“Mommy, will you play with me?”

PLay with meOver the holidays my family traveled to New York for an extended visit with our family. It was a trip I was extremely excited for — we live very far from family and I was desperate for some help. In August we welcomed baby #3 and we also have a four year old and two year old. To be honest, the last six months have been a complete blur of sleepless nights, exhausting days and just pure chaos. I haven’t slept in months and simple, ordinary tasks such as doing laundry have become too overwhelming to bare. I needed a break and was hopeful that some time “at home” around all of our family and friends nearby would provide just that. And of course my kids were super excited for a change of pace as well.

Boys Home

The first half of the trip was spent enjoying Christmas, attending parties, opening presents, playing with cousins, and being completely off schedule. The kids loved every single second. But after the New Year, life started to wind down a bit as family members traveled back home, parties were less frequent, and many returned to work. My husband returned to Madison while the boys and I remained in New York for two extra weeks of family time and help. Although I wasn’t sure how two full weeks at my parents house would go, it ended up flying by and my kids had a great time hanging out with their grandparents and enjoying some special bonding time they don’t get very often.

GrandpaWe returned to Madison mid-January and the grind of daily life resumed remarkably fast. The laundry. The cooking. The cleaning. The lack of help. One day after we were back, my four year old son asked me to play Candy Land with him and I quickly chirped “not right now” at him in response as I busied around trying to cook dinner. He paused, looked at me and said something that stopped me dead in my tracks: “Mommy, will you play with me like you did at Mimi and Papa’s house?” I stopped for a second and took in what he had just asked. I immediately knew what he meant.

So here’s the kicker. I was feeling the same way. The second we returned back to our house after the vacation the pressures of our day to day routine began to creep back in. In fact, the night before we returned from New York I was chatting with my husband on the phone and he asked if I was excited to come back to Madison. I was honest with him and shared that I wasn’t thrilled. It wasn’t anything against him and he knew that. Life is busy for our family right now. We have three little children and no family nearby to help. There are never enough hands to do everything I need to do during the day and it gets exhausting sometimes. With family, I really felt like I could kick back, relax, and enjoy my kids. We played hours of games. We made play-doh. We baked. We painted. We watched movies. And I was very present with them through all of this. There weren’t piles of laundry starring at me and distracting me from being with them. There weren’t meals to cook. And there wasn’t a house to clean! I truly felt like I was on vacation and was able to connect with my kids in a way I hadn’t done the past 6 months since the baby arrived.

New Family 2What I realized from my son’s comment is that I need to make spending good quality time with my kiddos more of a priority. I know what you may be thinking – you are a SAHM, aren’t you spending the entire day playing with your kiddos? And the reality of it for me is no – I’m not.  I’m physically present with them but if I’m being honest I’m not always emotionally present. The wear and tear of life takes over and I get overwhelmed, exhausted, and impatient.  And although I am a SAHM, for me spending many hours of the day in my home makes it so the never-ending “to do” list is always starring me right in the face. It seems as though every corner I turn in the house requires my attention. I find myself setting up activities or things for them to do simply to buy myself some time to get things done (cook, laundry, clean).  I am not sitting and enjoying them nearly enough and that time away from my house put this in perspective. They need that. And I need that. There will ALWAYS be some surface to dust or toilet to clean but from now on I am making a conscious effort to carve out special time with the kiddos each day and put the never-ending list of “stuff” to do away during that time.



  1. Thank you for this! I have 3 boys- ages 4, 2, and 4 months (and I’m also married to my high school sweetheart- parallel lives here, huh?!) – and definitely know exactly what you meant in this post. It’s so hard to manage a household and three little ones and still be able to spend enough quality time with them. So I really appreciate knowing I’m not the only one who feels this way and I also appreciate the nudge to make sure to prioritize the right things. Thanks again!


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