high five for home

How To Keep Happiness In Your Home Without Playing With Your Kids

i don't play with my kids

If you keep up on my blog, you know that joy is my one word new year focus. And if you know me personally, well you know  I just don’t play a lot as a mom. I am not saying I won’t ever play, I am just saying, I don’t prefer it and I try to avoid it whenever I can. I was a woman with a career, drive, and goals before I became a mom and I am still learning to balance it all through the different seasons of life.

Before you snap judge and think I’m a bad momma, I do spontaneously play.  I build Legos, play Barbie Dream House, ninja train, and get the art stuff out.  I play Connect 4 until I lose, set up baby tea parties, and shop at the living room store. But I don’t do it every day and I don’t stay in play mode long. Because in order for this home to run semi-efficiently and this momma to keep her sanity, I need to use the 24 hour gift in a way that benefits us all. I am fully aware of the quality time children need with parents. But I also believe in the magic that kids create while becoming bored and filling their blank space. And it is so important to model life skills of domestic engineering and time management for our kids.  They don’t stay kids forever. Boo hoo. 

So I’ve learned to make sure my sweet girl feels love and joy even while I am busy being a domestic goddess.


I like to have music playing as much as possible.  It sets a vibe in the home.  I know there are great apps and sites out there I don’t utilize, but I am a creature of habit and my Pandora account is pretty much perfect at this point in my life.  I’ve got a station for every mood and singing out loud  and twirling my girl as she walks by doing her thing deposits a bit of joy and love in both of our hearts.

During the high chair years, I kept V close in the kitchen after school while I cooked and cleaned.  I sang the Beatles to her and clapped and pounded out beats while she smiled and laughed.  I gave her cooking utensils so she could bang her highchair and we brought joy to my post-partum anxiety ridden moments.



I stop and hug Sweet V all the time. I whisper that I love her in her ear while she watches her favorite shows on the IPad.  I scoop her up and we do 100 kisses right in the middle of me making dinner. (100 kisses is where I kiss her cheek 100 times in sets of 10 really quickly) It makes her laugh, fills her love bucket up while I am in make it happen mode, and she feels enough love that she is off doing what she enjoys without clinging during my busy time.  And that brings me joy.


Making snacks together. Baking. Themed dinners. Popcorn movie night.  Cooking for a new momma. Whatever it may be, when  I include V in the happenings of food fun and then share it with her or watch her enjoy it, we’ve got joy in our home.



Sometimes I want to veg and that usually happens while I am parked on my butt scrolling through my phone when I should be working on self-care. (another story)  It is also the same time that a little person wants my attention.  The perfect mom in me gets off my butt to play, but let’s be real here…that is a magical moment when it happens.  I take that opportunity to turn my screen into fun.  We take selfies and make silly videos together. So not only am I interacting with my child in a moment I feel check out of life, I am also recording a bit of her history to cherish in the future.

And when I am in writing mode and stuck to my laptop, I send my sweet (or spicy) girl to the art cupboard for her clipboard, paper, and crayons and encourage her to share her heart to the world on paper right beside me.  She sees me living out my passion, and who knows, maybe she will find a passion of her own in those moments together.

Stopping for a selfie

Her heart holds Ninjago


It’s taken me a little bit whole lot of practice to balance the important work of self-care, mommyhood, and running a home in a non-burdensome way.  And I will be honest that somedays, I am just too drained by life or stinky kid attitudes to make anything happen with a good attitude of my own.  But in those moments I give grace to whoever needs it and usually a quick snuggle session complete with apologies and cereal for dinner is quick to follow.

There are all kinds of parents out there.  If you are not the get on the floor and play type, don’t feel guilty. You can still be joy-filled and present with your family. And if you are playing too much and sacrificing the domestic priorities.  Don’t feel guilty to play less.  You can still be joy-filled and present with your family.

Life is good.  Joy filled families are better.  Keep making your house a love filled home.

High five for home!

These are just a few of my ways to keep the joy without taking time to play every day. Let us know how you add joy and happiness in your home.

About Kendra

Kendra is a full time elementary teacher and mommy to a sweet and sassy 7 year old. She poured her heart and soul into her classroom and earning her graduate degree before becoming a mom and has spent motherhood trying to find a way to balance career and home and appreciate the journey while doing it. She’s a lake loving, ranch on pizza, pop can recycling, map on her hand Michigan girl! This momma never learned how to play euchre, but you can find her making a pretty long list, reading a book, or planning her next adventure in America’s high five! High five for home!

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  1. January 10, 2019 / 5:27 am

    This is a beautiful post! I can relate so well to not being the playing-type mom. And I often feel so guilty about it. But there is always so much to do around the house! I try to do these same types of things with my daughter (almost 3), and you’re right- music always creates a happy vibe in the home- I try to play music a lot too. Great ideas and great post! Thanks for sharing!

    • January 11, 2019 / 3:40 am

      Music. Spontaneous hugs. Smiles. Words of encouragement. It can all go just as a far as the play. Keep up the good work, momma!

  2. January 10, 2019 / 8:17 pm

    I love this article. I have been my sons play thing for years and often times feel guilty when I can’t make time for him. I’ve unconsciously done several of the same things that you do but seeing them out into words is profound. I will keep these words as a focus when I’m trying to avoid being Daddy Plaything from now on.

    Thank you!

    • January 11, 2019 / 3:39 am

      Sometimes when we acknowledge what we actually do, our parent guilt slips away. Hardest job, but biggest reward if we stay the course!

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