I feel like I need to begin this post with a huge disclaimer. I love my children. I love being with them. I think they are awesome.
But, I am 35 years old. My kids are one and three. My idea of fun, and their idea of fun, are two very different things.
This clash of tastes means that I often find myself looking at the clock during a trip to the park, or hazarding a glance at my smartphone while playing dolls at home.
It’s not that being with them isn’t lovely, it’s just so damn dull.
This week I spent an hour helping my eldest to “call” the birds to a new bird box in our back garden. This involved saying “tweet tweet” and speculating whether waving our arms in a particular way would tempt the birds to arrive.
This is not how I would choose to spend a spare hour in the afternoon. Work, looking for work, getting my hair done, having a liquid lunch, watching last year’s Love Island on ITV player. These are my ideas for how I would prefer to spend my time in the afternoon.
Playing with the girls is the classic double edged sword. I gave up work to spend more time with them, because, you know, the early years are so precious and all that. However spending time with them can be so repetitive.
The trouble is that everything is geared up around them, because any attempt to do something that I would like to do results in tears, tantrums and, ultimately, failure.
A trip to the shops has to be an get-in get-out kind of affair. I need to know exactly what I want ahead of time and be prepared with snacks to fling at the little fun thieves in case they decide to kick off within seconds of entering the building.
Dining out involves putting out fires left, right and centre, with the potential for glasses, plates and food to go flying while under the judgemental eye of childless diners who mutter “should be seen and not heard” under their breath.
I will admit that on occasion I have enjoyed building stuff out of Lego with them. But kids just never do it right, do they?
I’m there trying to build the zoo enclosures in matching bricks with flowers scattered tastefully around and the odd tree, while my kids are forever ripping things down and deciding to hit each other with Lego swords instead.
Hide-and-seek is fun for about 10 minutes, but there’s only so many times I can pretend to be surprised that my daughter is hiding behind the door.
I prefer afternoon tea when it involves actual tea and cake, not pretending to chew on air.
Reading books is a noble activity, but if I have to read Spot Bakes a Cake one more time I might have to whack myself on the head repeatedly with my daughter’s fairy wand.
So there is a part of me that is looking forward to the day my children can entertain themselves and don’t need me to watch them do a headstand for the 53rd time in a row.
I feel no shame in admitting my boredom with playing with two toddlers all day, every day. I am more than just a mum after all. I’m a journalist, I’m a wife, I’m a friend, I’m a grown-up.
Because of this, me and my kids don’t have that much in common, apart from pizza and chips.
Of course there is a lot more soft play, playgrounds, dressing up, Lego and teddy bears’ picnics in my future. I just hope I get to intersperse it with a bit more grown-up playtime – preferably with actual cake, though I’ll switch the tea for a glass of wine.