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I’m a mom, not a full-time entertainer. Sometimes, feeling like I’m a circus ring-leader gets old. Here’s a list of things I actually do in my house that look A LOT like I’m playing:

1) The “OLD GRANDMOTHER” trick

Tell them you are pretending to be an “old grandmother” so you can’t do anything besides sit on the couch with a blanket on your lap. Your children must be too young to realize that old grandmothers do not know how to use the laptop on which you are currently typing. My kids get into it and call me “Grandmother.”

IMG_15062) The “WAH-WAH BABY” or the “MEDICAL PATIENT”

You need a nap. Maybe you have a hangover … errr… I mean headache. The “wah-wah baby” and the “medical patient” will allow you that much needed rest on the couch plus: cold compresses, sips of water, elevated legs, dimmed lights. Just get your kids to think they are pretending you are a baby or a sick person who needs pampering and a nap (or a good cry — babies are allowed to cry).

The picture here is of my own kids pretending they are babies. That variation works too. I’ve actually used this method when I had a migraine. I’m a SAHM. These tools are necessary. I get no sick-days.

3) The “CINDERELLA”

You look around the house. Hats and coats have been discarded immediately in the doorway — and that’s just your stuff. Shoes — little kid shoes — everywhere. The floors and surfaces need a dusting. The “Cinderella” will allow your little one to feel like the princess that she usually acts like. Just get your kids to think they are Cinderella before the ball. Give them a few wet paper towels and let them go to work.

 4) Let them WATCH YOU play VIDEO GAMES

I don’t like my kids playing video games on my iPad. For developmental reasons? No. My electronics are mine. I’m a baby like that. But I do let my kids watch me play Candy Crush. They are really supportive: “You can do it, Mom!” / “Wow, Mom, you’re getting so much better at this!”

IMG_16585) The “PUPPY”

Play fetch! Your kids can burn off steam and you look like a hero because you’re playing BALL in the HOUSE. But you can pay your bills at the desk while every so often petting your puppies and throwing a ball.

This doesn’t always work smoothly if your child pretends to be an annoying puppy or if your child is unable to stop playing puppy at lunchtime and wants to eat by shoving her face into her plate. Just remember: dogs don’t eat lunch.

 

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6) The “INDEPENDENT NICE TIME” together

(This is the most useful tip here and the least-jokey.) If I have emails to answer, posts to write, work to do, dinner to cook — I set the kids up with an activity near me. We’re together. We’re having a nice time. We’re just not in each other’s faces interacting every moment.

The “independent nice time” looks like lots of things — like bringing snow in on a plastic table cloth. That bought me almost an hour of quiet.

As I type this, my kids are in the foyer (same location as the picture above) playing legos side-by-side while I am in an adjacent rooms. This works. And D1 actually said, “We’re having such a nice time together.” Yes, we really were.

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Give us your tricks and tips. Or am I the worst mother and the rest of you are finger-painting?

And, just in case you think no adults are playing with my poor little kids, we do. Here’s a picture. I was playing with them until I got up to take the picture. (And I’ve also been known to finger paint.)

 

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Mary Galioto
Mary Galioto is the founder, publisher and editor of MercerMe, and a lawyer. Originally from Brooklyn, Mary has progressively moved deeper and deeper into New Jersey, settling in the heart of the state: Mercer County. Formerly the author of an embarrassingly informal blog, Mary is a lifelong writer and asker of questions and was even mentioned, albeit briefly, in the New York Times and Washington Post. In her free time, Mary fills her life with mild germaphobia, excessive self-reflection, enthusiastic television viewing, and misguided adventures in random hobbies.

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