Today D., my Mother’s Helper, started with us. She’ll be coming once a week for five hours. The idea is to allow me time to work, but for today she just hung out with us learning the ropes. While she played with the kids, I took the opportunity to do some housework. As I stood in the bedroom folding laundry I was suddenly struck by the realization that I was paying someone to play with my children while I folded laundry. Man, doesn’t that just sound totally messed up?
Since then, I’ve been mentally berating myself for not playing with my kids more. Sure I’ll stop for a few minutes here and there, but when I am honest about my day, most of the time I’m doing housework-type stuff, or preparing meals, or feeding them meals, etc. We go out every day, we run errands around town with me on foot and them in the stroller. But I can’t say that I really sit down and play with my kids. Not like D was doing today. She really got down and played with them.
Okay, to be fair, it’s not like I hired D so I could do more housework. I hired her because I need to work on my business. And while D was here I got to have a long, uninterrupted phone conversation with a woman who started her own similar business and she gave me great tips, has me down as a referral for her lawyer clients who might need my services, and will be a great networking resource. So D already is earning her keep.
And, true, I do take them to the playground most days. Yesterday we not only spent time at the playground but later we went to the beach for a lovely evening frolic along the shore, tossing rocks into the waves.
But still, I feel that I just don’t stop and focus and get “in the moment” with them often enough. I’m wondering if maybe I need to start scheduling part of my day with them. I mean dedicate a set time to drop what I’m doing and just play. Because I’m finding that when they want me to play I’m thinking about all the other things I should be doing…I wonder if maybe, if I just say this hour here and that hour there the kids will have my complete focus…well, maybe things will be different. So, I’m going to try that.