5 Reasons to unplug now and play with our kids

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This is by no means a post to guilt trip anyone out there. This is a post written by a mom who struggles with this day in and day out. I feel the constant pull of “getting stuff done” versus spending time with my daughter. We all have a hard job. Being a mom can feel endless and often completely thankless. This post is all about choosing to unplug sometimes and play with my kid.

If you are one of those parents who loves to get down and play with your children, you deserve a gold star. Don’t even read my post.

If you are the mom who cringes every time your kiddo asks you to “play with ME!!!“, read on.

My husband is SO good at playing with my daughter. I don’t know why, I suck at it. Sure, I can sit down and play magiclip dolls with her for about 10 minutes, talking in a high-pitched voice like Rapunzel. And I will gladly play a few rounds of hide and seek. I love some play-doh time. But I would rather do the dishes or finish the laundry piling up on the sofa.

Lil is in a new stage where the most common sentence that comes out of her mouth is, “Play with me Mommy!”. Not every two hours. EVERY MINUTE, if not seconds. I must hear it all day. Unless she is eating or sleeping (but sometimes even when she is eating). Certainly when she is taking a bath.

I am grateful. My daughter has a crazy awesome imagination. She wants to play school and teacher, store, and she now has two imaginary friends (Sarah and Rose) who also join our play sessions.

Today I made an effort to play with her for ten minute intervals between chores and laundry. I found I enjoyed it more and more, and loved watching her mind work and hearing the goofy things that come out of her mouth.

We live in a day and age where not only do we manage so much (any mother has enough work to do with being a Mom alone), but we now have access 24/7 to information to completely distract us from doing what we actually need to do (paying the bills, washing the dishes, etc). How many times have I put off something important to watch a video on my Facebook feed or to watch a show on Netflix.

The fact is, the internet, iPhone’s, Facebook, Twitter, Pinterest, Netflix, blogs, and everything else that vies for our attention will ALWAYS be there with SOMETHING catchy to distract us.

I watched a movie recently called HER. Have you seen it? I found it devastating. I also found it convicting. We already live in an age where, if you walked into any random public place, at least half the heads would be looking down at their phones instead of around at what is going on in front of them. It is easier to stay tuned in to technology than our own relationships. I am not against technology- I love it! Too much, a at times. I feel drawn to pull out my dumb phone and see if any new alerts or messages have popped up. WHY??!! It drives me crazy how much such a small device keeps me distracted.

A sad and tempting situation is rising around us. I allow technology and social media to distract me from the most important people and moments in my life directly in my reach. I cannot imagine I am the only one who has struggled with this.

I struggle, every day, multiple times a day, to respond to my daughter’s plea to “play with her”. I find that she asks most often when my attention is to my phone, computer, or iPad. Sometimes I truly need to respond to an email or pay an online bill. Most of the time, I don’t need to be online.

My daughter even once asked me to “put my phone down”.

By no means am I on my phone all the time, and I am not on social media much anymore, either. Yet I still struggle with this.

5 reasons to log off and play with our children

1. They are asking us.

If our kid is asking us to play with them, it is because they want to play with us. Not alone, not with a friend, not on the computer. With a real, live, person they adore. I want to count it a blessing when my daughter wants to build Lego’s with me instead of zone out to the television. I want to acknowledge her better, and if I am unable to play with her when she asks, schedule a time to follow through and take time to simply play with her. I can only imagine that five or ten minutes will be priceless for both my daughter and myself.

2. It’s good for everyone’s imagination.

I am amazed at how much playing “house” or “store” causes me to think. It is good for my brain to use my imagination, something that as adult’s we often struggle to exercise. I know it is essential for my daughter’s brain development to use her imagination and pretend play. It is as important as physical exercise, and directly affects her mental growth and success in school. Just fifteen minutes of pretend play a day can go a long way!

3. They want our presence.

Our children yearn for our presence. It has been said, “a child desires our presence not our presents”. It is easy to go throughout the day only tackling to-do lists and staying busy and never taking a moment to read our children a few books or sit down on the floor with them and do a puzzle. This is the best gift we can give our children, and also gives them a greater gift- memories!

4. Most things can wait.

I am aware that there are pressing things that must get done. Sometimes our lives are more hectic than others. A new mom to a second baby will hardly have the time or energy to sit and play with the older child. A couple renovating their house will struggle to carve out time to play. And single parents? It is hard to get everything done in one day. I once met a lady who told me a story about her mother. Her mom had apologized to her grown children when she was in her seventies for never having the chance to play with her children. She was a parent during the Great Depression, and the mother of twelve. Her husband, a farmer, had endless work, and so did she. She literally could not sit and play without sacrificing something for everyone’s survival. Yet she felt guilt for not playing with her kids many years later. This story breaks my heart.

We live in a time when most things can wait. Even if I can only intentionally play with my daughter a few minutes here and there, I hope I take the opportunity to do so rather than choose something unimportant.

