"Play play-doh with me, Mommy," my daughter asked
when she was about 5 years old.
I hesitated slightly while I think what
needs to be done yet today.
"Ok dear, but let me set the timer for ten
minutes and then Mommy has to go back to work."
I pretended to play happily,
adding some, "Really, tell me more's" when she talked to me. Actually I was thinking
about the web submissions I had to do and ideas for my current web design project.
The buzzer went off and two things flashed in my mind. One, I had actually
put a timer on playtime with my daughter.
Two, when did play-doh turn
into a chore?
I used to spend hours creating with this malleable clay.
Play-doh is fun. I had a break from work to play like a child and I used the break
to think about work.
How many times had I done this? How many opportunities
wasted? When did I get so serious?
"The timer beeped Mommy."
at her, smiling, and said, "I think I want to play longer with you." She beamed
back at me.
This time I played remembering the fun I had as a child. I
was always a creative, imaginative child. I know I still can be. We made little
pizzas, many baked goods and long worms, just like I used to do. I felt the playdoh
scrunch through my fingers.
Aggressions left as I pounded the doh flat.
I smelled the childhood smell that brought back happy memories. We delighted in
I also spent time really listening to my daughter. She is
a fascinating storyteller, telling me all her adventures with her pretend cats.
I remembered this time with her as I went about my week. I still worked
hard but when my kids wanted to play with me, I played my heart out.
of the future work I had to do, I remembered the fun child I was, which brought
me right into the present as children stay. Instead of just reading stories I
remembered the wonder of books I had. I hammed up the stories and we all giggled.
I played out the fanciful adventures I had with horses when I was younger
as my daughter and I have horse races with her pony figurines. I joined in the
fun with my kids at the park by swinging, jumping and trying not to fall off things.
We played Monopoly Jr. and at every ticket booth we acted it out, buying balloons
and riding the rollercoasters.
Picnics outside for lunch I found take no
longer than at the kitchen table. Forts are just as entertaining to make now,
as they were when I was a kid. Computer solitaire is fun, but Uno with the kids
can be just as enjoyable.
Playtime with the kids is no longer another work
chore, but a time to reconnect with my kids and a time of self-renewal for myself.
When was the last time you played like a kid?
Relearn how to take care of yourself and play more with the
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Beth Dargis helps the overwhelmed to create saner, simpler lives. For free monthly declutter Calendar and Weekly Simplicity Tips visit: http://www.mysimplerlife.com. This article is Copyright © 2005 by Beth Dargis, Zeeland MI. To send feedback or request reprint permission (usually granted free of charge), please contact