I Hate Pretend Play

Sunday, January 14, 2018

There. I said it.

I hate pretend play with my kids.

Cue the mommy shamers hailing me a bad mom, or older moms telling me how I'll miss it one day (I'm gonna put my money on "Doubt it.").  Cue the experts telling me how developmentally vital it is to play structure and learning social models-- yes, I know all the things. I want my kids to pretend play-- I just don't want to do it with them. I remember the first time a mom friend (who I really liked and enjoyed for her sarcasm and mom-realness) told me how much she hated pretend play with her daughter and I admit, I thought it was a little cold.

Because I wasn't in the pretend play phase yet.

I didn't know.


I didn't realize that pretend play doesn't consist of sweet little tea parties with baby dolls and teddy bears.

Pretend play consists of ENDLESS PREPARATION of costuming and toy set-up and furniture arranging and breaking mommy's borrowed lipstick. Generally while I'm trying to write a work email.

Pretend play also HAS NO ENDING. There is no end of the episode, no finale, no last piece of the puzzle, no dying in a sword fight. There is no final buzzer, no finale. Just all.the.encores.

And at my house, pretend play consists of some SERIOUS BOSSINESS where one nameless four year old tells everyone who to be, what to do, what to say, how to say it, how many times to say it, no don't say it like that say it like this, mommy your voice is too high, no mommy your voice is too low, you were supposed to sing that part, why don't we own a Beast mask mommy, mind numbing demands.

Let's be clear-- only one person is pretend playing during pretend play here. For everyone else, it's this super fun game called Strict Adherence.

I love my kids. I love their imagination. I love their fondness for stories and musicals. I love to watch them put on shows (from the sofa). I love to hear them learn songs, I love to overhear them playing with their friends. No one is more proud of their little Christmas pageant angel than I am. But give me a craft, give me a puzzle, give me a train set, give me a book, give me a movie, give me a bike-ride, give me a co-sleeping nap time, give me anything but pretend play.

For the love, I cannot be the Beast again.

(Or Gaston.)

(Or Mrs. Potts)

(Or Anna.)

(Or Elsa.)

(Or Captain Von Trapp.)

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