I loved the early years of motherhood, the snuggly, baby-wearing years filled with firsts and discovery. At times, I miss the kids’ chubby baby legs or our quiet moments nursing and reading aloud together. I miss how organized and simple life’s routines felt at that time, a rhythm of eating, playing, and sleeping. Those were the sweet parts I now hold tightly in my heart, the salve for the years that also contained toddler tantrums, potty-training, sleep-less nights, and tired days. For the latter, I’m grateful to be moving on.
As the kids age and inevitably grow closer to the horizon of adulthood, our goals and days have become more complex, filled with everything from taking care of our home and selves to learning our spelling lists, math facts, and how to make a meal. Sometimes in the process, I forget the importance of nondescript play, their need to move and be without the goal of accomplishment. On the outside, this sort of play seems anti-productive, activity working against the structure and rigor of adulthood. However, as a mother, I’ve experienced differently. Through unstructured play, I can see the ways each child learns important inter-personal skills and problem solving. They learn about creating and initiative, about imagination. Although small and casual, these regular periods of unplugged “free play” teach my children unquantifiable, yet intrinsic skills for adulthood.
Since arriving back in town late Sunday night, I have felt quite unprepared for this week, and we’re moving slowly toward our typical routine. The kids spent most of Monday morning jumping on my bed and sharing about our weekends apart. Although they have finished a little school work, most of this week they have been playing dress-up, building with Legos, or celebrating our Autumn weather by reading and drawing outdoors. Although we’ll have a bit more structure again next week, for now, I’m grateful to remember the importance of play in our home.
This post is in partnership with Nico Nico, a clothier committed to making kids clothing that is modern, comfortable, and environmentally conscious. Their products are made from organic, sustainable fabric (and are incredibly soft) and are made in the United States. Liam is wearing the DJ Hoody and Norman sweats, and Blythe is wearing the Wynona skirt from the Autumn/Winter line.