at all!

    • Sarah

      This honestly makes me feel SOOOOO much better.

      I thought there was something wrong with me. My mother told me there was something wrong with me. How could I not like playing with my daughter? She’s my DAUGHTER. I’m supposed to always love being around her, and doing everything I can with her! You’re just taking advantage of your family by leaving her with your mother every so often.
      This has made me feel like less of a failure. Thank you.

      • Lisa

        Wow, that really sucks that your mom said that to you. I’m sorry.

        My mom never played with me – that I remember, anyway – so at least I don’t have many expectations on myself to do it with my kid.

  • Melanee Warren

    i have tears in my eyes right now becaue this is sooooo me. every day i wish i could get those moments back. i just gotta do better.

  • Christina

    Lol… Bad mothers unite.

    I have actually taught my kids to jump to the other side of the table so that they can play themselves because….. wait for it…. “Mommy is really busy right now but that doesn’t mean YOU cant play.” Or I say, “Daddy will be home in just a bit. He LOVES to play with you. He might even be sad if we start with out him.”

    Hahaha… Guilt is overrated. Besides isn’t that what dads are for. =}

  • Margie

    I totally have done that. Thanks for sucking right along with me.

  • The Sweetest

    Just last night my husband said to me that our son’s “cuteness” is starting to wear off, as in, he is annoying. Because he is growing up and can verbalize his needs and wants attention and playing-with-mom/dad ALL the time and drops food all over the floor and eats his boogers and cries because we tied his shoes wrong and throws himself down on anguish when I tell him I can’t play anymore because I have to go make dinner. Or clean. And believe me, I love my son so much it hurts, but half the time I only play with him because I know I need to. Because he longs for me to. I’d rather be cleaning/cooking/sleeping/drinking. Has his cuteness worn off? I think that’s an exaggeration. I desperate comment, made by my tired, played-out husband.

  • Wendy

    I am right in the club with you too—I am mediocre at best on my good mothering days. Do I like it? No. Have I tried to change it? Of course. Have I been successful? Not so much.

    Your admission of any of this makes you human. Honest. Real. (and quite frankly my hero!) I think if more mom’s admitted this to themselves, they might be a little happier. Trying to be the perfect parent is a miserable place to be (I’m sorry for thinking that!) There’s so much pressure to have the perfect, over achieving kids, that sometimes it’s too overwhelming and makes one’s life a living Hell.

    For me, for every day that I feel like you, there’s a moment that makes me feel a little better (like tonite at the grocery store showing my 17 year old daughter about couponing). But it was just a moment, then it was gone….and then I was yelling at them to all shut up in the car because they were getting on my nerves!!

  • dani

    I don’t think that makes you a bad mother.

    I don’t like playing with my kids either. And my parents didn’t play with me. I can only assume it was because, like me, it wasn’t their thing.

    I did fine. I played solo and used my imagination. I didn’t need my parents to play with me. I think that’s some new parenting guilt that’s put on us. Don’t give into the guilt, yo. Play when it is natural. I might not play Candyland with my littles, but I’ll sit in a skatepark for hours on end and download old Fugazi for their iPods. I’ll paint nails glittery pink and put on temporary tattoos.

    We all have our thing. Sometimes it’s just isn’t Candyland.

  • Stacey

    Yeah, I feel the same way (I’m twin-mom from your Davis mama-group). Exactly the same way, including feeling guilty about it hours (or minutes) later. At least when I feel guilty minutes later, I can jump back in and make the effort, although I’m usually bored again pretty much instantly. Also, I really, really, really hate the people who keep telling me to enjoy it because it goes by fast, etc. etc. etc. I feel like it goes by really slowly sometimes, it just seems fast after it’s all over. I dunno. Your post kinda scares me because I thought that at least once they start talking and becoming more interactive and, ya know, human, it would get better. But don’t get me wrong, I love the little buggers like crazy. I just sort of miss intelligent conversation.

  • Melissa M.

    I have been honored with an award, and now it’s your turn to be honored. Please visit http://www.ourmonkeylife.com/2011/05/take-2-and-3.html to accept your award. 🙂

    BTW… I effing love this post… I have been here so many times before!

  • Jess

    I hate playing with my kids.

    I don’t mind a nice jigsaw puzzle once in a awhile, because I get lost in them, and find them to be like xanax to my insane brain. But the kids prefer stupid games like Mouse Trap and Pictureka. And they want to play FOREVER.

    I’m all about some “go away and play”. My mom never played with my sister and I and we turned out fine. Generations of parents didn’t play with their kids and yet mankind has continued to thrive.

    I don’t feel bad about it. I really don’t. I mean, occasionally, I’ll do a craft or something with them. But I don’t like it. I pretend for them.

    Actually, in most things, I pretend for them. Isn’t that standard? 🙂

  • Heather O.

    You’re not a bad mother. You’re just not a stereotypical TV Land mom, and that’s perfectly okay. I am not into playing with my kids either. I’ve said it many times before: that’s why I had two of them, so they could play with each other. I like adult things, and adult time, and adult conversation. I have to give myself a lot of those “just fucking do it” pep talks when the girls want me to play their games and watch their movies.

    I’ll happily incorporate the kids into my hobbies and things that I enjoy… like Dani said, I’ll paint nails with glitter and download music to iPods… I’ll read and be *rightthere* like they want to be while they play, but playing with Barbies and Clue Jr. is really not my thing at all, and I end up feeling like a bitch of a mom when I do it, because my patience runs so short.

  • Corinne

    I am not a Mom but I often feel this way about my friends kids and am CERTAIN should I ever choose to torcher myself and procreate I will feel the same. (I say torture because any off spring of my own will undoubtedly put me through my paces unless the other person involved is somehow the calmest person to ever walk the planet) THANK YOU for making the potential mother in me feel like I should I ever decide to become a mother I would not be alone with my dis-interest in playing with kids.

  • Dee

    My mom didn’t play with my brother and I. In fact, if she had tried to, we would’ve looked at her funny. I don’t really play with my kiddos. That’s why I had four of them…so that I wouldn’t have to. J/K. Sorta.

  • Lesley

    I too, hated playing with my kids when they were little-er. “skin-crawling” is exactly how I felt. And I felt the same angst and self-condemnation for it. You’re so, so not alone.
    But know this: when you’re sitting there demanding they do it the “right way” – “demanding they not act like kids” it’s just exactly the same shit you put on yourself – that we put on ourselves about motherhood: be the “good mother” – do everything “right”, never get mad, never (egads!) yell, never fume and storm, pout, set boundaries – and never, ever act like the real person you are…
    Be what you think the picture of perfect mother looks like. No matter how much it hurts.

