I never in all my life remember my mom playing with me. That is not a sad statement by the way.
My mom did not work outside of the home until I was in fourth grade. I was the youngest in the family, so she had been home quite some time. I remember feeling very neglected when she went back to work. I was just like my friend Carrie who had a house key and went home to an empty house every day. Well, that is what I liked to imagine when I was feeling sorry for myself, anyway! The truth was, my dad worked shift work and was home a lot. My big sister got home from junior high 30 minutes after I got home, and my mom could take off anytime she needed to when we were sick or even to pick us up from school if it was raining. I was hardly on my own. I didn't even get a house key out of the deal.
But when my mom was a homemaker, I never remember her playing with us. If she was sewing, we wandered in and started bothering her. She gave us her button box and an empty egg carton and we sorted buttons happily at the table beside her. If she was folding laundry, we put on a record and danced around the living room while she folded clothes. If she was sorting laundry, we wandered into the bathroom and helped. In between these things, we went to our own rooms and played. She stopped to help us dress the Barbie dolls, came and admired the block town we had built, and listened to us read while she sewed. She was always busy, and I never felt neglected. Today, I feel guilty that I don't play with my kids. Why? I read all the time about how we need to just let the housework go so we can spend quality time with our kids. About how we need to make time to play with them.
Now let me back up a minute and say that when my girls were babies of course I played with them. When they were big enough to sit up on the quilt, I stacked blocks with them, made up funny games, tickled them...we had a blast! When they get old enough to use their own imagination...that tapers off. I tried to continue playing with Sweetheart when she was 5 and got her dollhouse. She told me what to say, how to move the dolls, rejected every idea my doll came up with and just basically bossed me around. I was like, "I think you got this. I'll be over here if you need me." The truth is, they don't need me to play with them that much anymore.
Now I'm not saying I never play with them either. We go swimming and play in the pool. We play board games, work puzzles, and color together. We shoot hoops. There are activities we get involved in with each other. I'm just saying I don't go into the playroom and try to enter their pretend world. I don't fit so good in that play kitchen anyway.
I don't know why people say we NEED to play with our kids. My kids are really good at playing without me.
The truth is, I am a homemaker. Of course training and raising my children is more important than the dishes being clean. But I'm not convinced these two activities are two separate things. I think working alongside each other is important. They are learning to be wives, mommies, homemakers, etc. all from example (shudder). I don't have my back turned to them telling them to go away all day. They are (almost) always welcome to join me. They wander in, help me cook a while, and then wander off to play again. They are not neglected. Plus, homeschooling give them LOTS of my attention.
And by the way, I never remember my mom's bedroom being covered over in clothes. She always kept up with the laundry. Hmmm.