I Don’t Play Barbies With My Kid

Boo! Hiss!

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Yea, yea, I’ve heard it before. You can’t go anywhere on the internet without someone writing an article or posting in a forum shaming moms who don’t “entertain their kids.” Like, look, I get it. There are some moms out there that are super duper hands on. They are never on their phone, they wouldn’t think of cursing when angry, they are crafty and ever patient, they are always preparing breakfast, lunch, and dinner, their houses are immaculate (somehow) and they make it their job to play with their kids.

I’m sure these moms exist. I’ve not yet met one, but these moms are moms first and human beings second. And their way of parenting, is ok.

I’ll stand up and say, “I am a human being first.” And my way of parenting, is ok.

I love being a mom, I wouldn’t have worked so damn emotionally hard to conceive and have her if I didn’t want her. I didn’t want to give birth or grow a baby. But I wanted her and I did what needed to be done to have her. I love her to bits, she is my whole world. I wouldn’t trade her for anything or anyone else in this universe.

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But I’m not playing Barbies with my kid.

Plain and simple, I don’t want to. And while I may not do that, I do lots of other things with my kid and at the end of the day, whether I am on my ass on the dirty floor to play Barbies or not, she knows I love her to the moon and back.

To say that parents today don’t value their children or enjoy them like they should is a veiled way of saying that you believe parents today aren’t good parents because they make their kids entertain themselves and do things for themselves.

Newsflash though, there’s no way to win in a society where a majority of people are out there saying “Don’t give out participation ribbons!” and are the same people saying “You are neglecting your child if you don’t spend every waking moment with them.”

Let’s take a step back and actually look at the life of the mom you’re judging. Take in what she goes through on a daily basis and try to actually understand why she does the things she does – before you lay down the assumption that your way is the only way and her way makes her a shitty parent. That’s a lot to lay on a person. Any person. But especially a person who is doing the best they can, with the tools they have and their own life experiences to guide them.

We don’t need anymore of that bullshit as moms. Nobody’s baby came with a user manual. We are all winging this journey. This shaming and judging one another spans generations. It’s not just the “millennial” generation that are always harping on other moms. It doesn’t start there. It starts with older sisters, moms, aunts, mom-in-laws, and friends who have “been there before you” and have just the right remedy for everything your child needs and never mind that this is a new time and an altogether NEW kid that may require different approaches to thrive and feel loved.

To paraphrase my good friend who said: To disagree with what’s best for a kid, is fine – but to assume different values are inherently wrong, is not ok. To have different values of parenting doesn’t make someone a neglectful parent. To have different goals for your children’s future, doesn’t make you a bad parent. 
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So do I play Barbies with my kid? No. I don’t. Because I think she should be able to entertain herself. She should be able to allow herself to be “bored” and then find something to do. She can find things that bring her joy and not something I told her she has to like or play by my preconceived notions and ideas of what she should play. She can use her imagination and create stories of her own concoction, without the influence or drive from one of her parents.
I don’t play Barbies because inevitably she will want to play as soon as I get off work. I struggle to stay at work with constant anxiety and tenseness for 8 hours. When I get off work, I’m tired. Yea, I only work at a call center and I work in my basement, that doesn’t count? Well, tell my anxiety that. Because I’m still exhausted when I work a full shift at work.
I don’t want to get down on the floor and brush a Barbie’s hair for 3.79 minutes to have to haul myself back up when she’s finished before I even sit down. Which in turn will just make me more anxious and irritated with my kid for forcing me to do it in the first place when I am tired and anxious. It’s not fun for anyone.
To those who think I shouldn’t have had a child if I wasn’t “interested” in playing with her, I send you to a list of things that might happen if you are a mom or parent living with depression and anxiety. To those who say I shouldn’t have had a kid if I was just going to be anxious and depressed, I should have known better. Those people, can go screw themselves. Mental illness is a real thing and it’s something that many people struggle with. It should not and does not define the caliber of parent I am or can be.
So I’m not gonna play with Barbie. You know what I will do? What I will do is encourage her to use her imagination and creativity by suggesting things she and Barbie can do together. This child f mine has FIVE imaginary kids that she plays with on the regular. Since before she could actually play, she was following some imaginary people around. They play hide and seek, tag, and sometimes even musical chairs.
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Imagine 5 invisible children with her as they wonder at the lights on the tree.