    I want to tell you it’s okay to not play with your kids. It’s okay to say no, that you just do not feel like it. Cause guess what? you are modelling to them how to be true to yourself – w/love and compassion for yourself.
    It is a huge, huge gift to them.
    They get to see a grown woman who takes care of, and really likes, herself. What are rare and beautiful thing.

    For the record, now that my kids are older we have way, way more fun together. We play video games together – even (gasp!) first-person shooters and (horror of horrors) WoW. We sometimes curse together about things, watch really gruesome horror movies and eat bad-for-you food while doing so. Yep, I admit and we, they AND me, have a blast. I have finally gotten pretty much over the fear of being a “bad mother” but there was a lot that happened between the time before and now.

    Something I heard once, early on in my mothering that really brought home, why we as mothers feel such guilt and responsibility: In the mid 1990’s a mother was brought to trial and found guilty as an accomplice to murder. She was a single mother, working two jobs and rarely home and her teenage son shot and killed another teenager one day. She was tried as a negligent mother, cause she wasn’t there to raise her son up right. People nodded their heads and said, ‘yep – she is at least partially to blame’…
    But here’s the kicker: the boy’s absent father was NOT. Nothing, nada word was said about him.

    This is what hangs over our heads, day in and day out. Maybe it’s heresy to say so, but call me a Feminist when I say that shit just ain’t right.

    Two awesome books that helped to save my butt are “If Only I Were a Better Mother” by Melissa Gayle West and “Operating Instructions” by Anne Lamott (like you have any time to read them!).

    Love and miss you. Keep shining – you are a huge inspiration to me.

    • Nicole

      Oh I just love that story, thank you!

  • Jamey

    I am the WORST at playing with my kids! It is sooooooooo boring and I can’t even muster the strength to even pretend I like it! Fortunately, I had enough kids I just tell them to play with each other. Thanks for airing this bit of shameful laundry…it made me feel better at least. 😉

  • Jennifer

    Oh how I can relate to this!! My kids were home sick this week. I put off the “let’s play a game!” question for hours. Because literally it KILLS me to play games with the two of them. I tried really, really hard to enjoy myself. But it was painful.

    However, as you well know, the look of utter joy and excitement they had the entire time was enough to remind me I’m not that much of an asshole. And I put a check mark in my book next to the page that says, “Days My Kids Won’t Look Back on During Therapy.”

  • Dani

    When and how did you crawl inside my brain and extract my exact thoughts? It sucks. And I hate myself most of the time. Every night I tell myself I’m a scumbag and that tomorrow I’m going to ignore the dishes, ignore the laundry, ignore whatever it is that I want or need and just play with my kids. But when the time comes, the thought of being stuck playing with them makes me lose my mind. I’ll get into a great mood once in a great while and do something totally uncharacteristic with them – like I’ll be walking to the bathroom and stop in my boys room and do something goofy which prompts them to be hysterical and join in. They get so excited because they rarely get that side of me; I never approach them. In fact most of my time is spent asking them to go entertain themselves. Crappy. I know. But the few occasions I get silly, they start goofing off with me but after a little while I’m done and they don’t want to stop. Then like the bitch I am, I get annoyed that they won’t leave me alone and will say something like “You guys need to learn when enough is enough.” I hate myself as I say it. Of course they aren’t ready to let go of such a precious, fleeting experience that rarely happens! But it’s always the same. I am a crappy mom.

  • Lizard

    I am so with you. In fact, you could actually be describing me. Thanks x

  • Gina

    I am *so* right there with you! “Shitty Mom of the Year” ten years running. I tell my husband we need to start the Shrink Fund now because their therapy bills will be astronomical. 😉

    I think every mother on earth feels the same way, but no one has the balls to say it. Thank you for having the balls! 😉

  • Andrea

    What a relief to read you post and know that I am not the only one who feels this way. Thank you!!!

  • Jo

    Your admission(s) made me cry. This is EXACTLY how I feel every single day and there is no way I could share my true thoughts with anyone. I’ve thought I have had to be the only mom around that feels and acts this way. Even though you may not have meant it…thank you for being so open and honest.

    • Jo

      “Even though you may not have meant it…thank you for being so open and honest.” should have been “Even though you may not have meant it to be encouraging for others…thank you for being so open and honest.”

      • renegademama

        No worries. 🙂 I knew what you meant.

    • renegademama

      That’s how I felt, Jo. Like there was definitely something wrong with me since this was true. But it turns out there’s a whole bunch of mothers feeling the exact same way. That’s comforting, don’t you think? Cheers.

  • Sarah

    thank you so much for posting this. I could have written it myself. It feels comforting to know that I’m not alone.

  • Rachael@Mogantosh

    I’m new, I started with your homeschool post (which a friend emailed me with a tag like STOP WHAT YOU’RE DOING AND READ THIS RIGHT NOW) and then I read this. Both these posts spoke the most beautiful, hilarious truth. Maybe part of why this kind of thing feels so ‘don’t hate me for admitting this godawful secret’ is that it so so rare to hear this kind of truth in this age of idealised, instagram-filtered, Pinterest-ready family portaiture.

    I’m writing this while my three year old watched TV and the baby eats raisins at her high chair. I feel the exact same creepin sense of shame and failure.

    Yet, the rest of the day is taken up cooking, washing, cleaning up after and driving around the kids. What, we can’t crap out for a while?

    I like to remember Betty Draper at these moments. I’m not so nostalgic for the smoking or the outfits of the 60s, but I do feel something of a pang for the way she spat ‘Go play!’ at her kids when they got under her feet. I don’t want to mother like that. But if that was the cultural norm, wouldn’t it be so much easier to feel like we were doing a good job?

    Love your work.

    Love love love.

  • Lana

    Thank you for posting this. I have been feeling so alone. We struggled for five years to have a baby and we finally were able to have a baby via IVF several years ago. So now I have this miracle child, we are blessed with a child who is beautiful and intelligent and wants my attention. I know I am so lucky! I know life is so precious, it’s so sad to hear about people who lose their children and I wish I could be more ‘there’ for her. But I totally don’t want to play. I know it’s selfish, but I’d rather work or clean house or check email/Facebook/online shopping deals because playing is so boring and I have so much trouble paying attention. I’m sure it’s obvious to my child, I KNOW I will be mad at myself because time goes by so fast and I fear what my lack of enthusiasm for playing with her will cause her to feel inadequate. I don’t know how to summon the energy to play! I want to be a better mom, but I don’t know how to change my mood or attention.

