Not that I want to continue to dwell on the less positive aspects of my weekend, but, well, I got a lot weighing me down, so I’m going to.
My mom, who so seldom criticizes my ability as a mom, actually criticized an aspect of my parenting this weekend. Or what she saw as my parenting. I was actually so surprised that I didn’t really defend myself. Plus, it wasn’t that harsh a criticism. More like a suggestion, an observation.
What she said was, “I think you should play with your children more. Wait to read books after they are in bed.”
Now this was said as she was playing with my children, and, yes, I was reading a book. And I did want to point out to her that I was not playing with my children because she was.
Generally, I do wait until my children are in bed before I go off and read a book. It’s usually one of those end-of-the-day activities I still like to indulge in. Helps me wind down before bed. Which is not to say that I spend tons of time playing with my kids, either. Although I do like to take them to the zoo, and the park, and out for walks in the evening, play board games with them, and read to them, I also on a day-to-day basis leave them to their own devices sometimes so I can do things like clean the kitchen after dinner or throw in a load of laundry. I’m not super engaged every hour I am with my kids, although I don’t feel neglectful, either.
And then research was published affirming that we women are like our moms. (Something that our husbands would be very wise NOT to point out, research notwithstanding.) So whatever I am doing, I come by it pretty honestly. Because while there was plenty of reading to and affection and praise in my childhood (and zoo, park, and library trips), there was also a lot of time left to my own devices so the kitchen could be cleaned. (I figure, too, this is where siblings come in very handy. My girls don’t seek me out to play because they have each other. Although sometimes I have to stop what I am doing to play referee.)