The last thing I wanted to do yesterday was play in a tunnel. Seriously, I’m not a huge fan of closed spaces, and here is a tunnel playground that this little campground is touting as the “biggest tube playground in Indiana.” Um, no thank you. But, when I saw this….
When I saw those puppy eyes looking up at me, and that big tunnel looming over me, I had to decide how I was going to spend my time. I’ve been working a lot lately, trying to stock up on blog posts and podcasts so I can take some time to visit with family over the next two weeks in Ohio. I was either on my computer, on the phone, or doing another awesome coaching session, and although I was accomplishing a lot, my girls hadn’t seen a ton of me.
The RockStar Daddy
Nathan is amazing at playing and imagining with the girls. He can get just as caught up in play and fun as they can, and they can get lost in rambunctious playtime for hours. They’ll all come home covered in sweat and dirt, having had the time of their lives.
I’m more of a doer. I like projects and tasks to do together. I’ll go hiking, biking, or create a craft. We can get lost in a task together, but I’m more reticent to just follow them along on their path of imagination. And you know what…that’s okay.
One thing, for certain, is that, although Nathan and I are a team, we parent a bit differently, and that’s by choice. You see, oftentimes we can push dads especially into the role of second-hand parent or the “babysitter” – and simply tell them what to do with the kids. But…if you want daddy to be involved, get out of the way. Nathan plays with the girls in a way I don’t, and I’m so grateful for it. I had to learn to let go of my guilt and look at what I could do to play with my girls.
What I Needed To Do Was PLAY MY WAY
I used to feel major guilt that Nathan was the “fun” one and I was the task-master. Then I learned to let it go. I don’t have to be him. I don’t have to force myself to dive into every imaginative world my girls create. There are many ways to play that still fit with my personality style as well as what they enjoy. Step away from the to-dos – shift gears and soak in some moments with my kids. And honestly, hours of imaginative play just wears me down. Give me arts and crafts any day!
So I compromise. I step out of my world and enter into theirs. We can draw together, create crafty masterpieces, go for hikes, bike rides, and read books. And yes, I did crawl through those blasted tunnels, and I have to say…I’m super glad I’m short. I was able to run on my hands and feet just like Clara, and although it wasn’t the most fun in the world, we had a lot of laughs and thoroughly enjoyed me getting in there to play with them.
Sometimes we can get so serious. We can get caught up in all of the to-do’s, and especially for the task-focused personality styles, it can result in us constantly doing and not simply being. Our last lesson is a big one for all of us, regardless of whether we have children. It’s about simply remembering to bring play into our lives. Have fun. Laugh. Enjoy the simple things and the silly moments.
Remember to play – not just with your children, but in general. Take your shoes off, go outside and enjoy the grass on your feet. Have fun with your spouse – do something fun and silly just the two of you. Remember that family can be FUN. Don’t make it a drudgery. Enjoy this life – and look for the joy and sunshine this week!