hate playing with my kids

“Am I the only one who hates playing with my kids? I mean, I actually HATE playing with my kids”.

“I feel ya.  Me too”

This is a snippet of a conversation I overheard seven years ago..yes SEVEN YEARS ago…while pushing my then 8-month-old son on the baby swing at our neighborhood park.

The reason this conversation, between random strangers, that had nothing to do with me, stuck with me for seven years, is because I was HORRIFIED by it.

I actually remember feeling horrified. And judgmental. Sad for the kids. Judgmental. Thankful that I was so much more fun than these tired and boring mamas. Judgmental.  

I even remember going home and telling my husband about it, as we rolled around on the floor and PLAYED with our 8-month old, all the while thinking, “some people should just never have kids.” 

Ya’ll…I have to tell you something now.  


I don’t have an 8 month old anymore. I have a 7, 3, and 2 year old.  

And I hate playing with them.

Now before you get all sad, or concerned, or JUDGMENTAL…

I love snuggling with them.

I love reading to them.

I love having CONVERSATIONS with them.  

I love taking them on fun adventures.

I love WATCHING them as they do things they love.

I love teaching them things. Showing them things. Experiencing things with them.  

But the second I hear, “Mom, will you come outside and PLAY with us?”… I cringe. 

The very MOMENT I hear, “hey mom wanna PLAY star wars?”, I panic.

Just the sound of, “Mama? Let’s stay home all day and PLAY together” puts me into fight or flight mode.  

“Want mommy to read you another story?”

“No, I think I’d rather us go outside and play World War 2”

“God no. And…what?!?”

It’s a lot of things.

It’s that I don’t really know HOW to play World War 2 or Star Wars.

It’s that I already know that 5 minutes into it, just when my Darth Vader voice is really starting to sound spot on, they’re going to be ready to play “Mama, Ha ha.”  Um, yeah..you wanna know what THAT game consists of? Everyone runs around and around in a circle, on each others heels, chanting “Mama says, ha ha ha. Mama says, ha ha ha.” That’s it. That’s the game. You’re telling me YOU want to play that?

It’s that, AS we are playing, my sons will say things to me like, “no, don’t hold the sword that way, hold it THIS way” or “Mom, you’re not supposed to say it like that. Your voice needs to be more growl-y and deep,” or  “ok,  so when I say THIS, you run to that spot, and go like THIS. Got it?”  Ah, no. I don’t. Ya’ll don’t want to go pick some wildflowers or something, and then go look up what classification they are? Yes? No? Ok fine. Putting my imaginary WW2 General hat back on.  

It’s that I’m the ultimate girly-girl, and they are the ultimate stereotypical boys. I enjoy soft, gentle, quiet. They thrive on LOUD, DISORDERLY, and CHAOTIC.  

I just can’t do it.

But I DO do it.  

Of course I do, because they are my boys, and I love them.  

I try to read and snuggle and learn and adventure as much as possible, but at long last, when that dreaded “play” word comes up, play I do.  

That doesn’t mean you won’t catch me on the outskirts of some playground bemoaning how much I hate playing with my kids.

Just don’t judge me, m’kay? 


  1. Oh for pity’s sake, NO ONE who has children is judging you. We all hate pretend playing with our kids whether it’s girls or boys, whether it’s war games or princesses, it all sucks. But we all do it and make the best of it and try to offer enticing alternatives every chance we get. It’s not a big shameful secret that it sucks. My mom hated playing with me and her mom hated playing with her. Dads hate pretend play too, just ask my husband, but he does it too, because that’s what parents do.


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