  • Heidi

    Ditto to everything above. But I’ll probably still feel guilty. And still wonder if its a good enough reason to have a second child, so he will have someone to play with. Then I get on an entirely different track of we need to live in a community so a village can help raise this child. Because it just isn’t natural! To be the sole source of every damn thing your child needs. Impossible.

  • spanishinterpreter

    I admit I feel guilty about this too, but I’m trying to stop. Playing is part of childhood for most animals. Have you ever been to the zoo and seen the baby animals running around acting all silly and perky, messing with the adults, messing with anything they can get their hands on, etc. Meanwhile, what are the adults doing? Sitting around, laying around, calmly doing some important activity like eating or grooming… I was about to point out this comparison isn’t quite accurate because it involves CAGED animals, but on second thought maybe it’s not that inaccurate.

    My point is that, for the most part, adults DON’T play. Because they’re adults. And although playfulness continues to be an important part of the human experience throughout life, adults do not play at the same things, nor in the same way, nor with thefrequency kids do. It’s not developmentally appropriate.

    I think it’s ok for us to set aside the notion of being “fun mom” and only play when it comes naturally to us. I’m struggling with this myself, but I want it to be ok to say “I’m an adult. I’m your mother, not your playmate.” I give hugs pretty freely, and the kids can count on me to teach them how to behave and how to clean up after themselves (I’m trying, anyway), and I let them invite friends over to play… but I’m not into Lego warriors and dress-up and squirmy children who want to reinvent the rules ifthe board game. That’s kid stuff!

    So, I’m going to set aside my guilt over not enjoying kids play, and re-invest in my guilt over not feeding the children properly. Because feeding your offspring actually IS the role of the adults in practically every species. Almost 12 years into the parenting project, and I still haven’t figured how to pack lunches and get dinner on the table. Seriously. I’m not talking about home-cooked family dinners, I’m talking about the kids just need SOMETHING decent to eat every day, preferably something involving at least 2-3 food groups. Something other than bagels with a side of ice cream.

    • Nicole

      LOL! That is just too awesome.

  • stefanie

    I have a horrible time playing. and it seems like its is never enough…never! i can play for two hours. they have 50 thousand toys and yet they cant play with them, its supposed to be my job to entertain them forever…why?!! I need to find something better to do then be a 5 year olds playmate. ugh.

  • mandy

    So im not the only one. I constantly feel like a douche, i want to do so much for them i want them to have everything….i don’t want to actually be there and do it with them though….. that’s so awful, they sorta drive me nuts my dd is so wild and LOUD and doesn’t want anything out of life no direction shes always unhappy no matter what we do its never enough. My son is so sweet and i feel so close to him but i recall feeling like that with my dd till about 3 years ago, i worry our relationship will change just like it did with her i worry he wont be the smiling happy little boy he is now. Even though he is all those things he is very demanding and at 20 months is still nonverbal and nursing full time doesn’t sleep though the night and all i can think is i cant take much more of this i just want to get the hell out of dodge, i feel like this attachment parenting thing is the right thing but it doesn’t stop me from screaming on the inside for a piece of myself back i feel like im trapped in a corner of my mind and clawing to get back out…sigh…. my chest is in knots i sigh all the time i get these washes of heat and an unbearable desire to throw things or run though the woods screaming.
    They are so messy it takes so much of me and sometimes i dont even recognize or know who me is anymore. I dont know HOW to play with my kids and i feel like my parents ruined me and im going to do it to them too despite my best efforts

  • Kyra

    This. Thank you. Tears streaming as I lie awake at 1:30 am because I feel like a horrible mom because I suck at playing with my daughter. It feels nice to not be alone in this!

  • katie

    I came across this blog post after googling for ways to help my 8 year old son entertain himself. The last day of school is here, & while I’m excited for sleeping in & No homework, I am dreading how these days are going to go. He is an only child but always has someone to play with him…whether it be me, my husband, his grandfather or uncle. We all live on the same property, so when one of us would get tired he just moved on to the next. I didn’t realize how much of a monster I was creating! He doesn’t care for TV or video games (even though he has a ton), & he has a bedroom & playroom FULL of toys. But he won’t play with anything unless an adult sits & plays with him.

    Yesterday after school he threw a tantrum because I wouldn’t play Monopoly with him. I offered to play a quick round of UNO with him instead so we did. As soon as we were done he wanted me to play with his legos, & I said no, that I had things to do. A little while later I sat down on the computer for a minute & he took that as my being done with housework & available to play again. How dare I sit down!

    Just last night I was cooking dinner & he asked me to show him how to make a paper airplane. I gave him his paper airplane kit & sat him down at the table. Less than 5 minutes later, he got so frustrated because he wanted me to do it for him. I stood my ground & told him if he wanted a paper airplane he was going to have to read & figure it out on his own. He balled up his paper & walked away & I thought to myself “so this is what you have to look forward to this summer”. Agghhh…he’s a smart kid so I know he could have figured out that airplane if he had truly tried.

    If I ask someone for advice, I get the whole “enjoy this time it goes so fast, blah blah…” but SCREW that! I am not here to entertain him, I’m here to mother him, & he is only going to suffer in the future if he can’t learn how to entertain himself now.

    My parents never played with me & I never expected them to. I have a battle ahead of me! Thank you so much for talking about this. It really helped put into perspective my guilt over not playing with him so I can really work on getting him to be more self sufficient.

  • Amanda

    Brand new to your blog and I never comment on stuff… That being said, here I am, commenting. This post totally touched home with me. I have a 9 year old son who I am raising by myself while working full time. I cannot count the times I have silently screamed in my head that I want to run away from the demands. I hate playing with my kid, too. 🙂 Occasionally, yes, every day, no. And yes, I feel guilty about that. So, it’s nice to know I am not the only one!

  • Nicole

    Oh My God! This is me me me me me, I so feel you sister. I didn’t read the comments, which I’m sure mirror what I’m saying, I’m just too excited, I need to respond first. I am a do-er. I LOVE spending time with my daughter when we are out and about doing things. I usually keep us out until the evening time because I consider that, my playing with her time (she’s 7) Now when we get home, that’s it I’m done, I will cook dinner, bathe her, do homework etc, but if she thinks I’m going to get down on the floor with her and her Barbie Mobile and play Barbies or checkers or whatever, she’s got another thing coming! I feel so horrible and guilty about it ALL the time because I know getting on the floor with her and playing those things is all she wants me to do.
    I know I’m just impatient but it’s like I can’t, It physically hurts my soul to get down and do those things with her. I always think there must be something so terribly wrong with me, that I’m the worst mom ever. Thank you for making me not feel so alone.

  • Nicole

    @Spanisinterpreter, that is just too awesome! LOL!

