Heart Talk: Mom Doesn’t Have to Play

I wanted to write this article for anyone struggling with mom guilt to help you understand that you are not alone and that it is okay NOT TO PLAY. Feeling guilty doesn’t mean you are doing something wrong.

This topic is especially relevant to single moms that often feel a day late, a dollar short and totally out of breath.

First Things First: It’s Okay to Rest Mama

It’s okay to rest. My daughter was pushing me last night to play with her. This was after a long, long day. I woke up at 5. Worked. Made breakfast. Took my daughter to school. Had a conference call and worked some more. I thought about what to make for dinner. I went to an appointment. I went to the gas station. I picked my daughter up from school at the park. We stayed an extra 15 minutes so she could play longer. I went home. I talked to my friend while making dinner.

The kids painted. Jumped on the trampoline and watched a little tv. We had dinner and my parents joined us. My daughter and I cleaned up the kitchen. We took a drive for frozen yogurt only to find out the store closed early that night—the girl that leaned out to tell us this gave my kids push pops so that saved the rest of the evening.

It Sounds Long Already But, My Day Wasn’t Over

We drove back home and when we walked back in the house at 7 pm I said: okay guys, I’m going to rest for an hour before you go to bed. I then gave my kids some ideas of things they could do to occupy their time for the next hour. They seemed fine for 5 minutes and then my daughter began to beg for me to play one thing after the next. I was sitting down trying to decompress and she wanted to play the game ‘Life’ or barbies or paint some more (but with me). I said no, she cried. I felt frustrated. Defeated. Overwhelmed. At the end of the day I come home alone. I pay all the bills alone. I take care of the children alone. I provide the entertainment alone. And sometimes—often—I am very, very tired.

Your Kids Might Not Understand Your Need to Rest…and that is OKAY!

My daughter couldn’t understand why playing just one more game—adding one more activity—was too much. But it was. I needed a little time for myself to just sit and not do anything. My daughter cried more the more I tried to explain this. “All I want is to spend time with you!” The statement and the tears were too much.

I told her she could sit by me and that I was up for cuddle time and as we cuddled I explained this in a tone that was not to be messed with: your mom does everything, I love you but when I say I need time to rest or suggest you find something to play that doesn’t involve me it is not an option, it is not up for discussion, it is not something to cry or argue with me about.

Me resting does not mean I am neglecting you. Me resting is me taking care of me so that I can continue to take care of you.

I went on to explain further: this home that we have is for you. When we are home you have a place to love, explore, wander and dream. Go out to the yard find a special place to play with your babies under a tree. Make special moments. Not every special moment in our home will be with me. Many—probably most of them will—but not all of them. And these moments alone are for you. Be you. See what you like to do. She finally accepted what I was saying. It took some verbal wrestling but she understood.


Do you struggle with mom guilt?

What situations make you feel this way? Share with the Single Mom Spot mamas below and connect with our community of single moms!

Find inspiration and encouragement in knowing that you are not alone on your single mom journey!