I’m tired of playing – Confessions of an Imperfect Mother #22


I love being a stay at home mom. Really, I do, but the truth is: I get really tired of playing.

Sometimes, I sigh inwardly when my little guy looks up at me with his big, beautiful eyes and says “MAMA play (with) YOU??!!!!!”. Sometimes I want to yell “no more playing!” and go hide somewhere with a good book. On my own, I would never choose to play trains, trucks, catch, or any of the mystery games my son comes up with. I don’t have a secret passion for parading around the living room pretending the broom handle is a leaf blower.

None of these things are particularly enjoyable on their own. (especially not trains. I really, really hate playing trains.)

I do them because playing is one of the best ways I can communicate love to my son.

I may not love the games we play in and of themselves, but what I do love is watching my boy giggle. I love watching the way his face lights up when I play with him, and the joy that togetherness brings to both of our hearts.

I don’t love playing. Sometimes I get downright sick of it, and feel like I will go crazy if I have to build one more train track. The “cute” little rhyming songs and books get nauseating after a few dozen times. It can all be so tiring. It wears me down after awhile. The train tracks are baffling, the songs are not as witty the fifteenhundredth time as they were the first. The puzzles are no longer interesting, now that we’ve done them a hundred times.

It can be so hard to continuously (And joyfully) give our hearts and time to our children in this way. It’s not always something that comes naturally. (at least not to me)

Since it is hard for me to find joy in playing all. the. time. I’ve decided this year, to really focus on intentionally giving my time to my children in this way. Which means playing trains without checking my phone or watching a tv show in the background. It means reading curious George for the 11th time in a row with the same vigor as I did the first 10 times. It means taking the opportunities to love on my babies in ways that they can understand, even when those  are not the ways  I would prefer.

It means giving them my time; even when I’m absolutely sick of playing.

I’m not great at this. My attitude still needs to improve a lot. Talking about where I want to improve is much easier than living it out in my everyday life. But it does help to acknowledge it. To say to myself “I don’t like playing this…but I love my little boy more than I hate playing trains”. 

And so..I attempt to build another train track, while singing a song about a tractor, and I watch his smile light up the room. 

Exhausting. but worth every minute.


Looking for more in this series? click the “the series” button in the menu above to find out what the series is all about and see links to all 22 (and counting) of the confessions! 


***Disclaimer*** I am not saying that kids need to be played with every moment of the day. There is great value in kiddos learning to entertain themselves, and use their own creativity to find new games to play. The last thing I want this post to do is make any mama feel guilty. You know the best balance of playtime and alone time for your family… I just hope this post encourages you in the times when it IS playtime, but you are tired of it <3

Looking for more playtime confessions? Click here to find out why I schedule playtime with my kids (and how it’s done wonders for our relationship!

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Young wife, mama, author, blogger, encourager, friend. Lover of hot weather, chocolate, watching my kids giggle and encouraging people.

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  1. says

    This is beautiful and I couldn’t agree more! With having four children so close in age I never ran into the problem of having to play with or entertain my children because they have always had each other to play with. But reading your post reminds me how much I enjoy the times I do get down on the floor and play side by side with my kids. :-)

    • says

      :) I’m so glad this was an encouraging reminder for you. It’s funny how easy it is to forget sometimes isn’t it? I’m definitely looking forward to the day when my littlest is old enough to really play with the oldest! <3 building sweet memories <3
      thanks for stopping by and sharing your thoughts today Faith! :)

  2. says

    I admittedly rely on my boys to play together a lot of the time, rather than with me. But my youngest (the more imaginative of the two) has been under the weather for the last week and a half, so he has taken a LOT of naps, which he usually doesn’t take at all. That has left me with a LOT of one-on-one time with my older son, who is constantly turning to me for entertainment. It’s been a challenge! I often find myself resorting to things we can do together that aren’t actually “playing” but are still bonding, like baking or even cleaning together. But we do read a lot of books, especially about helicopters! I guess it’s not as important what you’re doing as the attitude you’re doing it with, which was your point anyway. Thanks for the reminder!

    • says

      that’s awesome Erica! other activities can be much better than playing and the kiddos still get the attention they crave. perfect! :)

      I’m actually going to be sharing next week about that very thing! Can’t wait to see what you think :)

  3. says

    It’s really hard being a SAHM with the constant refrain of “mama come play” over and over again. I try to fully give him my attention and enjoy this play time but it’s not always easy and it’s somethting I need to work on.

    • says

      It is hard! Something most of us struggle with I think. We definitely don’t have to play every moment or anything, but there are some days (weeks) that I don’t want to play at all, and I just have to push through ya know?

  4. Rebekah says

    On a side note, our kids get really sick of playing too, and want to feel that their time is valuable. The remedy- Working together. Little kids love to be helpera, to be included, and it sure is a nice bit of sanity and a break from playing.

