Tuesday, September 13, 2011

No Nanny Needed.

Welcome to the September Carnival of Natural Parenting: Parenting Through Play
This post was written for inclusion in the monthly Carnival of Natural Parenting hosted by Hobo Mama and Code Name: Mama. This month our participants have shared how challenging discipline situations can be met with play. Please read to the end to find a list of links to the other carnival participants.

Parenting through play.....aka.....the best kind of parenting.  Seriously.  I love hanging out with my kids.  My most favorite way to play is by reading books, lots and lots of good children's literature.  But, I also love coloring with sidewalk chalk, dancing around to Bob Marley, putting things in a purse, taking things out of a purse, hanging out with my babies at the park and just hanging out by the window and watching our little town in action. 

I like to play.  My kids like to play.

And, my kids are always their best little people when I'm right there playing with them.  As I model love and respect, Henry is always at his most gentle.  With my undivided attention, Liza's goal of climbing to the highest point is much easier to attain with my hands readily available to keep her safe and stable. 

The kids are happy.  I am happy.

And, happy kids and happy mama means that energy can be devoted to learning about the world around us rather than devoting time to talking about "acting right" and "showing love".  

But, sadly, my time is divided:
Food must be prepared so we don't starve.  Dishes must be washed so the house doesn't fill up with gnats.  Diapers must be changed, obviously.  Clothes must be hung on the line since I am crazy and I think the dryer ruins clothes.  The floor must be swept because it would be disgusting not to sweep 10 times a day.  And, occasionally, I just need to sit on my butt and not do anything productive or I just might go crazy.

So, while parenting through play is my favorite kind of parenting, it's just not always a feasible way to parent.  Life necessitates parenting while I'm standing at the counter chopping a million grapes in half or standing at the sink loading the dishwasher so I can get to the skillet at the veeerrrryy bottom of the sink that I need to cook supper or while wiping up a puddle of unknown origins off the hardwood floor or picking up  315 board books off the ground so Liza can walk without falling down.

So.  I love parenting through play.  But, it isn't always compatible with two busy toddlers in the house.  

But, as soon as that money tree we planted in the back yard starts growing, I am going to hire a chef and at least 2 maids.  

No nanny needed though.  

I'm going to be parenting through play all day long with my babies.

Disclaimer -- I also like it when they play by themselves and let me blog for 5 minutes of silence during the middle of the day.  Maybe all that playing with their mama will wear these kids out and give me a break!


Carnival of Natural Parenting -- Hobo Mama and Code Name: MamaVisit Hobo Mama and Code Name: Mama to find out how you can participate in the next Carnival of Natural Parenting!

Please take time to read the submissions by the other carnival participants:

  • On being a more playful parent — Isil at Smiling like Sunshine shares how the Playful Parenting book impacted her.
  • Parenting a toddler through play — Alicia at I Found My Feet lists some examples of how she uses play to parent through everyday tasks and challenges.
  • Splashing in Puddles — Abbie at Farmer's Daughter shares how she learned to get dirty and have fun with her little boy.
  • Say Please — Cassie at There's a Pickle in My Life explains how they taught their son manners by "play," showing that actions speak louder than words.
  • No Nanny Needed — Laura at Our Messy Messy Life wishes parenting through play was her only responsibility during the day.
  • I'll Run Away With Gypsies — Nikalee at Spotted Pandemonium maneuvers physical and emotional obstacles while spinning playful tales, jumping through hoops, and inspiring the kids to clean the living room.
  • A Promise To My Daughter — Lindsey at An Unschooling Adventure writes a poem for her daughter promising to use play instead of anger when facing difficult situations.
  • Parenting Through Play — Not Always Easy But Always Rewarding — Amy at Peace4Parents discusses how play hasn't always come easily to her, the power of appreciative observation, and how her family learns together through play.
  • Imagination Plays a Role in Our Parenting — Tree at Mom Grooves shares how parents can use play to set the foundation for communication and understanding.
  • A Box of Crayons — Jenn at Monkey Butt Junction talks about how a simple box of crayons has become a wonderful parenting and teaching tool.
  • The Essential Art of Play — Ana at Pandamoly shares some of her favorite lessons available for young ones through play.
  • The Art of Distraction — Amanda at Let's Take the Metro shares a list of distracting alternatives to harsh punishments in tough parenting situations.
  • Grace and Courtesy Games at Home or School — Deb Chitwood at Living Montessori Now has ideas for grace and courtesy games that help you encourage courteous behavior without reprimanding your child.
  • I am woman, hear me roar! — Mrs Green from Little Green Blog shares how one simple sound can diffuse an argument in an instant.
  • Getting Cooperation Through Play — Amyables at Toddler In Tow talks about respecting the worldview of a preschooler by using play to encourage connection and cooperation.
  • Playful Parenting = Extra Energy??Momma Jorje didn't think she had the energy for playful parenting. See what she was surprised to learn…
  • Dance Party Parenting — Laura from A Pug in the Kitchen learned how to be the parent her children need through play.
  • Wrestling Saved My Life — Wrestling is as vital to her son's well-being as babywearing once was, finds Hannah at Wild Parenting.
  • Parenting through play — By playing with her children, Tara from MUMmedia is given amazing opportunites to teach, train and equip her children for life.
  • Parenting Through Play Starts in Infancy — In a guest post at Natural Parents Network, Issa from LoveLiveGrow shares that though she only has a 3-month-old, playful parenting has already started.
  • Play Before Sleep — Adrienne at Mommying My Way writes about how playing and singing with her son before he falls asleep helps calm her frustrations that tend to arise at night.


