Known for riding her son’s scooter and winning water gun fights, Meredith is the parent’s pick for play reviews, finding products that parent’s love and kids don’t put down. Answering the prayers of parent’s everywhere, Meredith’s must-read blogs from “Toys That Travel Well” to “Playtime For Moms” are reviews that provide parents with the real rundown.
For most of us with offspring, summer break is in full swing. The kids are entrenched in their camps and classes, we've made our pale-skinned maiden voyage to the community pool, and the slip n' slide has been unraveled, and christened, and possibly already patched or replaced.
I honestly adore the less-structured, no homework ease of summer days. But being a ''work-at-home" mom, I have found myself in a wicked battle between productivity and playfulness. Do I join the water balloon launching contest in the backyard, or return those 10 overdue emails? Do I head to the pool with the dudes, or finish my latest post (on play, nonetheless). Do I flip over and fold the laundry or succumb to Truman's pathetic pleas for me to play 'King of the Court" for the 34th time today?
I've only spent two weeks as Julie the Cruise Director and I'm juggling and balancing and "productively procrastinating" the very best I can. The truth is, life isn't all fun and games and trampolines and dance parties. There is work to be done, people. Even when all I really want to do is PLAY. After much kvetching and late night meditation over glasses of Prosecco, I've decided that as long as I carve out a nugget of time each day to drop everything and succumb to my silly self, it's all good. Right? But being a bit more playful in one's every day can't be a big production all the time either. Or I just won't even bother. I mean who has time to PLAN out their play all the time? Not me. So I've started a list of a few simple and cheap ways to inject a healthy dose of "Vitamin P" into my life.
I've made sure all of them are cheap or free, easy to accomplish, and not the usual "have a dance party in the kitchen" playful fare.
1. Wash your own SUV... with the help of your
This past weekend Jon and I were telling the kids how when we were youngsters, we used to help our parents wash their cars. In the driveway, or the back alley, or in the big open field next to the house (we come from rural roots). As we described the use of big sudsy sponges, scrub brushes, over-flowing plastic buckets, and garden hoses, I realized we are cheating our kids out of some serious classic fun by taking our cars to the carwash all the time. A little 1978 retro car washin' fun is now on the agenda. It didn't look anything like what's pictured below. It usually ended in a fight and someone getting grounded or soap in their eyes. But let's pretend it'll look like this.
2. Pop in some double braids. I don't know what it is about sporting braids down the side of my head, but every time I pop em' in, I feel 13 years old with a burning desire to pedal my banana seat bike down to the Skat gas station to buy Cherokee Red soda and a Marathon candy bar. (Small town Western PA in the late 70's had its perks).
3. Buy and WEAR a funky fresh fedora. Baseball caps are okay for covering up bed head or pool hair, but the summer fedora is WAY more fun and playful of a lid. Sometimes I even wear mine in the house...just for kicks. I just bought this one today. It was like 6ish dollars at Forever 21. And it makes me feel all badass.
4. Create a Spotify or Pandora playlist based on the song "Jesse's Girl" by Rick Springfield or "Tainted Love" by Soft Cell. You will be delivered via/ Delorean back into the innocence and feathered hair bliss that is the 80's. And due to your body/mind recall, You will be forced to dance like you did in Jr, High. And your kids might cry.
5. Test drive a convertible. I am longing for a bright yellow mini cooper convertible. The peeps closest to me are well aware of this burning desire, and while I am SURE I will one day own a soft-top something, for now I will rely on the beauty of the test drive. They are free, They are fun, and as long as you vary up the dealerships you visit, the sales guys are non the wiser.
6. create a SocialCam account and become the next social media Spielberg. I just started playing with Social Cam and I must say it's ridiculously good. If video intimidates you in any way, the SocialCam app is your new digi-vid BFF. It's fun and silly and well, PLAY-full.
7. Get all dolled-up for dinner...at home...on a Wednesday. Watch what happens when you take a beat about an hour before dinner to clean up, put on some cute threads, slap on a little lipstick, spiral curl your hair and light a few candles on the table. Unexpected, frisky, playful. Boom! (No need for whips and chains to stoke the marital fires, Miss 50 Shades of Whatever).
8. Take a field trip the local dog park or beach...with or w/o a dog. Watching pooches play is an instant injection of Vitamin P. And unlike going to watch and play with children at a playground when you don't even have kids, watching and playing with dogs that aren't yours won't land you on the creeper list.
9. Post a spontaneous "meet me in half an hour" post on FB, and see who shows up. I did this the day before my birthday this month and it was totally fun to see who met me for a glass of bubbly on a moment's notice. This spontaneous social media play date will surprise you in the best of ways.
10. Take a little nap. Seriously. It is absolutely impossible to be playful in any way when you're exhausted. 20 minutes in a horizontal position can change everything. Have your kids lay down on their beds with a book, or toy, or both and give everyone a little down time. Naps are not just for infants and toddlers. Your tween and teens can use one now and again too.
Anyone have another way to keep our days as super mothers of the world a little more playful and a wee bit less NUT-zo? If so, SHARE away!