  5. says

    I too end up doing more cooking/cleaning with my kids than playing. I do play with them, and they do help keep each other entertained, but i also think it’s important that kids learn to entertain themselves part of the time and play alone, or look at a book quietly. I think it’s part of developing inner resources and not expecting the world around you to always be at your beck and call to entertain you (and isn’t that one of the complaints we always hear about the teenagers today?) I am not saying that it’s bad to play with them to show them love, just that I think playing alone is also a skill kids can and should learn.

  6. says

    Paula, I have been there. Still am! My children are much older, and my son still loves to play with me or his dad. He’ll be twelve in 17 days. Now the games are bigger, or electronic, or more creative, but at the mere mention of, “Mom, do you want to play …” I could literally — LITERALLY — run screaming out of the house. I do not like to play! I get a tight feeling in my chest at the suggestion. I feel trapped. I feel the need to escape.

    When I sit down to a game, I find enjoyment, as you mention, in his reactions and conversation, in his big-boy giggle, and in his learning of craftiness and strategy. I love seeing him like this, and I have to give him that time or I’ll miss so much. And mainly, so will he.

    Keep trying, but also, keep him learning to play alone sometimes. Teaching a child to self-entertain with worthy activities can be hard. My son still isn’t good at it, but solo activities really help them round out and not NEED social interaction all the time. It’s a difficult balance.

    Thanks for sharing this. It helped me remember and realize how I am in “real life”!

    • says

      so sweet. I love that your son still giggles even though he’s older. I love my boy’s giggle, I never want him to grow out of it!!! lol Good points about self – entertaining!!! I try to keep a good balance with both, but you are right it is hard! Our “balance” right now is still more playing than I would normally do on my own, but oh well. ;)

  7. says

    I forced myself to push pass this feeling yesterday and play wii with my son after he had asked me two days in a row, only to be ignored. I’m pretty sure I gave it whole 30 minutes, but to him it was a memory that will last a lifetime. I wish I could push past myself more when it came to my mothering. Time just goes too fast.

    I’m glad you got down and played. Again.

    Stopped by from Shell’s PYHO link!

  8. says

    Such a great reminder! I was just pondering this very thing recently. I’m starting to realize how often I don’t stop and play when my boys as me too. So this morning when they asked to finish working on their toy trains that they had painted last night, I quickly finished up the work I was doing and sat down with them. And we had fun putting the final details on their trains. Is it something I would have done on my own? Nope. But it was fun doing it with them. :-)

  9. says

    Paula! I love this post! We all secretly hate pretending a broom handle is a leaf blower! But of course you are right about this: I don’t think we’re ever going to regret that time we spend in inane pretend games.

  10. says

    I understand!

    I’m also a stay at home mom and sometimes I got tired of playing all the time. Now both of my kids are in school full time so I get a bit of a break on playing. But right when my five year old gets home, she’s ready to play princess. I don’t mind too much. I’d prefer to play that over board games. I cannot STAND playing board games with my kids. Someone always cries.

  11. says

    All I can say is “Amen!” I don’t think I ever really played as a child. I read books and pretended to be a teacher to my dolls (guess that’s playing), but I don’t remember my mom playing with me. She read to me, taught me to cook and clean, and took me to sporting events and music lessons. Still, I see value in play time. Thanks for being real and encouraging me that it’s okay not to want to play but that playing with my kids has real lasting value.

    Thanks also for visiting my site. I’m a new follower.

  12. says

    Great post! I am not a mom just yet, but am expecting our first little boy now. I used to run a daycare and remember the feeling of just not feeling like “playing” with the kids and preferring to get things done or read. I really believe God may move me into a position of staying home and I wonder if it’s going to be hard on me sometimes. This is encouraging to know that, sometimes it can be exhausting, but how much rewards there will be through it. I am so excited {and growing even more excited} at the thought of moving into this new season in life! Thanks for sharing.

  13. says

    I’m inspired to go play with my kids…but it’s only 2:45 am! Ha! ;) I used to do all kinds of things with my kids…fun little games, reading books, singing songs… Now that there’s 9 of them and I’m homeschooling 5, I just feel like I don’t have the time anymore to do things with the little ones as much as I’d like. I need to find a better balance. Thanks so much for sharing your heart and being real. I do know exactly how you feel—but it’s been a long time and I wish I felt that way again! :)

    I’m hosting my Homemaking Linkup Weekend and would love to have you join, if you’d like!

    Have a great day!
    Mrs. Sarah Coller

  14. says

    Ugh, I so identify with this. :) Love this: “I don’t like playing this…but I love my little boy more than I hate playing trains.” Yes, there are times for them to play on their own, but I can easily be “too busy” to play…all day.

    Thanks for the encouragement! And for linking up with Moms Against Manic Mondays!!

    With love,
    Rebecca @ From My Mountain View {dot} com

  15. Mommy Boots says

    I will be the first to admit: I am not a good “player”. I get bored way too easily. I love my kiddo. I love snuggles, I love watching movies together, I love giggling together but I hate playing. I try really hard, but it’s something I struggle with also.


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