5. They won’t want to play with us forever.

I don’t know how long this stage will last, but I know I will miss it sooner than I expect. Much like breastfeeding (will this ever end?!), or sleepless nights cuddling a newborn child, the time goes faster than I wish. I know one day my daughter won’t want to play blocks with me or dance to music all silly or pretend to be my teacher. These are magical, silly years of laughter and exploring and curiosity. I want to be present for them, even though I feel too tired to play. Most of the time, she says something wacky and hilarious that lights me up or completely changes my serious mood. Children are so full of joy, and it is contagious.

 

Am I the only mom who struggles with this? Be honest! Share with me how you cope and encourage yourself to press on in motherhood!

 

Comments

  1. says

    Definitely lovin’ this post!!! I used to be a Child Life Specialist major at my University and we talked about this all the time, how important it is for kids to get positive attention from their parents by playing games with them! Good post!! 🙂 Followed your blog so I can keep up with your posts! Feel free to stop by and follow along as well!!

    xoxo
    http://www.bellevieblog.com

  2. says

    Tiffany!! I freaking LOVE this post! Thank you for being so REAL! I am sure many moms feel the same way as you do, myself included I’ve just been too afraid (ashamed!?) to admit all of the above to myself let alone in a blog post. Seriously girl, you’re speaking my language… I need to work on managing my time better and taking advantage of the sweet time I am able to spend with my daughter. Thank you xo

    • Tiffany Cutcliff says

      I am glad you loved it! I actually lost followers on this one, lol. Oops?! Anyways, as always, thanks for being real too! I know this has to be a struggle for lots of people out there. You sound like an amazing mom! Seriously!

      • says

        Really? Ugh that really annoys me, honestly you’re not going to agree with every thought every person has, it doesn’t mean you unfollow them because of one post you don’t agree with… if that was the case I wouldn’t be following anyone! Haha! Who needs those people anyway 😉

        You’re so sweet, it’s not all rainbows and sunshine over here but I try… I need to put my phone down more and disconnect!

  3. says

    What a fabulous reminder! I know I’m going to struggle with this as Caleb (and his future brothers and sisters) get older. I need to get in the mindset NOW that he is the priority and time with him is a blessing, not something to be frustrated about.

  4. says

    Great reminders!

    The nice thing is, it doesn’t take a long play session to satisfy a child, so it’s not like you’re getting stuck playing Barbies for a half hour. More like 10 minutes, and then if need be (because of something else I need to do or if the particular game is boring me out of my skull) I might excuse myself to go put in the laundry or whatever.

  5. Robin Rue says

    These are such great reminders. They grow up before we know it and I never want to look back and regret not doing something.

  6. says

    This one hit home hard. It was only recently I noticed my oldest not wanting to play with me, luckily my twins still want mommy time. You are so right, most things CAN wait, and they won’t want to play with us forever like my oldest who is now a preteen.

  7. Pam says

    Technology is great, but there are definitely times you need to disconnect. Spending time with people around you is better than checking the latest status.

  8. songbirdsandbuttons says

    Love this post – disconnecting is something that has become so hard for me. I work entirely online and I often find myself checking things when I should be off and relaxing.

  9. Jacqueline says

    I’m not a mom, but I cannot stand what I’m seeing these days with parents! What ever happened to taking your kid to a park and actually going down the slide with them?! What’s the point of being someone’s mommy if you’re going to miss 90% of it on your phone?! Great post- mamas need to put the iPads down and pick up a book with the kiddos!!

  10. says

    I don’t have any trouble unplugging, unless I’m working at home on the computer. I firmly believe in putting family before technology since life is so fleeting, plus children grow up so, so fast! 🙂

  11. Kori says

    My youngest is only 14 months old, so whenever she wants to play, I play. I find it to be much easier that way, plus she doesn’t really understand the concept of waiting yet.

  12. CourtneyLynne Storms says

    Not gunna lie I have a huge problem with this! I’ve always been kinda person who I likes to hang by myself, I love that my blog is ran by my computer in my house etc…. My phone is my favorite thing I own lol… And just like you said cleaning etc does sound more appealing than play a lot of the time… Especially when your toddler asks 62829 times a day… I can only play little people so much lol…. I’m glad I’m not the only one! I usually don’t make resolutions,but something I’m working on for 2015 is to find a balance & to play with my daughter more than I do… To unplug and let my blog and internet life wait for me to be done with my family!

  13. Beth says

    It’s always a good time for family time. But in all honesty, I’ll probably struggle with this when I’m a mom as I like my solitude.

  14. Debi@The Spring Mount 6 Pack says

    These are some great tips. I love playing with my kids so I never have never had that problem.

  15. Cherri Megasko says

    Excellent advice! My daughter has two small boys and has totally mastered the skill of being unplugged during their waking hours. She saves her online life for after they have both been put to bed.

  16. Danielle says

    It’s so true, they are only so little and yearn to play with us for a handful of years before they are too cool. As a teacher I try to unplug when I can and do artsy stuff and read with them. Sometimes blogging and social media definitely get in the way.

  17. Terry C says

    I very much agree. I also need to take more time and have more outside days. My son really likes outdoors. Your right time flies by so quickly so we should really take advantage.

  18. says

    I can only imagine as i am not a parent yet or even have kids but i hope one day when I do I will find the 10 or so minutes to spend with my kids. Great post

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