I loved to play as a kid. Many of my fondest memories include the hours upon hours of playing with Barbie and all her glorious accessories.
I had a nice group of friends in my little neighborhood, and over the summer the moms would take turns letting us turn their dens and basements into Barbie Land. We set up her Townhouse complete with elevator, her jeep, her Corvette, her Fold-In-Fun House (you know, for when she is taking a break from the Townhouse), her kitchen, and, of course, her trunks upon trunks of clothes. We would come up with some sort of plot always involving many wardrobe changes and a fight over who got to bring the one and only Ken out for a night on the town. And all the Barbies had fantastic jobs, which required a sleek outfit and those hard-to-keep-on high heels. I remember this one outfit in particular that I always wanted my Barbie to wear because it looked just like something my mom had – it was a black pencil skirt with a red and black checked blouse and a gold jacket. Very much an early-90s power suit. And my Barbie would trot off in her impossibly high heels to her job as a school teacher/lawyer/doctor/waitress. Because that is what I thought would be a fun job.
I cannot remember exactly when Barbie lost her luster for me. Eventually we ran out of story lines involving that conniving Skipper, her naive little sister, Kelly, and the always confident and radiant Barbie. Her Corvette failed to sparkle, the Townhouse with elevator was no longer enchanting, and suddenly all those outfits seemed terribly out of style. And so ended my time with Barbie and all that fun play.
Because the point of Barbie, at least for me, was never Barbie herself. I did not wish to be Barbie. I just liked to play pretend. That was fun. And I never felt guilty about having fun. I wish I could retrieve that feeling from my childhood and apply it to myself today. I want to do all sorts of things “just for fun.” Like crochet. And scrapbook. Read. Oh, and blog. But somehow I feel like unless there is a “point” to these activities, I have no business with play.
Most of my daily activities go something like this: clean up poop, make Kate meals, laundry, laundry, and more laundry, clean up poop, vacuum, more Kate meals, laundry, wash floors, clean up poop, unload dishwasher, reload dishwasher, put junk away, clean up poop, take out recycling, breastfeed, breastfeed, breastfeed. So when I have a spare minute between drudgery, I feel like I must fill up those free seconds with…more drudgery.
It is as if I feel I am not allowed to have a hobby. Something I do “just for fun.” Not for profit or for cleanliness. Just…because. As an adult, I feel guilty for taking a few minutes to myself to do something I enjoy. For the pure sake of enjoyment.
Yet after a day of nothing but cleaning up other people’s (or dog’s) poop and putting away stuff that isn’t even mine, a girl could use something to do just for fun. So I have started picking up my crochet again, enjoying my few minutes of free time to make something with my hands. I got out Kate’s baby scrapbook and in between laundry loads, I try to lay out a page or at least part of a page. While Kate naps I sneak in blog writing time and keep a notebook out to jot down my post ideas throughout the day.
I finally realized I was judging myself as unproductive where no judgement was necessary. Unproductive – what does that even mean? Sometimes, as I have found, an “unproductive” moment of reading Parenting magazine and sipping apple spice tea is just the moment I need so I feel less hagard when Kate wakes up from her nap.
A mommy with some hobbies is a happier mommy. And when mommy is happy, everyone is happy. Does anyone else feel like this – that as adults we should make every minute a productive minute?