  • Collie

    I don’t play. My 8-year-old knows this. My 8-week-old will soon know this. I lunch with them, go to movies with them, take them to Disneyland, take them to the park and the zoo and museums and swim lessons . . . but, I don’t play. That’s Big Daddy’s thing. Not mine.

  • Susie

    I so totally get this! I have 4 kids and they used to play great together. The girls were fine playing dolls with each other (which I never could relate to having only 2 little brothers). Now the teens are doing teen stuff, the 12 year old has discovered that the computer is more interesting than Barbies and I’m left with a bored 9 year old who wants me to fill the void.

    I brushed her off for ages, but then she’d snuggle in my lap while I was trying to Facebook, until eventually my legs went numb and I knew I’d suffer the biggest guilt trip if I simply tossed her off…again.

    We went to play with her cute little girly lego set (a pet fashion show), which had been constructed exactly like the book and never deviated from that since her sister had put it together. After a few mind numbing minutes of dressing cats in bows and having them talk to each other, I went a bit crazy and started playing legos MY way. I deconstructed the seesaw and using the cat’s bowl, fashioned a small catapult. Then started using it to launch my cat across the room at my daughter’s cat, all the while cackling like a mad scientist.

    She learned 2 valuable lessons that day.
    1. Mum’s way is awesome, who knew you could actually BUILD stuff with lego.
    2. If you bug Mum to play with you long enough, she will, but don’t expect the game you wanted. Mums just don’t have the attention span, and will either fall asleep, make an excuse to leave early or stick around and do something nuts 🙂

  • Lise

    THANK YOU. For speaking my mind for me!

    I struggle daily with guilt over the fact that I am a stay-at-home mom of an only child, a toddler who has no friends her age with which to play, and I.Have.No.Earthly.Desire.To.Entertain.Her.

    I keep telling myself it’s because I’m old (44) and can’t keep up with her like a younger mom could, or because I’m too set in my ways and can’t be expected to change that about myself NOW. Truth is, I find it mind-numbingly boring. I’m bored-bored-bored with it.

    There are only so many times I can cut numbers from Play-Doh for her to count, or make her Disney Princess Little People sing and dance with her, or read her that Eric Carle book over and over and over…seriously, how many times does she have to slide the flap open to reveal the duck/fish/cat underneath before it becomes old news? Total snore fest.

    Yet, I know I am her only friend…besides Daddy, who works all day with the Big People. (LUCKY!) I knew I wasn’t cut out for this stay-at-home-mom crap from the get-go, but I wanted progeny, and paying for daycare is stupid if the cost eats up one person’s entire paycheck, so here I sit.

    I’m counting the days until she starts preschool (roughly 402, since I don’t know the exact day she starts yet). Then, I will have FOUR WHOLE HOURS each day of uninterrupted ADULT bliss, when I can do whateverthefuckIwant, including (but not limited to) drinking bloody marys and painting my toes.

    I may sound horrid, but please don’t judge. I love my baby girl, but it’s not healthy for either of us to be stuck with only each other day in and day out. She needs to be around other people. And I have tried several times to find play dates and groups for her, to no avail. There just isn’t much for her where I live, and my neighbors suck…or don’t have kids…or both.

    In the meantime, I want to hire a babysitter to come play with her for me a few times a week at my house. Or, better yet, at their house, with their little kids. I haven’t found one yet, but I’m going to keep looking!

    • Kaitlin

      Your not old xx im 23 and this post just shouted my thoughts, im a single mom of a 1 year old who wants to play 247 its draining im tired and I just want some days to be alone haha I count the days until he sees his dad once a week, it doesnt depend on age at all im sure as sure your a lovely mama ♡

  • Anon

    When you said bad mom I was prepared to be judgmental; see, I despise bad moms. However, you aren’t a bad mom. The line of bad mom to good moms is that line where you CARE. It’s not always doing everything perfectly. I know this because I grew up with a bad mom. Not universally horrible, there are good memories, but she tried to get us to do drugs, encouraged teenage sex, and blamed my sister when her live in boyfriend molested her. She blamed me for her illness. She was normally too high to care about our homework but she often grounded me from doing it. She loved us in her own mentally ill way but her primary concern was her. Selfish . That’s what makes a bad mother. Not that every bad mom is to this degree but your post doesn’t say selfish at all or you wouldn’t have been laying in bed later yearning for it.
    Let’s not throw around bad mom because some imagined ideal (even if you’re pretty good at those details you mentioned like I am, there’s other ideals broken- for me, I couldn’t maintain a healthy relationship for my daughter to learn from).

    We aren’t perfect and our children learn from that to… But if you are concerned on it and you truly love your kids most in the world, you are not a bad mom.

  • Caitlin

    Listen up all you guilt-ridden mommas! I swear to you that not wanting to play with your kids, does *NOT* make you a bad mother. I grew up with just such a momma. My dad was a foreign service officer and he was assigned a new post every 6 months to two years, meaning there was a lot of down time – a lot of travel time, a lot of pre-making new friends time as we settled into a new city, sometimes a new country, and so it was just the two of us, most of the time (my only sibling, my brother, is twelve years older and was out of the house by the time I was 6). I remember a good percentage of my childhood as this picture: my mother is reading. No, she doesn’t want to play a game. In fact, she doesn’t even want to talk. Or do anything. Except read her book and have me leave her alone. I used to dance, sing, turn cartwheels, beg, plead, set up board games in front of her and play them by myself while sighing…it was an achievement to get her to look at me. It was a major victory if I could get her to smile. It was like JESUS HIMSELF RODE A WINGED MY LITTLE PONY ACROSS THE SKY AND SPRINKLED GOLD DUST AND HAPPINESS ACROSS THE LAND if I could make her laugh. Of course this wasn’t all the time – we did plenty of fun stuff together too and I have many fond memories of the times she did suck it up and played with me, of “mother and daughter” days where we spent the whole day doing what I wanted, baking with her, reading with her, using the Russian tool set she had to decorate easter eggs properly with real wax and watching in awe as she would make these delicate looping patterns that changed hard boiled eggs into works of art…she might not have wanted to play with me every day, but I never doubted, not once, that my mother loved me with all her heart. I never felt alone or unsupported. And I learned to entertain my damn self! I read, I baked disgusting cookies, directed plays starring our cats, started weird craft projects, perfected dance moves, and spent a wealth of time wrapped up in my own imagination. And I swear to you, I turned out just fine (and I’m rarely bored!).

    At the end of the day, if you love your kids and you tell them so, and you show them by doing what you do for them day in and day out, you are golden.

    p.s. My son is just 4 months old and I’m already finding play tedious…

  • Jay

    I found this when I did that “I have no one to talk to so I’ll search Google for the thing I want to complain about” thing.

