My daughter, Claire, and I engage in all kinds of kid-friendly activities on a daily basis. We read books, do puzzles, make play-doh, sing songs, wash her baby dolls, bake cookies, occasionally, we enter a land of make-believe.
When I say occasionally, I mean that this morning I said to my two year old, “I don’t want to play castle and princesses right now.” I also mumbled under my breath, “Imaginative play just isn't my favorite thing.”
The mumble part was directed at no one in particular, but my husband, George, piped in with, “But it’s her favorite!” His tone was filled with implication or, at least that’s how I heard it.
What I heard was that I was guilty of depriving my daughter of a vital experience that was essential to her very being.
My husband’s no dummy. He knows just how to get to me. He had appealed to an insidious side of myself. -- the part that desires to be all things to all people at all times, especially my daughter. I almost bought into it, too. I almost succumbed to the "perfect mommy" myth.
But then I remembered something about my husband. I remembered how George flat out refuses to indulge in sensory play with Claire. I'm talking the second I even mention the word "cloud dough", he practically alerts the press about his refusal to get all messy and stuff.
Sensory play is considered mom's domain. I graciously abide.
So I’m taking a cue from my husband. I do not need to be all things for my daughter. It's fine if she sees that I have limits. It's fine if she learns that people have tastes and likes, and that they don’t always jibe with hers. It’s fine if papa is the one who wears the crown around this house.
In many ways, I am serving all of us by saying "no"...to imaginative play and to other things as well. I’m letting my husband have his own unique relationship with Claire. I’m showing my daughter I'm human, I'm teaching her some valuable things about being authentic in relationships, and I'm modeling how to respect her needs. I’m also protecting us all from mama burn-out.
Of course, that doesn’t mean that I can’t occasionally don a crown and hold a staff in the name of my daughter's continued development. It also means I don’t have to buy into my husband’s attempt at a snow job either.
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Welcome to The Sunday Parenting Party, hosted by Dirt and Boogers, Play Activities, Crayon Freckles, Taming the Goblin, The Golden Gleam, Prickly Mom, and The Tao of Poop. The SPP is place for readers to find ideas on nurturing, educating, and caring for children, as well as honest posts about the stresses of being a parent or caregiver. Links to reviews and giveaways are welcome as long as they are relevant to the topic. All parenting philosophies are welcome with one exception: please do not link to posts promoting physical discipline, as this is something we would feel uncomfortable having on our blogs. (P.S. By linking up you agree that your post and photos are Pinterest, Sulia, G+ and FB friendly. We will be showcasing ideas on The Sunday Parenting Party Pinterest board.)
Check out this week's fab features:
Finding Ninee, My Future Dreams
Don't Chew on the Dinner Table, From the Mouths of Babes