You could say that’s because she’s lonely and she doesn’t have anyone there to entertain her. I say, she has an exceptional imagination and she’s a joy to watch as the creativity of the stories she tells of their adventures spin around in her eyes as she tells them. It brings her joy to tell those stories and while I may not play Barbies or participate in the actual adventure, I do set aside whatever I am doing to listen to those stories, to give commentary and reactions. Because at the end of the day, my attention to her creativity and her imagination and what is important to HER is what I am hoping to foster in my relationship with her.
So does my daughter WANT me to play Barbies with her? Of course she does. And I’m not going to sit here and say that I don’t feel bad sometimes when I’m on my computer or watching a tv show instead. Because I do. I feel that guilt every time I do something for myself.
However, realistically moms are human beings. They are people and they need attention, me-time, downtime, kid free time. That’s not wrong or bad.  The point here is, I may not play Barbies with my kiddo or cater to her every need or want at that exact moment, but that’s not a bad thing. I may take time for myself, I may send her to play with those toys so I can have a moment to myself. This is not a bad thing.
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When moms sacrifice everything they have, including their identity, their hobbies, their own self care needs, it causes poor parenting. It causes resentment and regret, guilt and depression. None of these would be a good model of parenting for anyone. Let’s just be real. These things are a real fact of parenting, and it’s not something we like to acknowledge or take ownership for.
Society and earlier generations say you have to be perfect, you have to be attentive and at the beck and call of your child. Being a mom is now your identity. You are no longer a person, an employee, a wife, a sister, an aunt. You are a MOM. You have no aspirations for your life or your family, and it’s selfish if you think you should or can have such notions.
I want my daughter to see what an independant woman looks like. I want her to feel what being empowered to make her own choices and decisions feels like. And come to terms with the consequences or rewards for those actions. I want to foster a sense of wonder and curiosity and that’s not done by playing or doing for her. It just doesn’t.
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My daughter is incredibly impatient. She wants things done, her way, right now. That’s not how the real world works. Does it help her to stop whatever I am doing to do exactly what she wants in that moment? Or is it better to allow her to make choices on her own. Or to control herself and be patient. Isn’t it more realistic to teach her that she can’t have everything she wants and that sometimes Mommy is busy? People are busy.
I let her do all sorts of things. I let her make her own sandwich because she actually eats it when she makes it and I’m right there watching her do it, no sharp objects are involved. Making up a game to entertain herself is just the same. She will learn what she likes to do and what she doesn’t like to do and she gets to decide that, it’s all up to her.As well as knowing that she’s capable of doing things for herself.
It’s about problem solving, critical thinking, curiosity and independence. None of these things are inherent in our DNA, and none of these things are bad. While some people think the problem with the world’s kids today is that they are being coddled to or fawned over all the time. That is likely a true statement. Its an unpopular belief among parents out in the wild to actually discuss and talk about the hard shit that you go through. If it isn’t roses and rainbows 24/7, you must be doing something wrong. But we shouldn’t coddle our kids or they become assholes.
Which way do you want it?
Reality check, people, moms need time and attention too. Period. It’s time we embrace the fact that our little people are in fact, just that, people. They have their own wants, needs, and personalities. They learn from us self-control, patience, kindness, and above all being a decent human being – so that 20 years from now you aren’t bailing them out of jail because they didn’t get their way, or someone didn’t do what they wanted or play with them the right away, and they resolved it by punching some dude in the face.
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So before you tell me to be a role model to my child, think about the perspective I’m attempting to give my child and the kind of life I want to provide for her, before you just assume that I’m a lazy, no good, neglectful mom. Perhaps I’m already the role model I want to be and the one my child (not yours) needs to have.
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KinderPerfect: A Timeout for Parents

This is a posted review semi-sponsored by Kinder-Perfect. I did not purchase the game and am not being paid to write this review, but Kinder-Perfect did send me the game free of charge to play and review. This is that review.

If you have kids, you know that it’s challenging a majority of the time. Little children are tiny humans with their own personalities, thoughts, feelings, and views of the world. Trying to mesh that with the lessons that we, as parents, are trying to teach them – can be difficult.

Kinder-Perfect is described as the “Cards Against Humanity” for parents. Overall it fits the bill. As a general first impression, online, the game looks just like Cards Against Humanity. From the set up to game play, to the card format and the premise of being a bit PG or R rated in content – it delivers as being a parenting version of the original “Cards Against Humanity” game.

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As you can tell, I put this game through the tests. I played multiple times, with different groups of people to make sure that I got a good sense of the game as well as the reactions from some of the people I shared the game with.