    I’m a full-time single dad (yes, as in no mother around, no weekends off, no relatives or girlfriend/boyfriend to help out… full custody, full load, 24/7 parent). A lot of the time, I don’t want to play either. When I do it when I don’t feel like it, I’m no fun at all. It’s shitty. I’m a selfish bastard, what can I say? I didn’t ask for kids (let alone to raise one alone) and she didn’t ask for a selfish, neurotic, irresponsible parent. But we’re here, we love each other, and I’m working on it… really. I am quite self-aware and always trying to improve or fix my behavior when things go sour. It’s just hard to change who you are and have been for your entire life.

    So when this happened today, I told my daughter I’d play in a few minutes. I just kind of stood in the kitchen eating a small piece of 56% dark chocolate (MY chocolate, mind you… she has her treats, I have mine) and staring at the walls for a while. Once I snapped out of it, I went into her room and Queen Stifflegs (it’s a PlayMobil lady) and Swan helped Princess Puffyshoulders save the realm from the giant Horse of Doom by giving it four chocolate brownies as foretold in the prophecy. I was out of there in 30 minutes and in the kitchen cooking dinner. We had a good time. Laughs were had. Easy as that.

    Most days, however, I just say, “Nah, not in the mood. Maybe later.” and spring it on her whenever I feel like it.

    Some days, like when I’m crying to the ether for answers to what I’ve done to deserve a life of solitary child-rearing and the prospect of never being with a woman ever again; The days when I’ve been sprinting after every bus or train because I’m always just a few minutes too late; The days when I’ve cleaned the entire apartment and feel like I’ve been treated like shit all day and just want to relax with a beer or glass of wine, but I’d quit drinking because it bums me out the next day and I feel selfish spending the $5 on one of those pint bottles of craft ale from the grocery store when I could put that $5 toward a shirt, skirt, pair of pants, a toy, or a video game for my daughter instead… THOSE are the days I just don’t play with her at all. And then, the guilt consumes me as I lay alone in my uncomfortable twin sized bed (oh, the cruel irony of the “twin” which should be called a “single”).

    PS: I read the supportive comments between mothers. I hope our society has reached a point where I won’t be judged negatively for having the exact same experiences as you do, just because I’ve got external reproductive organs and flat, milkless breasts. I’m a decent, mostly responsible, nurturing father.

    • Lisa

      Solo parenting 24/7 sounds like a horror story. Hang in there, dude. I can’t even imagine the stress, the relelentlessness.

      And treat yourself to the pint every once in awhile. You deserve it.

  • mcsurly

    Hey Jay. You’re doing a good job. Hang in there. The rad dads rarely get the support they need. Keep your chin up and your dark chocolate hidden.

  • Lisa

    I don’t understand where that idea ever came from, that parents are supposed to play with their kids.

    Fundamentallly, a parent’s job is to teach their offspring how to survive on its own. Whether you are a lion or a bird or a human. Tolerating your children crawling on you – without eating them – is plenty good enough, I say.

    And look at it this way, leaving kids to fend for their own entertainment IS teaching them how to survive on their own.

    We are obligated to love them, accept them, be there for them when they are hurting. That’s it, man.

  • Ashley

    Wow. Let me just say, Im glad Im not alone!!! MY 4 year old wants CONSTANT entertainment. MY brain and my sanity cannot deal with it. After cleaning, laundry, feeding everyone every meal and then cleaning again, emptying the litter box, wiping the baby clean for the 35th time I really have to play too?!
    It bothers me when people say it goes so fast and to cherish it, because when you are overworked and overtired its hard to enjoy pretending to be a unicorn.

  • Elle

    This post hit home. I constantly feel like I’m a terrible mother. It’s the inner conversation that replays itself on a daily basis. ” you must be a terrible mom because you don’t want to play with your child”. My some is 2 yrs old and he loves to play to play independently. It’s makes me feel so guilty because I feel like I should be down on the floor aging trains with him. I have to admit, I hate it. It feels forced feels unnatural. It’s boring as hell. I do it but it’s not enjoyable. It’s taken me many hours of reflection and a few anxiety attacks to soul search and realize. I Am a great mother!!! We are great mothers. This is a dam hard job. We don’t give ourselves enough credit. When my son is sick, I’m up. When he is crying j kiss his boboos. When he wakes up I kiss him a million times over. I think we’ve become do jaded as to our roles as parents that we put so much pressure on ourselves that we loose sight of the love. Spending every waking moment with a toddler is exhausting. Let’s give ourselves some credit ladies. We are warriors we are great mommies who do what we can and

  • العاب سلغتيرا

    I don’t even know where to begin. I’m crying in the bathroom as I read this. I have one daughter and three boys. I cringe when she says those words. I hate playing with dolls. Actually, the dressing them or doing their hair is fine. But the conversing of the dolls makes me coocoo!! I feel like crap, so I set the timer. But God knows I’d rather read or do puzzles. I got a real kick at the common thread of likes are books or puzzles for moms like us. Thanks for the honesty. I needed the outlet.

  • Ashley B

    I am glad I am not alone. I spend too much time wondering why I don’t love being a stay at home mom. Why don’t I cherish this time…blah blah. But at the end of the day I miss them and I am sad for how fast it has gone by.

    Why do we feel like this? I believe society tells us we are “Bad” if we don’t enjoy every booger sucking moment with our children. Society says we have to give up our whole life when we have kids and feel happy while doing so!

    When I spend so much time feeling messed up and sad.. I think about redefining parenthood. I am not sure how to do so yet.. But right now I am working on throwing all norms out the window and figuring out what works for my family in each moment. How can I have what I want and need and still raise well rounded kids sans psychological issues?

    Hopefully I’ll have an answer someday…. If not, I’ll keep surviving.

  • Alex

    I came across this blog and was surprised about the language on it. I am not a mother but would not beat myself up over how boring kid games are. However, it is extremely important to spend some time than none at all. My mother literally never played with me as a child (and i was an only child and my parents divorced). It really messed me up because she basically ignored me and thought buying toys would be a replacement. It wasn’t. Plastic cannot hold a conversation, plastic does not interact with you and is not spontaneous. The least she could have done was take me somewhere where there were other children or invite them over. By not interacting at all it sent the message I was not worth anyone’s time. There is only so much “imagination” can do. Playing shows you have time for a child which sends the message, “you are worth my time and attention”. If you don’t play at least once your kid will have some serious problems later growing up. But at least you admit to trying (sounds like you might be suffering from something like post partum depression maybe?)

