Do What You Love And Your Child May (or may not) Love It Too.
Updated: Sep 24, 2019
I only know this because I’ve had 4 years of practice. And it’s so true to me I just have to share it away. My kiddo asks to play superheroes, trains, cars, wrestling, etc. And you know what?! Most of the time I. Don’t. Want. To. Join. In. And you know why? Because I’m not really into any of that stuff. I’m sure I’m not alone here (please?).
However, whenever I have an idea that excites me, I can’t help myself but to pursue it. In the same way my kid does when he’s interested in something. So I guess my point here is that finding that balance between joining in my child’s play AND him joining in MY ‘play’, can make parenting more pleasant, as it feels a little more equal.
Of course you might actually love playing with anything your child throws at you, in which case that’s fab! (On another occasion I’ll write about the importance of ‘saying yes’ in play). But if you’re like me and really just sometimes dread another go at hide and seek, then balancing it out might suit you.
So how to go about it?
1. Take some time to reconnect with yourself. Reflect on what drives you, what motivates you, what you enjoy doing, what you love. It could be: going out for a coffee, watching tv, reading a book, decorating, going to the gym. Now of course you might think that in order to do some of the things we enjoy, we need childcare so we can actually do those things. Of course having time on our own is super valuable and necessary, but I’m not talking about that here. I’m more referring to something that you enjoy doing where your child/children can be involved in one way or another (especially for those of us with limited childcare options).
2. Once you’re aware of what makes you tick, don’t do anything. Just wait. This isn’t about deciding to do something specific (unless you want to), but more about knowing what you love and then being open for when an opportunity may present itself.
3. When an idea comes to your mind; an idea that makes you smile, don’t dismiss it (‘oh, that’d be nice but have no time’). You don’t have to pursue it right there and then if that’s not possible, but don’t put it in the bin either. Share the idea with your child. Be prepared for your child to not be interested (just like when we aren’t interested in playing pirates for the 100th time). Still, share it because your child might actually be interested and suggest joining in. Still, and more importantly, share it because it’s not only your child’s interests that count in your relationship. You have interests too. (And if you feel like you don’t, that’s ok, interests come and go, just be open, give yourself a chance).
4. Go for it! Just do it, basically. Every single time I’ve pursued something I wanted to do, my child has been on/off interested, but without a doubt he’s observed my passion and enthusiasm which I hope is a learning experience in itself. I have a tendency to get obsessed about finishing the project quickly, but don’t me like me...whatever you get involved in can take a day or two, a week, a month or more. The important thing here is that you are doing something that interests you and that gives you life (and will
consequently give life to those around you).
Here, an example. We had a delivery that came on a palette. I put it in the garden and thought, ‘ok I’ll recycle it next week’. But then I looked at it again. And the word that came to my mind immediately was....STAGE. I’m an actress, so it really isn’t a surprise my mind went there. Anyway, I realised we could build a mini theatre in the garden! My kid was mildly interested in my idea but the more I got into it, the more we BOTH did. (Be kind to yourself, it doesn’t always go this way).
We dug in one stick on either side of the palette which was something our boy LOVED doing. The purpose of the sticks was to use them as posts where the curtain would be hung. For this curtain we had to wait about 2 weeks. I ordered an anti-mould shower curtain from Amazon. I’m not entirely proud of this move because, plastic. A curtain made out of leaves would have been super awesome and more environmentally-friendly but I was impulsive when I bought it...
As soon as the curtain arrived, our boy was eager to put the hooks on and hang it on the string we had already tied from stick to stick.
As you can see, the curtain was too long, so we thought about different ways in which we could make it shorter. Folding it and glueing it with stickers, sellotape, and blue-tack were amongst the suggestions.
In the end, we went for sewing. I can’t tell you how fascinated our boy was using a thread and needle. He lost interest after 10 minutes though, you need a lot of patience, but he was fine with me finishing the job whilst he played other things. Yay!
We hung it up again and voilà, job done! Bring on the costumes, the stories, and let the imagination flow!