Wednesday, August 1, 2012

Summer luxuries

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1. Staying up late. Sleeping in.

Yes, I still get up early two mornings a week to exercise, but early morning exercise isn't so critical during the summer -- I've got lots of other opportunities. So on all the other days of the week I sleep in, often until 8! The kids sleep in too. And we're all up much later than during the school year, out at soccer fields, or just playing in the back yard until it's dark. And we've been letting the kids stay up even later to watch Olympic coverage on TV.

2. Swimming. 

Which I've already rhapsodized enough about, but hey. I didn't skip out on my writing time today, but today has been the exception. Around 11am, you can find me at the pool, swimming lengths, most weekdays so far this summer.

3. Playing.

I've been thinking a lot about this last luxury. On Monday evenings, Kevin plays soccer and AppleApple has a practice, so I've been taking all of the kids to practice, along with snacks and water and a bag of soccer balls, and we've been playing on the empty field nearby. Often, I'm practicing skills to try to improve my own soccer game, and the kids are kicking balls at me, or we're all running up the field doing passes, taking shots on net, pretending to let CJ score on us or save our shots, or whatever we've decided to do. Whatever develops.

I've noticed that while fathers can often be seen playing with their kids -- kicking a ball, coaching, running around, winding up to take shots on net -- I rarely see other mothers doing this. I might almost say I've never seen another mother doing this. I've seen the occasional mother coaching her kid's soccer team. But I've never seen another mother playing pickup soccer with her kids -- running hard, getting sweaty, shouting, playing.

Is this your experience too? I'll admit I do feel self-conscious being the only mom (and often the only parent, period) running around. (My purple soccer cleats make me twice as geeky).

I wonder why I don't see groups of young women gathering at the park to play pickup soccer. I see lots of groups of young men -- probably university students -- gathering, and, yes, there is often a young woman or two in their midst; but I've never seen a group of young women gather spontaneously like that. I see women in the park doing boot camp together. I also meet friends to go to exercise classes together. But let's face it, that's not really playing.

Here's what I've been wondering: Is it taboo to play, as a grown woman?

Honestly, I don't care if it is because I'll tell you this -- it's fun. It's so fun.

6 comments:

  1. I get some weird looks on the playground in the winter when I'm the only mum in snowpants sledding with the kids, but most of the mums seem to enjoy my pleasure, even if they don't join in. I hear what you're saying about how rare it is, though - I'd love to see more pick-up play across age and gender... and seasons!

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    1. Sledding! Yup, my husband does that with the kids, not me. I haven't crossed over to winter sports yet ...

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  2. Last time I went to the park I was the only Oma sliding. They looked at me like I was REALLY REALLY weird. But I'd LOVe to find some others my age for pick up b-ball. You've convinced me --I just need to get my ball and go! Wonder if I can get the lard out enough to still do a lay-up!

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    1. I can totally imagine you sliding, Sheree!! And I hope you find some fellow b-ball players to join you.

      I imagine my daughters, in the future, going off to the park with their friends to play just for fun.

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  3. This is an interesting question! I've allowed my husband to slide into the "play parent" role because I do so much of the practical end that if the kids are happy playing with their dad, I'm happy to have some alone-time. But it's so unbalanced! I do sled with them, play some board games, but I want to play more, too (even to sacrifice my quiet time). Thanks for the inspiration.

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    1. I think you're right, Margo. When I was in stay-at-home mode, for all those years, the last thing I wanted to do was play with the kids -- if Kevin was available to play with them, I was grateful for the alone time. Maybe it's as I spend less time with them during the day that I can enjoy the playtime more. Which makes me a bit sad, somehow.

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