“Can You Ever Return to Neverland?

In Uncategorized on January 22, 2011 at 3:28 pm


Wendy: Where do you live?
Peter: Second star to the right, and then straight on till morning.
Wendy: They put that on the letters?
Peter: Don’t get any letters.
Wendy: But your mother gets letters.
Peter: Don’t have a mother.
Wendy: No wonder you were crying.

from: Disney’s “Peter Pan”

As parents we walk a tight-rope with our kids on so many different issues.  Trying to find the balance.  Lately, I’ve been wobbling more than usual on one in particular, being the fun parent or the practical parent. Of course there are times when I’m a little bit of both, and times when it’s obviously more important to be one or the other, but in general I think I tend to be the practical.  Now that I say practical, I’m not sure that’s really the right word.  I guess it’s more like care giver, or nurturer. I would like to be the fun Mom more, but it doesn’t happen.  I get lost in the details of things, like making sure the packed lunch has a favorite snack in it, or trying to squeeze in baking a batch of healthy cookies for an afternoon  snack, or making sure the play room looks like an inviting place to play.

You can count on the fact that while I’m busy doing these things, someone is asking me to play, or do something else, or generally dis-satisfied with something.  Here’s where the mental debate comes into play.  Should I be spending more time playing, instead of trying to perfect the things that I think make them happy?  What will they remember more, the fact that I made them cookies, or the time I played with them?  Of course it’s the time playing, but will the little things matter as much in the end?  I don’t know. But while I’m feverishly making those cookies, or putting the smiley face note in the lunch box, I’m having dreamy visions complete with “Leave it to Beaver” setting and music, of my kids  reminiscing on their childhood’s saying, “Remember how Mom used to put those notes on our napkins, and make us cookies, and fix our toys so nice!  She was the best!”  Then I get jerked back into reality with another whine of, “Mommy, when are you going to be done?”

Sure these things are nice, but are they as important as I make them up to be in my head?  Probably not.  I actually think that sometimes I give them more importance, to create an escape of sorts, because sometimes I just don’t want to play.   There, I said it.  I don’t really enjoy it most of the time.  I’m really not that good at it.  It’s like the classic movie of “Peter Pan”,  (which I love by the way) and I’ve grown up, never to return to Neverland.  Pretending is now a chore…the horror!  Ahh, I’m feeling like such an awful Mother as these words are being pounded out!  I’m sure I’m not the only one out there, but still, who wants to be that no-fun- Mom?

Once again I guess it all comes back to that balance thing, but it’s not easy.  How do you find the balance?

  1. I’m the practical mom too. Some of my friends are “fun moms” and they do it (seemingly) with ease. For me, it’s a constant struggle to find balance. Great post. Thanks for stopping by OINKtales!

  2. Not being a mother, I can only comment on the content of what you said, and it jumped out at me that you consider yourself a nurturing, or practical mom. But couldn’t the nurturing idea be in the “fun” category? Having fun and playing with your children could be considered part of nurturing, couldn’t it?

    I can tell you my own mother was fixated on the “stuff”, o oing it right. She very much desired the Doris Day idea (she’d seen in movies) of the perfect family, and strove to accomplish that through doing. Breakfast, lunch, dinner, clean home, clean clothes, 12 kinds of cookies for Christmas, perfect Thanksgiving dinner, birthdays with homemade cakes, etc. But it wasn’t ever fun. In fact, it was a lot of pressure having to live up to her perfect ideals, and she was never happy doing it. And we weren’t all that happy either, because ours was a tense household; it had to be done right, and if it didn’t meet her standards, we could feel the unhappiness. One outstanding (and unusual) memory of I have of my mother is when I got the record to “The Sound of Music” when I was in 4th grade. We’d seen the movie, and once in a while we’d put the record on and my mother and I, my brother and sister, would pair up and dance a big polka around the living room to “High on a Hill Lives a Lonely Goatherd”. It’s one of my best and happiest memories of childhood.

    So I would suggest, based on my own experiences, that you learn to play again. You CAN, you know. Go to a class, go to a workshop, something, and get in touch with your inner child, and get back into playing. It’s very creative. It’s fun and you shouldn’t lose touch with that part of yourself, whether you have children or not. Then play with your kids. You know that’s how they build skills, right? What could be more nurturing as a parent than helping your kids connect with their inner creativity and skill building?

    I’m suggesting you might look at it a different way. Of course parenting is challenging and you obviously love your kids and are trying to be a good parent. But perhaps it’s all too much in your head? From what you’ve written here, maybe you’re thinking too much instead of just going with what feels good. I’m all for parents who parent, and being a kid’s best friend is not a great form of parenting if there are no rules, but playing is good for YOU, as well as them! Remember that!!!

  3. I feel the same way Meg. Everyday, I wake up and think to myself that I am going to have fun with the kids. Then the day is halfway over and I am still bickering at them to clean up their toys. I didn’t even get a chance to sit down with them because I was busy cleaning, getting lunches and dinner ready!! I need to take time to be a fun mom. I look back at out childhood and our moms didn’t play with us all that much but I do remember making the cookies and bread and pizza. They were the fun things that I remember about my mom! I know my kids will remember making cookies and cakes with me. They like to watch sometimes when I have a cake order! I hope they remember that!!

  4. I find that I am not really interested in pretending and nor do the kids want to do that with me. However, we do cook together and go places and play board or card games and watch movies together. Really, it is finding your strength and playing to it. I have to rein in my perfection and just go with the situation – which has taken me a long time to learn.

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