I've learned something since becoming a parent - I'm no good at playing. This revelation has also explained another conundrum that has bothered me for years: why it is that some women just can't seem to sit still and are forever looking round for something to be doing.
This week's #WASO theme is 'play', and it's something that consumes a lot of our time at home. But here's the thing - I'm terrible at just sitting and playing. Within seconds of sitting down to play with the boys, my head is suddenly filled with a hundred and one little niggling things that I really need to do right now!!
Is this what is going on with many of the middle-aged women I know? Are they still responding to a long-established need to be doing something . . . anything . . . else? Or perhaps they are trying to silence the siren call of the many, many little jobs that seem to need doing at any given moment, even if those jobs have long since been completed?
I know I've developed the twitches already. Only the other day, a friend came round for coffee and I couldn't stop myself fluttering around the house, moving laundry about, tidying toys, twitching cushions and throws. It took a huge effort of will to make myself actually sit down and talk to her, even though I was incredibly glad that she'd come, and looking forward to our chat.
When OB says "Sit down Mummy! Carpet Mummy!", as he does at least 20 times a day, I immediately begin thinking of the washing up. And believe me, I'm not a tidy, houseproud woman! But the truth is that just as the boys have had to be taught how to play, so have I.
I know, I know how important play is in these children's social, emotional and intellectual development. I really do know. So I sit down on the carpet and try to join in with the endless rearrangement of toy food onto various plates, fake-drinking a million cups of "Mummy toffee" (is it possible that I drink too much coffee?!), and nom nomming my way through the plastic pizza. Yum.
Meanwhile I'm fighting the sound of the laundry screaming at me from the kitchen. Sometimes I even have to resist the urge to tidy up the toys while the boys are playing with them! And yet, once the boys are napping, or have gone to bed for the night, do you think I spend my free time cleaning and tidying? Not much!
It's even worse when I've put some thought into it and actually prepared some fun activities that we can do together. Toddlers never seem to want to do it the way you planned it! We're usually about 10 seconds in when I start feeling frustrated because they aren't doing it right. What a nerd I must have been as a child!
There's been a poem going around on the internet about how the cleaning and tidying can take care of itself while our little ones are little because they won't be so desperate for our company for long! Well, I've tried it and believe me, the cleaning and tidying doesn't take care of itself, but the other part is true. I know a day will come when I would give anything to sit down on the floor with OB and chomp my way through another slice of plastic toast. Perhaps then I'll have to console myself with tidying away people's coffee cups a bare nanosecond after they've taken their last sip.
In the meantime, I make yet another resolution to go with the flow - to find the fun in megabricks, plastic food and rebuilding the train track 50 times, and to embrace the results when their imagination, curiosity and creativity makes mincemeat of the fun I had planned!