  • Alex

    And I don’t mean my comment to be critical, you at least know it’s important and still play which is great. It sounds like it sucks but you are making an effort and that is admirable. My message is directed toward parents who completely ignore their children.

  • Midnight

    I know this was a while ago, but I wanted to comment (in case you happen to stumble upon this post, like me) from the child who doesn’t ever remember playing games with her parents. I know it must have happened sometimes, but I don’t remember it because it near enough died out as far back as I can remember.

    Now, at my age (19), my peers (15 – 25 year olds) are almost all about school/work and their out-of-the-home social lives, but I long for connection with my family. Doesn’t help that I was severely bullied, constantly, for years, so felt like a burden on my parents because they didn’t have/make any time for me on a remotely regular basis. It also doesn’t help that my dad’s side of the family has only ever wanted to spend time with us when they wanted something (and my grandma always criticised me as a child) and only my grandparents (out of my maternal family) was in regular contact with us.

    I have seen counsellors about why I’ve felt so desperate to receive attention from my parents and I get told the same thing: because I lacked it. My dad has criticised me often – for anything from unimportant things that weren’t even my fault, to me “killing my mother with stress” because I was bullied and the mental health issues that came along with it. Add that to them spending more time with my younger brother (3 years younger) because he was actually able to go out to hobbies and had more in common with literally every family member than I did, so I became invisible in my extended family and only visible in my immediate family when they felt like it (rarely positive; usually moaning at me for my anxiety/PTSD/depression.

    Yet, after all of that is mixed into the pot, I crave their attention just for 15 minutes a day to talk (as a family, not just about me) without any distractions (like TV screens) or excuses.

    Whether you play much or not, I just beg you to spend as much time as you can making your child feel like you are interested in them, even after they pass the typical child stage.

  • Beth

    I found this post while looking for other Mums who can’t stand doing crafts. It has made me feel so much better. The guilt of being a bad mother has been overwhelming lately and I have spent a lot of time in tears. My little girl is a very challenging 3 year old right now and I’m struggling big time. I could never admit this to anyone outside of the internet. You have made me feel a little better for a few minutes.

  • Vanessa

    I’m glad I happened across this post, because I’m a bad mom too. I struggle with playing with my children daily. I have my kids with me all the time. I even have to take them to work with me. I love them dearly, but I’m their mom, not their buddy. I think in the last 50 years or so the parent child relationship has been skewed. Seriously, my mom rarely got down on our level to play. My dad did, but he worked a lot and often wasn’t home. We place expectations on ourselves based on these unicorn parents who blog about how they do it all and somehow find time and energy to be their kids best friend. Let me tell you, their lives are probably just as messed up as the rest of ours, maybe more. As for times to remember? I don’t remember a single time my mother did get down and play with me and my siblings, but I do remember the spontaneous dancing to funky disco music, whirring down the aisles in DIY hardware stores on giant carts, and mom and dad skipping through walmart trying to embarrass us. Those spontaneous moments where their full goofy love was on display are what kids remember and what parents are supposed to cherish.

  • Cassandra

    I can’t even believe that I searched for moms like me, but I’m glad I did. I am 24 years old with a 2 year old daughter who is soooo smart and energetic that it’s overwhelming most of the time. I am single mom with a career and it is so hard to work and come home and have to play with your child after being so exhausted. Working 8-5 then coming home to bathe, cook, light cleaning and then read bed time stories. I feel so bad because of course she is the only child and has noone to play with and I know she may get bored at times. I remember being a little bored when I was younger because I had no one to play with besides the kids at school. I always wanted to be that super mom that takes her child to mommy and me classes every weekend and have mommy dates, but I cant. I have no time for myself and I never have a break from her but only twice a month. I love my child to death and make sure that she is totally taken care of, but sometimes I just want to be by myself. I wish I didn’t feel like this. I also feel guilty when she asks to play but I tell her not right now and I end up not playing. Then I feel bad and may play a game with her later or make up for it the next day! Ugh lol I just need answers on how to getpre energy to play while working a full time job and being a single mom. I don’t want it to always be like this. I want it to feel natural when I play with her instead of feeling like I’m making myself do it.

  • Damian's daughter

    Gaawwwwd…. I almost cried reading this. I don’t know wtf is wrong with me. I am probably even more of an a-hole and I do feel bad but then five seconds later the kid does something that makes me want to just all out LOSE MY SHIT : s I work full time doing industrial construction, I’m single and his father is largely uninvolved and I know that I should try harder because of that but jesus a lot of the time I just want him to shut the fuck up :, ( I do take him to do things on a weekly basis, fun things, jumpy castles, trampoline parks, rock climbing….I do try but I feel like more often than not I SUCK at just being there, playing with playdough, listening to the same stupid storie 50 times over….I don’t know if we’re all screwing up but I feel slightly better at least knowing that I’m not the only one. Thank you for posting this.

  • Steph

    I can’t tell you how cathartic it was reading this, it is like it came from my own mind.
    My husband works away, so a lot of the time it is just me and my girls.
    And for most of it, I just don’t want to deal with them…I don’t want to deal with anything, I struggle to get through the housework most days. I am just always tired, and nothing is ever easy (or easy for me anyway). I am always so angry. And sad. Nothing is fun.
    I just want to be alone.
    Then when my husband is home he tells me off for not wanting to sit with them or play. He tells me how they say I never play with them, and I should make a bigger effort.
    Then I have crushing guilt for feeling this way. Knowing that they deserve better. Knowing that no matter how much I love them, I just can’t give enough…

  • Carrie

    Thank you. Just thank you.

    So many of your posts I read, cry, and think, oh, I’m not alone.

    Play is for Daddy. He’s bored out of his mind too, but a better actor.

    Sometimes when I am done with full-time job and all of the meal prep for just about every meal, I do want to play (rarely). But then they don’t know what to do with me, and I just feel worse. Had a 5-minute Nerf gun battle on Saturday and then immediately stressed out that we lost half the dart things in the bushes.

    Tonight, when I finally made my goal of a Day Without Yelling, at bedtime I howled like our dog at them to indicate they should get to the bathroom and get ready faster. It made them laugh. Kept me from yelling. Sort of made them go faster-ish.

    So again, thank you.

  • Adrienne B

    Oh thank you thank you thank you. Oh thank you thank you so so much for writing this so truly, so real-ly, so honest. I appreciate it so much to know I’m not alone. I too put the underwear on my head and do a goofy dance. I make up a cartwheel somersault idiot toddler circus run… I make a Kid Factory Machine where I scoop him up. But damn damn damn how I HATE and seriously literally CANNOT sit and “play” with my child. Play-doh? No effing way. Coloring ? (even though alone I ADORE drawing what I want to) – screw it. PUzzles? I want to DIE of boredom and annoyance. WHAT IS WRONG WITH ME??? All I can do is openly admit to myself and all my friends that as a mom, like compared those regular pre-school teacher type moms, I SUCKKKKK. I am a bad mom. I am an anxious wreck. I am worried about everything.

