Showing posts with label challenges. Show all posts
Showing posts with label challenges. Show all posts

Mom Get Out & Play Challenge {Day 2}

It rained today.  That's what happens when I decide I am taking on a challenge about going OUT to play!

I connected with my kids on an intellectual level today.  We played strategic games like Battleship and we watched Brain Games on the Nat Geo channel.  Brain Games is a fun show to watch because they ask you to play along at home so you are actually doing something with your family rather than just sitting on the couch.  Kids also get very amazed by the tricks their brains can play on them!

Here are a few other playtime ideas that I have been collecting from Pinterest! By the way, keeping a Pin Board of fun activities is great because when the kids are bored, you can always go over to Pinterest and pick out something to do.

What I Learned Day 2
Don't try to control quality timeLet the kids be who they are even if they happen to be lying, cheating, bickering siblings at the moment.  I usually step in and police everything, trying to create a "Family Time" postcard.  That's not connecting- that's acting.  Today when my son peeked at my daughter's Battleship, I let them argue it out.  He wound up admitting it and we all ended up laughing.  When my daughter whined because she had no sleep from her sleepover the night before and she spilled out all her Battleship pegs, again we laughed.  Usually I would have said, "See?  This is what happens when you don't sleep," or something equally annoying that would have ruined the mood  Letting the kids be who they are allows me to get to know them all over again and appreciate their unique flavor instead of trying to mold them into who I think they should be.

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The Mom Get Out and Play Challenge {Day 1}

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This weekend my hubby took the kids on a boat trip.  I was getting over bronchitis and I'm prone to seasickness so I stayed behind. I was able to get caught up on some household chores but I missed the kids for the whole two days they were away.

Being that I had missed them so much, when they were heading outside to play today I asked them if they wanted me to join them.  They looked at me surprised which made me realize that it's been a while since I was a participant in this kind of playtime.  I usually go out and do yard work or clean the pool while they're playing. Other times I "just watch," reading or soaking up the sun while they go about their business  In fact, for several months now I think my only playtime with them has consisted of things I prefer to do- evening board games, going for walks, movies- adult fun.

My son has recently started using the poem, "Bubble gum, bubble gum in a dish. How many pieces do you wish?" to deem whose "it" in tag or for various other important life decisions.  Hearing him recite it brought back memories for me.  I remembered that there was a time when I loved going out to play and knew how to have real fun.  I actually felt a small surge of excitement go through me at the prospect of going out to play with the kids.

When we first got outside my adult self starting nagging me that I really did need to skim the pool and sweep off the trampoline. I gave in, trying to incorporate it into the pretend game we were playing. "I'm fishing for our dinner tonight," I said as I used a net to scoop leaves and bugs out of the pool.  They weren't buying it. I felt like they were thinking, "I knew it was too good to be true.  Mom doesn't know how to play."  So, then I really committed to my role.  I spent an hour out in the yard giving play 100% of my attention.  First, we had to pretend we were in the Minecraft world.  We then jumped on the trampoline.  This turned into a game of hide and go seek which later morphed into a kickball tournament.

It felt good to play.  I honestly think that is what humans were made for- to be creative, to enjoy the moments.  I became a part of my kids' world instead of them always having to come visit me in mine.  I felt a deepening of connection with them, not to mention I got a workout!  As a side benefit, I even felt my creative juices flowing and I was more motivated after playing.  I think the brain requires this!

We don't always do enough for the people closest to us.  We don't always take care of the things that are most important.  I enjoy being with my kids more than anything, so I mistakenly look at that as a luxury for myself.  Luxuries for myself get neglected.  I tell myself that work and housecleaning are for the kids, but they could care less about that.  They want my time and I need to be willing to give it.  It's not enough to just be nearby if I'm absorbed in my smartphone, my writing, or even my own thoughts.  I need to give myself to them fully.

I used to know this.  When the kids were younger I used to make sure that one of the first things I did every day was give them an hour of undivided attention.  If I did this, they were satisfied for the rest of the day and I was able to tackle my work while they played contentedly on the floor of the office.  Now that they're older and they have iPads, iPods, XBoxes, and friends, I think I forgot that they still need me, too.  And I need them!

The nice weather will be over soon so I am setting up a 21 Day Challenge for myself to get out and play with the kids every day.  It's good for the body, the soul, and our relationships.  If it's raining we'll play a board game, or do a puzzle, or bake- anything to be together.

This isn't easy for me to do and I suspect I am not the only one that feels this way.  It's hard to NOT multitask when you're a mom. We have so much pressure on us as women in this culture.  We have to be successful professionally, domestically, and socially.  Just in the mom role alone we have to worry about health, nutrition, screen time, homework, 8000 extra curricular activities, and the list goes on.  All this while trying to prove we can also be a bread winner and have a house that would make Martha Stewart proud (or in my case at least not cringe).  With all this in mind, it takes all of my willpower to not fold laundry while waiting for my turn in SORRY or not answer email while the kids mix up some cake batter.  That's where the word "challenge" comes in.

For me, this is a lesson in mindfulness.  In meditation, I try to bring my thoughts to a singularity and focus on one thing such as the breath.  Well, my kids are going to be my breath. They are going to be my practice.

Do you ever find it difficult to find and  commit to family time?    If so, feel free join me on this challenge!  I am going to post an activity idea and something to think about each day for the next 21 days to try and bring us closer to our kids.  To subscribe to this challenge via email sign up here. I'll just be posting blurbs for each day on playtime ideas and insights.

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