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A number of years ago my eldest son who was then an only child and about four years of age was babysat by a friend of mine. I had to go and do something that required him not to be there (I can't remember what it was). Later that day he told me how much he had enjoyed my friend looking after him and when I asked him what it was he liked about it the most he said "it was great because she played with me."

Well, didn't that feel a bit like a slap in the face! The train of thoughts in my head went round and round questioning what kind of mother  I  was if he had enjoyed an afternoon spent with someone else much more than he did with me! I play with him all the time, I thought. But then when I really rationalised it, I realised that I probably didn't.

As a parent, you want to spend a fair amount of quality time with your kids each day, I mean, you're around each other a lot - there must be heaps of quality play time in there? But then when you look at that long list of stuff to get through, play time often scores pretty lowly on the to do list. I mean, there is all that meaningful stuff like washing, cleaning the floors, cooking... actually when you look at it like that, there isn't that much meaningful stuff on there at all but the thing is, it still has to be done.

This past week I was away visiting my mum in Fingal Bay (which is a really beautiful beach suburb close to Newcastle in New South Wales) with my two year old. Mum lives in a retirement village... how's the serenity? Well, actually it was really nice, thank you. All of the activities are pretty low key, no wild parties or anything like that and you can only drive in the village at 8km (yep, that's right 8 - that was not a typo) so traffic isn't really an issue. Mum spent most of the week focusing on doing all that boring stuff (that still has to be done) and I spent the week playing with my two year old. Wow, what a revelation! We went to the beach every morning and every afternoon, we got a visit in to the park each day, we ate ice cream and we watched the boats bob on the water and it was marvellous.

Now that we are home again all that boring stuff comes crashing back in on me like I have never been away. It's amazing how quickly you can get back into the swing of monotony. The big difference for me is that my little guy wanted to go outside today and play for a while and I usually watch him through the window while I sort washing, (or complete some other mundane job) but today I looked at his joyful little face and thought all that stuff can wait .... and it did. We jumped on the trampoline, played catch and sat down together to share a bag of chips.

All that stuff will still be there, but it can wait. After all, nobody ever laid on their deathbed wishing they had got one more load of washing in.

Cheers,

Lee

 





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