Dionna @ Code Name: Mama said...

But what's awesome, Laura, is that since you do spend so much time parenting through play with your kids, that they are learning to play together when you can't be there. It's a win-win :)

Cassie said...

You sound like a really awesome mom. I like to play like that too and all those have-to-dos get in my way too. And you're so right, I'd much rather take a chef or a maid than a nanny. The playing is the best part!

nikalee said...

I can't imagine how anyone would choose the cooking and cleaning over the playing. I've learned with my kids that if I put in a couple hours of quality time with them, it seems to charge their batteries in a way that enables them to play without me for longer. If for some reason I neglect that quality time, our day will be full of constant distractions, interruptions,and probably an inordinate amount of bickering.

Amanda @ Gratefully Growing in Grace said...

As usual, Laura, I'm totally in agreement with you. I am only teaching one class this semester - I'm gone two measly afternoons a week - and I hate it because those are two afternoons I am not with my kids on walks, reading books, doing activities, singing, dancing, cooking, and playing. Oh, we love to play!

Lauren @ Hobo Mama said...

Ah, it's so true — there are all these things that need to be done, aren't there? I do find sometimes, when my patience is high enough and the urgency is low, that I can make even the dull tasks into playtime and incorporate my kids into them. But not always. :)

Terri said...

I love this post because it describes my life perfectly. I soooo want to play more with my kids but there is so much to do in a day it can be overwhelming. My older child (3 years) does like to help me a lot which is fun. I too am holding a vision of someone who comes to my home to prep meals, clean up a bit and hang out laundry (we don't even have a dryer...but then who does in the Caribbean?) Then we can play, play, play!!! I am watering my money tree and giving it lots of good organic fertilizer so I'll tell you when that bears fruit. Thanks so much for sharing this post, it's probably the most perfect thing I could have read this evening.

Alicia said...

So cute! I totally agree!

...sarah. said...

I'm right there with you, Laura! What a conundrum... But, I've found (as long as my boy is well-rested) he loves to play as if he's helping with some of these tasks. It sure does take longer, but makes it more fun.

Isil said...

I would love to play more with my kids too but yes, real life gets in as somebody needs to cook, clean up and do all those chores.

mudpiemama said...

but do the dishes really need to be done and the floor really mopped????why can't these do themselves.....sigh!!!! i confess my house is a holly mess at the moment because playing is sooo much more fun.
lovely post - still laughing about the puddle because here I do find a puddle at least once a day - or a rag in the hands of my three year old who tells me he cleaned up a mess :)
thanks for sharing!

Amyables said...

One of my best mommy friends tells the anecdote about the two different women on the block: One whose house is clean and beautiful and dinner is on the table exactly as it should be, but her kids are running around like monkeys and being ignored. The other's house is not as tidy (maybe a bit of a mess), but she and her kids are happily playing away, and her attention is fully on raising them. I have to say that I think that there's definitely a medium place where we can involve our kids in their own ways in the upkeep of the house and cooking and other "needs" when appropriate, and provide enough full attention that when mommy needs time to do something herself, kiddos can leave her be. I'm working on figuring out the magical mindset that allows this to happen! :) All in good time, right? Oh, there's the baby! Hey, at least I already fed my family dinner :)

MaMammalia said...

Yes, I think I'd hire a cook instead, too!

I love your realistic and humorous attitude...I can tell you still find time and energy to play because it comes through in your tone.

Bob Marley and good children's literature? We'd love to come over and play :)

Gaby @ Tnuffin said...

I just found your blog through the CarNatPar and love it! I'm so glad your web banner looks like my house. :)

Isn't it funny how our kids are always so happy when we play with them? Baby T is crankiest when I have a ton of stuff to do. Sometimes on the weekends, when Big T and I are cleaning the house, we have to call a stop to all adult things and just play, because it's obvious when Baby T hasn't had enough of our playful attention.