Play: Getting back into the Habit
I have just finished my third round of Maternity Leave. It wasn't the most relaxing of experiences, and I didn't have oodles of free time to ruminate, reflect or paint my nails. But it did afford me a chance to make a contrast between time spent working and time spent playing. Here are a few conclusions, as a play advocate, that I made:
1: Playing with your kids is great, but you need your own definition of fun. I think play is useful for us if we are enjoying it. Building a Lego house with your child is extra great if it is a meaningful source of fun for both of you, but if you are taking part because you know it is meaningful for them, then it doesn't meet your fun quotient. As adults we may need to get our fun fix outside of time spent with the fun experts in our lives. After all, our taste in fun has expanded as we have got older and seen the world a little bit. I own inflatable costumes which I bought for me, not the kids. I am glad I did as it honours my need for fun.
2: Sometimes a little time out is needed before Play. If you are under pressure, heading straight into a soft play area with kids is not recommended. Play areas can sometimes pile the adrenaline on when we are already maxed out. We as adults need to honour the pressures we are under and take some time to ground ourselves first. It serves as a reset before we engage in either play with others or play that fulfils our need for fun.
3: Play time yields cumulative benefits. I wrote a lot over my maternity leave. I helped write a screenplay and I wrote short stories. I cannot tell you how much that charged my batteries. I reconnected with my dormant writer and let her loose. I gave myself half an hour a day(I make sure I have at least that time to myself) and I wrote. Everyone was happier when I got that time.
I am back working nearly 2 months now and I can feel with play withdrawal kicking in, Part of my effort to reinstil the habit is writing these blog posts. Even I have to remind myself of the power of play, and walk the talk. So its back to my weekly planner to make sure that time is ring-fenced once more. If I could write as much as I did when I was on the cusp of having a baby, I wonder what I will create this time?