    But I am a fun mom. We talk to homeless people and make them smile. We balance on brick walls (well I hold his hand while he does)… We run down bike paths, name the birds, do silly running games in circles in the living room to help him poop. I’m an idiot mom. I’m a fun mom. But damn…. i’m not a good mom. I’m so glad I’m not the only one who, at the end of one of THOSE days, is silently shedding a tear as I lay in bed, hoping he lives through the night so I can make it up to him tenfold tomorrow. And then tomorrow comes and of course

    Again I fail.

  • Nicola

    You know what I realised, if it doesn’t feel natural, then it just isn’t natural to play with your child. It feels 100% natural to kiss and hug and talk and laugh together… but playing together? Finding it hard to force myself to do it now.

  • Marsha

    Wow, so glad I stumbled across this post. I was feeling like there was something wrong with me today after watching other parents happily playing with their kids at the park, since I just don’t like to “play” with my kids. Sure, occasionally I can be the monster and chase them around the house but that lasts for like 5 minutes until it gets old and I get annoyed. I don’t mind playing a board game or watching them perform a show or doing a puzzle or craft but it’s the imaginative or physical play that gets me. I even googled “how do I play with my kids?” and that’s how I came across this site. So happy I did. I still feel guilty but at least I don’t feel alone. Thank you for being so honest and just putting it out there for the rest of us.

  • Krystyn

    I feel so much better! My 3 year old will almost not pay without me, he barely leaves my side & some days it really gets to me, like right now where I’m hiding out in the bathroom to get a few minutes of alone time! I know he wants to play but I don’t know how & it’s so boring! Counting down the days until daycamp starts!

  • A Lost Dude

    I don’t think I’m supposed to be here. I’m a husband and a father. I have five sons and my wife and I are not separated or even in a rocky patch… And yet I find myself in similar circumstance in regard to the apparent inability to have fun with my children. It isn’t for a lack of love (I would die or kill for my boys) but by the time I’m home from work I ache in body and mind.

    I’m an introvert, you see, which means interacting with people comes at a cost of energy. When that energy is expended I am an asshole. This being the case, it takes real and costing effort for me to interact with my kids. They don’t understand this. My wife tries but SHE doesn’t even understand introversion except in a clinical sense. The result is that I just seem like a disinterested jerk.

    I fear for my poor childrens futures. I worry about how they will be hurt by all of this but I can’t change.

    • Joy

      Honestly, you sound exactly like my husband. He never stops working. He doesn’t have a choice. His company is understaffed, and we need the money. There’s no way in hell I’d be able to step away from being a SAHM into a job that pays what he makes. I know he busts his ass. I know he’s introverted and has issues with self-perception. I know this because I’m the same way, and we take turns beating ourselves up about it, and about how we’re setting our kids up for failure. Despite how well I know him though, there are often days when he walks in the door, and I just want to shove the kids at him and run. Sometimes, I want to scream at him that these are his kids too, and that just because I’m a SAHM doesn’t mean I have to give every bath, cook every meal, or wash every dish or piece of laundry. Despite how I feel though, most of the time, I’m able to suck it up and deal with it, with the exception of a few hidden tears. You can’t change who you are, and most of the time, you can’t change your circumstances. Just try not to let it get to you too bad. “It won’t be like this for long.”

  • Joy

    Oh. My. Blob. I’m not alone!!!

  • Melissa

    Play with them? Most of the time I don’t even want to be with them. I’m that asshole. For God’s sake I made them you’d think I would want to hang out with them. One on one is great. But the two of them together makes me want to scream. Who is hitting who; what isn’t fair; who offended who; who got the bigger piece. I spend most of my day as a referee silently singing to myself – I don’t give a shit who hit who because I want to hit you both.

    I try to play every day but worry that they can tell that my heart isn’t in it. I give them lots of love and am there when they need me. And I don’t let them do each other bodily harm. I hope that that’s enough.

    • Kerstan

      Can totally relate with not wanting to be with them ( as selfish and horrid as that sounds ).

  • Erika

    I feel guilty because I don’t want to play with my baby girl. I know I should and I feel so bad she just sits in her little play pen but I’m just so agitated with all I have to do around the house that I feel I barely EVER get to leave without the stressful running around to do all I need to do before leaving. I love her to pieces but I’m exhausted. I don’t want to chase her around the house any more. That and I feel alone. I think a lot of the women on here are lucky. I give my husband an hour and a half to come home and relax after a long hard day at work. Then he only does one or two things for our baby and then she goes to bed. Guess who gets to feed her, change her, brush her teeth, put her in pajammies and tuck her in? Me. There is no hunny thank goodness you’re home I get a break! No. And because I put up a big thing about how I don’t get a break, he goes off about how his friend says how many women would kill to have a man like him and I’m obviously not appreciative of what he does do. Oh ok so just because I asked you to take an hour and a half of relaxation time before only feeding and changing her, now I’m unappreciative of you..? I stay home all day so that’s my break…? Are you fricking kidding me. I’m going to lose my mind.

  • Sonia Kundra Singh

    I was looking for a place to vent out my un-motherly feelings. I have an active 3 year old (over active) he needs to be constantly entertained and that just irritates the hell out of me. No free time for me most of the times. Daddy is just busy with work. I wish i was working then i would have an excuse too. Motherhood was supposed to be fun and this is just tiring

    • as

      It is exhausting and boring. Consider daycare and a job. Or pretend to write a book. It may even happen!

  • Donna Is

    I would go nuts if i did not have a break from my 3 year old. Her grandma watches her for a couple hours a week for me, so i can be a person without my person around. (its new and amazing) I am selfish and really only do the things i like to do with her. IF she is pretend playing, i go and play on the internet, instead of joining her to play school with her (bad mom). She wants me to read her book, i read one line and skip to the next page making up the story cuz i hate reading those books (bad mom). But she loves me doesn’t care or notice i think. But i love to dance and paint. So if she wants to get down to the new missy elliot song.. lets do this. Or go outside and draw nature.. yes please.. or water color for a couple hours awesome. Movies are awesome i love curling up and watching willy wonky with her. So i feel ya. I am the bad mom too. And i am dam fine with it. LOL I love this blog. moms are people too, and we have a right not to play boring annoying games if we don’t want too.

