Having my own "play" time and not living through my child

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So I started playing tennis again. And as I played, I couldn’t believe how much it meant to me. Because I was truly having unadulterated fun: a feeling I think I tend to deprive myself of. Oh, and my nine-year-old daughter felt relieved. Here’s the story.

After occasionally playing for the past 25 years and previously playing for my high school team, I finally decided to get back in the game. I signed up for a weekly doubles clinic, and you couldn’t wipe the smile off my face the whole time I played...which must have been super annoying to the other players for an hour and a half. I didn’t care. I felt like I had found my bliss, as they say: living in the moment, enjoying each ping of the racquet, acing my opponent, having fun playing a sport I’ve always loved. Something I’ve missed terribly for years.

My daughter literally said to me, “Mommy, now you have a game of your own to play and you don’t have to just watch me play.” She had understood that when I’d been watching her play her fall soccer, winter basketball, and spring softball games these past few years, I’d wanted to play too.

So what they say is true. The happier the parents, the happier the kids. It’s not selfish to make time for myself; it’s actually healthy for my entire family. It makes me happier to just be with my family after I’ve had my own, individual fun. I think the importance of having moms (and dads) pursuing activities for themselves that make them happy is underrated in society today. Now with so many dual income families, it’s really tough for parents to make time for their own activities. I do feel often it’s the wife that lets the husband go out and have his fun a bit more than vice versa, but regardless, what’s become of us all? We work, we spend time with our kids, and we revolve our lives around our kids’ activities.

But what about us? What about making the time to have fun at our own “play” time. For me, I voluntarily allowed myself to not have enough “play” time, and now I realize how much I’ve been hurting not only myself, but everyone around me as well. Hopefully, I’ll continue to be a happier person overall simply by putting a racquet in my hand at least once a week and playing, improving, and generally having fun.

Soon, I know I’ll feel a need to add another “play” activity to my weekly agenda. But for now, I’m slowly and steadily making the changes I need in my life. As always, more to come.