Thursdays are busy. Lessons in town, errands, and work. Today even more so because my parents are coming for the weekend and my car dramatically broke down on my way home yesterday. And when we're mired in this sort of day-to-day I hardly feel playful.
I expect most of you are the same.
But play can change everything. Our mood, the cooperative energy of our kids, our connection. And when we need it most is when we're least likely to go there.
I originally posted this series in 2012 but began reposting it last year. The timing feels right and it's helping me get back on track with becoming the mom I want to be.
Let's dig in, shall we?
And think about the power of playful parenting.
I want to start by reminding you to revisit step 1 in this journey every day.
It is the foundation that the other steps are built upon, and without it the rest of these steps will fall apart. Put on your oxygen mask first, if you will. Take care of you to make space to take care of the rest of your crew.
It is also worth stating this: you will never get there. That may be discouraging, but it isn't meant to be. It's meant to free you for the expectation to "arrive". To get it right every day, every time.
It will never be perfect. It will never be "done".
You will never be perfect and neither will they.
Every moment of every day will not be seamless. There will be tears. There will be shouting. There will be tantrums. There will be those hell-in-a-hand-basket parenting moments where we reflect with disbelief that we really actually said that or did that.
We are flawed. And we always will be. And now you know. (But I suspect you already did.)
That being said, perfect is not the destination. Joy is the destination.
Joy. Fun. Laughter. Play.
See how much you can enjoy this journey. Because that's really the point. Because once we get there it's over.
Play is a powerful tool to help your children go with the flow during challenging transitions in your day. We have been known over here to have races to see who can get their pajamas on first, "accidentally" blip someone's nose with a soapy toothbrush, or pretend we can't remember how to make a bed without help.
When the kids were small we'd pretend we were sleepy kittens for nap time and pretend that toothbrushes were construction equipment driving around on little tooth 'roads'. You get the idea.
Turning these mundane, or even volatile moments into a game can change everything.
Oh, and remember: fake it until you make it. Because at first you might not be feeling so playful yourself.
So with that, today I am simply reminding you to play. To put aside your to-do list sometimes and roll around in the leaves with your kids. To crank the Beastie Boys and have a dance party in your kitchen with your family. To stick a slice of pepperoni to your cheek and pretend you don't know why your kids are laughing/grossing out.
To use play as a tool to get the things done that need to get done, but in a far my joyful way.
You have your own style, so run with it.
Oh, and have fun. Because the truth is today is all we've got.
P.S. Here is are the other steps in the series, in case you missed one.
Here are the links to the complete Peaceful Parenting Series: