As I’ve discussed before, parenting doesn’t always feel rewarding.
I could make a list as long as my small intestines (which are deceptively long…don’t be fooled by the name) logging everything about parenting that is difficult.
…Morning fatigue. Taxiing. Late night fevers. Back-to-school shopping. Back-to-school forms. “Please sit down and eat.” “Don’t wipe your mouth with your shirt.”
I’ll stop there.
As parents, especially working parents, we get into periods where we feel like all we do is run, run, run; and no, no, no; and do this and do that.
I had gotten into one of these ruts. By the beginning of this week, I had had it. Every moment of my time with the kids was practical and tactical. I shifted from loving mother to transportation and project manager. I wasn’t all “Mommy Dearest,” but I sure as hell wasn’t fun mom either. And I don’t need to be FUN MOM, exactly. But I’d like to be CAN BE FUN MOM.
So Wednesday, craving some completely impractical conversation with my kids, I pulled out a secret weapon: UNO…the card game.
We played and had a blast!
UNO is a God send. It’s perfectly paced (we all know how painfully long Monopoly can be). It’s suitable for all our ages. It inspires a healthy amount of friendly smack talking amongst family members.
Me: G, take ONE card foo’!
G: foo’!…who you callin’ foo’? Mama fu.
Ya, that was a lot funnier Wednesday night.
We ended up playing again the next evening, they’ve asked to play every night since, and I can confidently say game night is here to stay. Because the kids and the parents in this house are much more relaxed. We’re connected. The whole climate is more loving. UNO gave us a non practical way to relate and blow off steam.
It’s emotional intelligence. We connect over Uno, so that when I have to correct or direct later, they’re not bitter that that’s all that matters to me. (That’s pre-teen drama speak.)
UNO is the patron saint of parenting joy!
And no, this is not a product placement stunt by me. It’s really all fun and games. I’m going to try dominoes and similarly swift board games, like Trouble!
Fun and games, friends…we need more fun and games.
9/8/12 Note from author:
I woke up this morning and realized that some people read this and went, “uh, ya, duh.”
Allow me to explain. See, I’ve never been that parent who enjoyed kid games. Hell, I don’t even think I was a kid who enjoyed kid games. I do recall playing my Jaws game as a kid…otherwise I was on my big wheel, outside exploring, or reading a book. LOTS of books. As I got older, I did play some board games, but even at that time I was more likely out in the wild with friends playing out some elaborate storyline in my head…or playing teacher…or up a tree…or dirt biking. Things like that.
So, I’m not that mom who’s played Legos or Barbies for hours, entertaining my kids. For a little while, yes. But, I’m not entertainer in chief. Go entertain yourself. It’s an important skill.
BUT, the age has come where we enjoy the same things. And the skill we need to develop is communication, before the teen years sabotage us, and UNO was perfect.