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Play is a process: let the children play

Being obsessed with “packing away”, in a fervent attempt at keeping my home and life clutter free, has been my nature for as long as I can recall. This nature has been challenged: mom of three. The Mari Kondo method has helped me in embracing my organizational skills and I love her life changing method as the artist of cleaning.

But I’m finally coming to the place in my life where I am questioning; what is it that I am teaching my kids?

Play is a process; Life is a process. We are not always cleaned up and clutter free. Clearing the counters to find myself shoving all the excess into drawers and cupboards, categorizing kitchen items, play items, stationery items…… the order brings me to a place of peace and rest. All the glasses lined up perfectly, dust free, in my kitchen, give me a sense of peace…. Or is it control? Hard to differentiate right now, right?

This morning as I rampaged through the house in an attempt to clean up before getting my real day started, I noticed little havens and smalls sanctuaries of games in progress. The seeds collected in the garden: resting on Asher’s windowsill, and the old tiny pink dressing table with mirrors, lined up neatly at her other window. Random and special, I had a feeling the fairies had come to visit her in yesterday’s game. The bandaged teddy bears leg, strewn across her bed, probably visited the hospital yesterday for a broken paw. And all the little jewellery boxes had been left open. What had she been exploring and imagining in there, or had she simply stood and watched her ballerina pop up and spin, mesmerized by the music we all know. The games are in progress, in process, unfolding. I felt like I couldn’t clean up this time, Monster Pack Away destroying yet another magical journey of play. I decided to leave her trinkets set where they were, and in the magic of play, I know the game will continue this afternoon.

Play is a process that unfolds in a child’s world. Games can go on for hours, and sometimes days. Uninterrupted, the game deepens, and the plot thickens, as the child gets more drawn into it, not as a means of escape, but as a means of playing out their most subconscious thoughts, deepest desires, and greatest worries.

Who am I , Monster Pack Away, to destroy this process of play? Let the children play………

This week my home is a playground and my child’s game a place for them to process and progress in life. My OCD nature needs to come to rest as I let go and let the clutter be. What as I see as clutter and mess, Asher sees as her work. It’s her world, a play experience, that she has worked to build and unfold. 

As a child, her work is play. And every great effort she expresses into her play, has been aimed to create and build the magical experience only a rich imagination can bring. Who am I to amputate this process? Monster Pack Away needs to stay hidden in the cupboard this weekend. As I let my children play… 

By Jennifer Maud

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