  • LilMama

    I relate to this on so many levels.
    I honestly think I’ve hit a new low when I decided to google “I don’t like spending time with my kids” ???? It’s not that I hate them or anything. But my oldest shows me every day just how much of my kid he is when 85% of his responses are attitude. He’s 9, preteen years, I get it. I just don’t like it. And then there’s my 6 year old…so damn sweet and lovey and cuddly…an antagonizer to the core, but still such a doll. And it seriously makes me so guilty that they got me as a mom who, like you said, has to have the stars aligned just perfectly to feel like an ok parent. ???? I’m just happy I’m not alone!

  • May

    I know this post is old. So am I. I have an adult child (20’s) and a 4 year old. 4 year old was planned. I’m mid 40’s. I thought it would be easy this time around, that I’d have it all figured out. Hell no. It’s worse now! I’m friggin exhausted just from being alive. Whenever my 4 yo breaks out a book, I can barely keep my eyes open – it’s sooooo boring. I’ve read these over and over since 1994. I hate playing with my young one. We do lots of crafts and that’s okay – when I’m in the mood. But girl, I could have written this post word for word. My hubs works weeks away from home so I am a prisoner in my home – we live in a very rural area with nothing to do. Most days I’m hoping for a plane crash nearby just for some excitement. I never get a break – my parents are elderly, his live 100’s of miles away, no babysitters here, no friends. I work part time from home. Still boring. I googled “I hate playing with my kid” Ta-da! Kindred spirits. Thanks for this post.

  • Kerstan

    I NEEDED to here this…

    I have never really been the “motherly” or “kid” type, and it really takes so much effort for me to interact with my daughter ( like it doesn’t come naturally – I have to force myself ).

    Now dogs… totally different story ( which I get berated for, as “how can I love and play with dogs but not my own child?!” ). I can’t help that it’s my passion…

    Everything is a struggle and I feel like nothing is genuine – again, I have to make myself.

    Of course, daddy seems perfect, loves playing and interacting, etc. Makes me feel so sub par and inadequate as a mother.

    I wonder if this is normal or if it stems from the fact that I never wanted children so young and that I’m – admittedly – pretty selfish. I feel like my life is on hold now and my dreams, goals, passions, etc., forever destroyed.

  • Shelby

    I’m a single mother of a 2 year old and a full time nursing student. I dred weekends thinking of having to be alone with my child all day. Im snappy and drained and hate that I cannot show her how much I love her and just be in the moment I feel like a failure as a mother. everytime I put her to sleep the guilt comes knowing how shitty of a job I did that day and tell myself tomorrow I’ll try harder….

  • العاب باتمان فلاش

    I don’t even know where to begin. I’m crying in the bathroom as I read this. I have one daughter and three boys. I cringe when she says those words. I hate playing with dolls. Actually, the dressing them or doing their hair is fine. But the conversing of the dolls makes me coocoo!! I feel like crap, so I set the timer. But God knows I’d rather read or do puzzles. I got a real kick at the common thread of likes are books or puzzles for moms like us. Thanks for the honesty. I needed the outlet.

  • العاب باتمان فلاش

    thanls for sharing.

  • Anna

    Your blog is awesome. Please don’t ever stop writing (unless you feel like it, in which case, you should do what you want).
    Also, I love Deer Tick too. Old Shoes is possibly my favorite.

  • adnyl notpit

    Well so after reading a lot of this site I have to question who ever it was that said playing with the kids was our duty at all and why do we all feel shame for not doing a duty that maybe isn’t ours? Working can be hard but give me a choice whether to stay home with the kids or go to work and you will be staring at a pair of burn out marks and hearing “I’ll see you after work, love ya” anyway I have worn the shoes on both feet and it is easier to leave your family with someone else for them to handle . However I don’t know what it is like to be able to sit at home with the kids , yet have all the bills paid , I have a very broken daddy picker and I have 4 kids , in fact I am lucky if they even call their children on their birthdays. YES I should have filled my baby maker with wet cement after baby number 2, but I didn’t and I just kept going. I get no child support no support what so ever . my oldest is 21 my youngest is 6 , and it would take pages for me to tell you all the shame I do and have felt for being a bad mom, because of poverty. so I’ll spare you but if you are not in my position or never have been then right now you should think to yourself , you really don’t have it that bad or it could be worse , and if you do find yourself in my shoes then I am terribly sorry , but I think I can safely say that playing with our kids should be the least of our worries, and sadly it is not. I really loved this site and all the post I read , it really does make us feel better as mommies , but I’m feeling that something needs to change , like what they teach you in parenting or what the teachers are telling your kids , whatever it be IT must be changed, because for some damn reason we are all feeling shame for something that is the responsibility of 2 people and you find me 1 man that admits he feels shame for not playing with his kids and maybe i will erase my post , but this can’t be pinned on us mothers who are already taking care of everything else! Thank you everyone for this has inspired me to do something I don’t know what but Something will come out of this .

  • CeCe Cal

    As i’m sitting here laughing hysterically i begin to boo whoo cry big ass fucking buku tears snotting and blowing my nose, When my husband ask whats wrong and all i can say is someone fucking gets me. How did i come across this article? By accident. Google somehow records me saying to my son “no and leave me alone you just ate your food and my food you dont have to scream my name every five minutes” and then this article pops up. It was meant for me to read. Thank you for being brave enough to say what most fuckers look down on. I know im not perfect but damn it i love my brats. Im still crying damn you. Thanks again.

  • SoCalMom

    It’s 3:30 am and I’ve been up since 2 with terrible mommy guilt, “researching” my five year olds behaviour – he’s the king of tantrum central (right?? He’s 5!) – and feeling terrible because I just don’t have the inclination to play with either of my kids. I’d rather they play together. I’d rather stare at my phone and have a cuppa and see what other grownups are doing with their lives. I love my kids, I do. So much it keeps me up at night trying to figure out what I can do better. I cook healthy foods, I clean, I teach and I encourage and I do my best to be present. But pretend play is boring and I can only do Lego for ten minutes and I just can’t with any of it. I needed to read this. Thank you!!

  • Angelica

    I love your honesty! You wrote about me.

  • M

    I fucking love this, thank you.

  • Trackbacks

  • Trackback from Have I mentioned I love you people?renegade mothering
    Tuesday, 17 May, 2011

    […] of a wayward mama Homeplaydate in my trailerthe playersposts that don’t suck Wait. I’m supposed to play with these kids? var addthis_product = 'wpp-257'; var addthis_config = […]

  • Trackback from Strocel.com | Imaginative Play is Boring
    Friday, 17 August, 2012

    […] I didn’t always want to play the same thing at the same time. So it’s no surprise that many parents struggle to play with their children on their […]

Leave a Comment

Comment policy: Try not to be a dick.