Work Before Play…Doesn’t Always Work With Kids

Work Before Play

Work Before PlayI’ve always been a “work before play” kinda gal.

No procrastination for me. I hate having deadlines looming over my head; I feel like I can’t truly relax when I know a pile of work still awaits me.

I was the 8th grader who did her homework right after school, because why wait? I was the college student who rushed to finish my paper the Saturday afternoon before the party…not the Sunday afternoon after.

In general the “work before play” philosophy has served me well—I’ve always stayed on top of my workload, never missed a serious deadline.

That is, until my little boy came along.

You see, he doesn’t care that I didn’t finish writing my article, he’s awake from his nap now and demands my undivided attention.

To him it doesn’t matter that the dryer just beeped and that if we don’t fold the clothes now our outfits will be wrinkled for weeks. Wrinkles, shminkles, it’s time to PLAY!

Of course I need to teach my son that sometimes an important task or chore must come before Mega Bloks and coloring books.

But he’s also teaching me that sometimes play should come before work—that it’s critical I be present for my child even if there’s a deadline looming over my head. Tweet this!

There will always be more time for work and chores, not so with a little one.

Are you a “work before play” kind of person? How has having children affected that? 

28 responses to “Work Before Play…Doesn’t Always Work With Kids”

  1. Each moment and day is different for us. With Scott and I working from home, sometimes it’s easy to work first thing in the morning.

    Other days, he worked til the wee hours and needs more sleep.

    Some days Susanna lets me do laundry and work while playing independently. Others she or I need to be together fully.

    It’s just a matter of acceptance and faith, knowing everything will get done and staying true to what’s needed in the moment.

    • Very true! For me it’s a matter of accepting that if work or chores don’t get finished until later (or, let’s be honest, not at all!) that is really OK!

  2. This is such a struggle for me. I’ve certainly never been one to obsess over having a perfectly immaculate home, but too much clutter really sets me on edge. I am trying to be better able making it a family activity, rather than continually saying “just a minute, just a minute” while I clean and I start yet another show on Netflix.

  3. I have never been a work first person. I’ve always been a work at the last possible minute person. The problem is that it’s always worked out for me, so I’ve never had to learn another way. Believe me, it made getting my Masters that much harder! I love the message here though, we’ve got to enjoy our little ones while they are still little. And while they still want to play with us!

  4. Cassidy is a big work before play guy. He loves to do housework on Saturdays, instead of Sundays. (on Sundays, we rest). He will cook a fabulous meal and won’t sit down to eat it until the dishes are done! I’m not like that. I’m probably half and half, depending on what it is. I’ve done some of my best work at the last minute but I like to live without that kind of stress.

  5. So true! My to-do list often looms over my head too but I’ve had to learn, too, to enjoy this moments because they pass so quickly. I can’t believe how fast my boys have grown already.

  6. Me personally…almost all work and no play which I am trying to change. My kids are different. I let them have a half hour or so before they start homework. For my son, as long as he is self regulating, I let him take breaks when he feels like it. Although, he has been doing his homework on the bus ride home lately.

  7. I was a work first person and have remained pretty much that way during the time I was raising my five children. But, when I added homeschooling to the mix, I quickly realized that playing with my youngest two children at the beginning of the school day was a smart move.

    They weren’t constantly looking for my attention while I was working with their older brother and sister because they had their “cup” filled first.

  8. I’m absolutely a work before play kind of person. In a way it’s tough because I can’t just relax. There’s always something to do. Being a parent actually forces me to relax because I’m just too tired to do anything productive!

    What I need to focus on is being in the present. I have a list of things I need to remember to do and even though I’m playing ball with my kids I have my mind on other things. *Sigh*

    That’s so great you’re able to relax now with your toddler, Katie. Play is definitely very good!

  9. I definitely am a work before play kind of gal. I try to relax a bit when I can. Now I am trying to instill that in my kids, which is a challenge!

  10. First, love the header. We can’t do everything. True.
    I totally see myself when reading about how you like to do things – work before play. But like you said, the little one doesn’t care. He’s my work now ;). Luckily, he’s older now and I can get some work done while spending time with him, though I should pay more attention to him since he has a new little sister now and I’m sure he feels jaded at times.

  11. Oh, I’m totally with you on this one. Like you, I was the student who dutifully completed her homework without prompting and made sure any projects or papers were in the bag long before the due date. However, there is value in living a little once in a while! Your son has the right idea!

  12. Kids have definitely helped me prioritize in life. I actually do my best work right at deadline, which can be good and bad. I tend to get stressed, but I’m getting better at forgiving myself for not getting it all done.

  13. Hmm … I’m a fence-sitter on this one. It really depends on the week and my mood! Sometimes I can be uber productive and one-minded about ticking off everything on my to-do list, other times I’m off to the beach with a hundred deadlines looming. Sometimes I wish I was more one way or the other so I could anticipate my weeks a little better! 🙂

  14. Oh, I used to be just like you! At first, it made me go insane that something was left undone. Now, I’m used to it, but it still bugs me a little.

  15. I know what you mean Katie! Kids can teach us so many great lessons! I am the same as you “work before play” but I am learning and loving it!

  16. I would have been sitting right there with ya after school and on those Saturday afternoons during college. I’m the exact same way and it has been such a struggle, since kids, to accept that life just doesn’t work that way anymore! It’s gotta be more work-play-play-work-work-play all mashed into one big day! It’s working now, sort of, but oh the transition.

    • Yep, it all kind of blends together in a way I never would have imagined! It’s a blessing and a curse at the same time!

  17. I’ve come to accept over the years that there is no point trying to do something that I want to do when the kids are around. But they are better now they are older and in the school holidays we have an understanding that just because they are off school, doesn’t mean that I can stop working. I get less done than I normally would but it’s better than nothing.

  18. My kids love play anytime! They are good sports, though; they help me get the chores done so that then we don’t have to interrupt play time. Of course, they’re 3 &1, so chores still take a little bit.

  19. Ah! I am very much a work before play kind of person. And I equally find that thrown up against the reality of life with young kids where it’s impossible to get work done when someone needs chocolate milk and the other wants a cookie; and can we do painting? Oh no, my milk spilt! I need to change my dress. NOW! It’s wet. Can I dry it instead with the hairdryer? I need more milk etc…. It’s better just to be present in the moment with the kids and find the odd quiet moment for the chores at another time. My schedule no longer works on my schedule. That’s an adjustment… but I’m working it out 😉

  20. This is a tough one for me because I work from home and have deadlines. But, I’ve found that I can tell now when I REALLY need to put things aside and just spend a minute playing. Thanks for linking up! 🙂 Off to tweet this out for you.

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