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Go Ask Mom

Go Ask Mom

Amanda Lamb: No time to play

Posted June 13, 2010 9:53 p.m. EDT

"I haven't seen you play with your new horse barn yet," I say motioning to the little wooden barn on my daughter's bedroom floor next to her bed. It was a seventh birthday present. "Don't you like it?"

She rolls her eyes and slaps her forehead with both of her palms in a forceful motion that causes her to fall back into her pillow. She is curled up in a ball now talking through her arms.

"When would I do that?" She says with the sarcastic lilt of a teenager. "I have no time. I have to brush my teeth, brush my hair, get dressed, do my homework, practice piano, go to dance,"

I put my arm around her and pull her into my chest for a hug while stifling a laugh. When did being seven become so hard? Maybe it is the frenetic pace the world is moving at, that we are all moving at, that creates this sense of urgency and anxiety among our children. My older daughter seems to thrive on a packed schedule with specific and immediate deadlines.

"Carpool is coming in thirty-two minutes," I say to her as I tug her limp foot from beneath the purple comforter. Once this registers, she is up and moving. I can see her calculating the time in her head-what she will need to dress, do her hair, eat breakfast, brush her teeth, and pack her book bag.

My younger daughter, on the other hand, becomes more stressed out with every mention of the time and her need for speed. She seems overwhelmed when I ask her to do more than one thing at a time, and often rewards my angst by slowing down instead of speeding up.

I am realizing that she is a very different child from her sister. Not only do I need to be more patient with her need for more time, but I need to offer her more of my time in return. When she asks me to do something, I am often too rushed to comply. Her sister will follow me from room to room as I pick up shoes, jackets, and books, and has no issue about talking to me on the run. But my little one wants my undivided attention.

"Mommy, will you play a game with me," she says hopefully, not really expecting me to say 'yes.'

"Sure," I say,dropping to the floor where she has set up the checker board surprising myself with my own answer. I have a million things on my mind, a million things to do, but even mommies need to make time for play.

Amanda is the mom of two, a reporter for WRAL-TV and the author of several books on motherhood called "Smotherhood." Find her here every Monday.