The Work of Play

Dear Mother, I know you’re tired. There’s a reason for the cliche– it’s true our tasks are never done. But there’s something else you should think of adding to your to-do list. It’s this thing called play, the real work of the child. Can you believe your luck?!! You are invited into it, into whimsy. No need to RSVP…just show up. And if it makes you feel better, you can check it off the list when you’re done. Where else will you ever get the chance to play and call it work?

I have to admit that I’m preaching to myself here. As a firstborn, I was an old soul and many times (though not always) found myself gravitating to the company of my parents and their friends at a party while my siblings and the other kids played in another part of the house.

In this stage of parenthood, my own firstborn and then my second have freed me up to be more playful and silly. I love that it’s part of my job description…and these days I’m reminding myself to work on it, to give play more priority while the invitation is open.

I’m reflecting more on the work of play at The High Calling today in my article, “When the Symphony Goes Wild.” I’d be thrilled to have you jump over and join me there!

Note: Parts of the above were originally shared on the Mother Letters page.

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6 thoughts on “The Work of Play

  1. I have missed your posts Darcy. I thought that maybe you had gone into labor. ;) I love this post…the reminder to be ‘like a child’ is never wasted. I know that one of the way I can fill my little guy’s love tank the most is when I play with him.

    • So glad to know someone noticed I was out for a bit. ;) I hadn’t gone into labor…just into panic mode about getting the house ready for when I do go into labor. Ha! I still have a bit of work to do, but the two weeks off from blogging gave me a chance to get a handle on things around here. Hoping soon to get out of task mode and get some good play time in with the big kids before baby comes.

  2. I am more successful at playing with my grands than I was with my own daughters. I regret that. I did include them in my work and that made it a bit like play. Great thoughts…heading over to the Symphony.

    • I think it’s a healthy thing to include the kids in a mother’s work. Montessori methods say it is, anyway. :) So, maybe it should be an even trade between generations: us taking on the “work of play” from our children and them getting a taste of the “play while you work” from us. And maybe that’s the reward of being a grandmother, that you don’t have to juggle so many things at once and can just enjoy the fun of being together. Thanks for speaking up here, Pamela.

  3. Maybe it’s less an older-child thing and more an introvert-thing? I’m the youngest of 4 and always gravitated towards the adults. Although, my siblings left the nest before me, so I didn’t have much choice :) Happy to learn to play now… better late than never! :)

    • So you were sort of an only child for a while? That’s how it was for my dad whose sis was 10 years older than him with no other siblings between…and I think he tends to gravitate more towards grown-ups. But I think he’s somewhat of an introvert as well. Hmmm….

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