10 Things To Always Put Off To Play With Your Children


Barbies and trucks and dolls and hide and seek and Candy Land and Go Fish are just a few of my least favorite activities. They’re actually right up there with my fear of heights and my annual gynecological exam. Of course, my kids love these games; and they’re the reason I dislike them so. Why, you ask, would I possibly find it in my cold, hard heart to dislike these games? It’s simple really. My kids either kick my butt or they cheat, or when I win they don’t think it’s fair. Also, they’re slow, they don’t play by the rules and they are not nearly as competitive as my husband, with whom I enjoy playing games. So when my kids say, “Mommy, will you play Trouble with me?” I feel panic and fear in my heart. I think of all that I have to do and I want to say no. I want to say no so badly I can taste it. But I say yes; not because I am a sucker. Okay, I’m kind of a sucker. I say yes because I love my kids and I recognize that their days of innocence and sweetness and their desire to actually spend time with me are numbered as they grow older.

I’m the mother of four. I’m a wife. I am a writer. I work from home, and I have to keep my kids happy. They’re 7, 4 and my twins are 16-months. I have a big house that they love to destroy that I have to keep clean, articles to write, laundry to do, shopping to get done, church activities that require my attention, cheerleading activities that require my attention, and I’m currently in the middle of a major renovation project in our new home. I’m busy. I simply haven’t the time to play with my kids. Yet I do it anyway. I’d rather spend an hour playing with them in the morning and stay up that much later to get work done than ignore them and really never get too far ahead. With that said, here are 10 things that are always worth putting off to play with the kiddos.


Unless your 4-year-old forgot to flush, again, and left the bathroom door open, again, so that her twin siblings could get into the bathroom, again, and remove the poop from the toilet in an effort to create a wall collage of art, you can put aside the cleaning to play with the kids. In this particular example, I’d clean first, shower second and then play with the kids – but it’s a special circumstance.


No one wants to let it pile up to the point that it becomes uncontrollable, but there is no reason you can’t spend a half hour playing with the kids and let the laundry sit so that you can enjoy this time. No, it’s not going to put itself in the closet when it’s dry, but perhaps your husband will come home and put it in the closet for you so that you can enjoy that time with the kids.


It takes 30 seconds to load the dishwasher, two hours for everything to clean and 800 years to unload the dishwasher. At least, that’s how it feels. Why does the worst part always take the longest time to complete? It baffles me. Either way, leave them in there a little longer and play with the kids. Or do what I do, remove only what is necessary to load the rest of the dirty dishes and then wash it all. If a few things go through twice, they’re just extra clean.


God did not invent pizza delivery and garlic knots so that we could slave over the stove every single night of our lives. He invented these things so that we can take our kids outside and let them run around the yard on a treasure hunt or playing ball to perfect their skills with us so that we can do all this and still eat. Amen.


I’m a planner. I like to sit with my agenda and go through my plans, update calendars and schedules and all that those entail, and I like to make sure that I have everything that I need to keep my life in order. But sometimes this has to wait as I make an effort to keep my kids happy by playing a little game. I can plan forever, but they won’t be around forever. One day they’ll grow up and go to college and leave us behind.


This might not be an option for everyone, but it is for me and other self-employed and freelance people. I work from home, and many times I find myself abandoning my computer in the middle of something important so that I can play with the kids. I can finish this later, even if I don’t want to because I’d rather do it now, so that I can make some memories.


Excuse me while I finish laughing, pick myself up off the floor and calm myself down. What is this word? Resting? I believe I vaguely remember this from my days of non-parenthood. This is when you can sit on the couch anytime you want, take your time and always have a clean house, no? If you’re like me, you have no idea what rest looks like. But just in case you do, I demand right now that you get up and play with your kids. If they’re even yours, because no parent gets real rest.


I don’t love this, but I do it. My kids like to rise early, and I’m okay with that. I like to get up earlier than them so I very rarely miss sleep. But if you’re a late sleeper and your kids want some attention, give it to them. They deserve it. You can sleep when you die.


A game of cheating Candy Land with sore losers who cry and throw things might not sound like that much fun, but it definitely sounds like more fun than grocery shopping with four kids in the rain, right? Make the sacrifice, friends.

Anything less important

Pretty much everything in your life is less important than your kids – except your marriage. I stand by that. If you want to be a happy, healthy, productive parent and a spouse, you have to focus on both. But pretty much anything else can wait until later, so play with the kids, have fun and enjoy what life has to offer.

Photo by Sean Gallup/Getty Images


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