At first glance, the game is professionally put together, the cards stand the test of time and play. They are durable and glossy, very pretty. The box packaging is a bit tattered, I believe I played this game approximately 6-10 times. I’d suggest a more sturdy box or packaging for longer time use.

With that said, I am not sure if I was only mailed a part of the game (to review) or the game as a whole. I’m reviewing it as such that I received the whole game; so for that reason, I think it may need to be something other than cardboard.

The gameplay is simple and easy to follow. I do like the format, mirroring that of “Cards Against Humanity” there are two sets of cards; red and white.

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The red cards the “reader” will read out loud and the white cards are the “response cards.” Each player then gives the “reader” a white card from their hand and whichever white card is the best pair to the original card wins. Easy peasy Lemon Squeezy, as my four year old has been prone to say lately.

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This gameplay is about 15-20 minutes. If you are a mom on the go and want to play a little pickup game at a playdate and get back to your kids, that length of gameplay is for you! However, the amount of time I had to play this game was more set by moms night out or a night to play cards with my sisters and grandma after dinner. Which meant that it became very repetitive and boring after shuffling the cards up and starting again.

The most prevalent comment I got, and one that I agree with, was that we didn’t have enough red cards. As you can see from the pictures, there is a bit of an imbalance in the ratio of red:white cards 10%/90% which is a bit too lopsided.

We went through the red deck approximately three times at each gameplay and the red cards were repeated and predicted; as we were playing the same ones on repeat. The premise, I’m sure, is that there are enough variety in the white cards to make each red card brand new the next time you play. Unfortunately, at all gameplays I attended, this was not the case. The call for more red cards was mentioned frequently, the largest criticism of the game as a whole.

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The snark and the sass in this game is well done. I did have a few people suggest that the red cards be more like Apples to Apples, using adjectives, instead of scenarios and questions. Which I found to be a compelling suggestion.

I’ve actually asked a mommy friend or a mom forum if “insert here” was a healthy meal. In my case you can put Lucky Charms in a plastic bag, bread crusts from my child’s lunch sandwich, or ice cream sandwiches for breakfast and hit my parenting style and something that has come out of my mouth. So it resonates in it’s humor and reflection of the mentality of today’s mom is on point!

Now, I am not going to attempt to speak for all moms and all parenting styles; but if you are a snarky, sassy, independent, hot mess mom; like me? This game is for you. I don’t really know what goes on behind closed doors of the sanctimommies out there, so I can’t say that my perception of their tastes is correct. But I’d think if you get squeamish by a crude word or you spend three hours on breakfast every morning, this may not be for you.

I will say that I played with moms like me. I don’t know any sanctimommies and all the moms I played with are of the same mind in most ways as myself, so the view may be a bit skewed. I personally wouldn’t set it as a game for a mom with strict rules and judgemental parenting lenses or is offended by screen time for kids.

With that said! I did play with my grandma. Now, I won’t take credit for it, because I was NOT going to ask her to play this game. I was going to suggest Apples to Apples, because that game is a bit more grandma-friendly without the curse words and the snark. My wife thought it would be fine. She asked my grandma to play and she was game. At first, I was sure that this was going to be a disaster and I was nervous as hell. My grandma is a tough cookie and she’s also a woman of upstanding character and while I’ve heard her say “shit,” but I don’t think I was prepared to talk about my code word for sex with my grandma.

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We had a blast! Now, it was a awkward to say Fuck in my grandma’s presence. But my sister had it worse, when she had to pick my grandma’s white card “a broken condom” when she read “How we got your baby brother.” It was hilarious.

So the game is definitely for all kinds of people, and if you aren’t riddled with anxiety or control issues, you can extend the invitation to play with those mommies I warned against. Ya know, I wouldn’t have played with my grandma, if my wife hadn’t pushed it – and we had a great time!

So who knows, maybe those judgy moms aren’t so different behind closed doors. Dunno! I’m curious, sure, but I’m not peeking inside the door.

Overall, the game is good. I enjoyed playing it, it is a game I’d play with people who haven’t played before and are of like mind as me. Which means, it’s not a game that I would play over and over with the same people, because the variety just isn’t there. As it is a shorter game and repetitive after a few full games, it’s not a game that I would have purchased for myself; but I’d enjoy playing if someone brought it to a party.

If you wanna purchase or check it out, you can go their website: Kinder-Perfect. If you just wanna try it out, it appears they will allow you to sign up for their newsletter and get a free PDF printable version. I highly recommend that option, it’s a great way to try it before you buy it! Good job on their part, we all know how hot mess moms like free things!