I don’t play well. “At what?”, you may ask. “Call of Duty? Mortal Kombat? Football?” No, I don’t play well. If there is one thing I’ve learned through motherhood (among many), it’s that I definitely don’t play well.
When I’m home with DQ, most of the time, she just wants to “play”. And usually, that means she wants to play-act. She most enjoys having tea parties, picnics, and birthday parties. Dress-up is mandatory, whatever the event. Usually, I feel like another one of her dolls and it’s not long before I pipe up, “You know what, sweetie? I have to [do some laundry, cook, re-shingle the roof, insert any excuse here]. I’ll come right back.”
I’m much better at playing games with DQ, or taking her out somewhere, like to an indoor playground, the park, the library, a picnic… Anything but a pretend tea party, please! It’s become so predictable, though. When I ask her, “What do you want to do?”, the answer is inevitably, “I wanna play with you!”.
Before I became a mother, I recall a mother friend telling me she was not a good “player” with her daughters, and at the time, I thought this was such an odd thing to say. How could you not possibly love playing a good game of pretend with your girls? Now, I totally get it. I find it amusing when I now tell this to other mothers and they look at me like they just found an opening for Confession. “Me neither!” they always say, with great relief. Are we bad mother because we don’t like to play?
Mothers are hard-wired to nurture. Feed, cook, bathe, make sure there’s always enough socks and underwear for the child? Easy pea-sy. Play? Not so much. I guess that’s why I was never comfortable in Drama class. I was never good at suspending my disbelief. I wonder what that says about a person? It’s especially too bad because DQ really has a fertile imagination and an affinity for pretending and play-acting. I want to make sure I nurture it, not shut it down. I’ve even been looking into kids’ acting classes for her.
I guess one thing I should be grateful for is that I have a daughter. I’m very sure I am not qualified for boy-play; I’ll take a birthday party over a police chase any day!