Motherhood Mantras: Go Play With Her

This post is part of a series called “Motherhood Mantras.” To read more about the series, and the full list of writers, click here.

I was an awesome babysitter. Kids loved me. I threw them up in the air, chased them all over the house, and swung them around like an airplane…over and over again. I had endless energy for kids and decided that I was going to be an amazingly fun mom one day. Every day would be filled with giggles and lollipops.

Sixteen years later, I’m a mom to my two and a half year old Chloe and three month old Dawson.

I wake up to a sink full of dishes, a dryer full of cloth diapers waiting to be put away, a sticky kitchen floor, and toys scattered beneath my feet. And that’s just the kitchen. I don’t like messes. It doesn’t bother me if I’m visiting someone else’s mess, but when it’s my own, I feel as though I cannot properly function until I’ve cleaned it up. There are moments when I feel my blood pressure rising and I swear my body is going to burst. I often wish I were one of those people who could just ignore it all and thrive. Especially when I hear,

“Mommy! Mommy! Come chase me.”
“Moooooommmmy! Come to my kitchen.”
“Mommy! Come play with me.”

Too often, my response is, “In a minute, Chloe.” “I’ll be there soon, babe.” “Mommy is doing the dishes.” “Mommy has work to do.”

My mantra for the past few months has been:

Go play with her.

I’m trying to unleash my inner babysitter. She’s in there somewhere.

I need my inner babysitter to remind me that messes are not such a big deal. Just step over the piles of books and blocks. Ignore the cracker crumbs on the floor. Don’t think about the cluttered countertop.

Go play with her.

…I’m getting there.

On the other hand, I realize that there needs to be a balance between work and play. I didn’t know, 17 years ago, that there would be floors to mop, toilets to clean, and dinners to make. It can’t be giggles and treats all the time. I can’t play with her all the time…

…but I can make more time for it if I let go of the idea that our house needs to shine. On an ordinary day, who the heck cares if there is an overflowing pile of laundry on the bed?

Go play with her.

There will always be piles to fold, but there won’t always be a little girl inviting me to a tea party.

Go play with her.

A few weeks ago, Chloe looked over at me while we were eating dinner and said, “Mommy, you are amazin’.” My heart melted. I am thankful for the grace that Chloe has for me, even on those tough days…days when I have to hold a screaming baby and ask her to wait for the twentieth time…days when I do more yelling than playing.

I am thankful for a God who offers me a similar grace. Even on days when I brush Him aside and ask Him to wait, He tells me I’m amazing.

“I hope my children look back on today
and see a parent who had time to play.
There will be years for cleaning and cooking,
but children grow up when we’re not looking.”
(from an old cross stitch poem)

Lauren spends her days with her two kids, Chloe and Dawson. An amazing mother, daughter, sister, and friend, she is passionate about relationships and hospitality to others as ministry. She loves to cook, garden, and create cozy spaces for her family. She blogs at Merry Nook.

6 thoughts on “Motherhood Mantras: Go Play With Her

  • Pingback: Motherhood Mantras: Stories of Survival – first day walking

  • May 5, 2012 at 9:10 pm

    This has probably been my favorite “mantra,” and the one most applicable to my life. I have now said this over and over, when I find myself playing on the computer instead of playing with Baby A, or when I find myself wanting to cook or do this or that, and Baby A just wants to play ball.

    • May 10, 2012 at 10:57 am

      Me, too Christie!

  • May 10, 2012 at 6:48 am

    Lauren, I thoroughly enjoyed reading about your life and newfound mantra. We’ve come such a long way since our middle school days playing on Parker Avenue. Thank you for sharing and look forward to seeing you and the family at the farmer’s market over the summer.

    • May 10, 2012 at 10:53 am

      She did such a lovely job!

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