The Importance of Playtime

All Work And No Play Makes Mummy Unhappy

Fifteen years ago I stopped playing and started the serious part of life. I went to college, graduated, got a job, a husband, a child a mortgage and became a responsible adult. From the time I was 18 until I was 32 I stopped playing. My motto became say yes to work and no to fun. You have a boring, mind numbing task of a job – I’m your girl!

I saw my role in the world as a supporter – a cheerleader. I encouraged my husband to get his PhD, play flag football, volunteer on the Basketball committee and homeowners association, work full time and ride his motorcycle. I encouraged my child to make friends, do his homework (yes his preschool gives homework), and learn the basics of life as a human.

I felt success could only be achieved if I was working full time, cooking breakfast and dinner, helping with volunteer projects, paying the bills, doing the yard work and reading a story at night before bedtime. You know – being the responsible one so others could accomplish their goals and have fun. It was official; I was an adult (a really stressed, miserable and boring adult) but an adult none the less.

Well last year that all changed. With a marriage headed for disaster, a child who was being managed (not raised and enjoyed) and a job that offered few challenges – I started to play. I joined the girl’s flag football league. For 2 hours three times a week I forgot about work, my problems and being an adult. I simply played football with all the energy and spirit of my long contained 12 year old self. I fell down, dropped the ball, got massive cringe-worthy bruises, caught the ball and almost scored a touchdown.

I went to every practice. I had fun. I found friends. I lost weight. I felt like I was a part of something bigger than myself – I felt like I belonged. So what did I do? I felt the desire to create again – I started playing more.

I started sewing and made a dress. It turned out pretty good. I started baking again and am opening my own cake company. I’m even going back to school to get my MBA. Playing may not fix a marriage, but it can make the problems seem less ginormous. Playing may not raise a child but it will teach him that even at 4 it is good to keep playing – even as an adult.

You don’t have to be serious to be successful and responsible. The question I’m still asking is why did I waste so many years being serious? But the most important thing I discovered was the me I used to be – before I became a serious adult.

My next project? Start making cabinets for our living room. I have the tools – why not play with them?

Erin Marshall is a mama to four year old Kayden and a wife of 8 years. With more than 15 years of serious life behind her, she is breaking out. She doesn’t mind failing but only after all other options have been exhausted. As a graphic designer and artist she looks at the world from a different perspective – instead of poking holes in ideas she asks “how can we make this work?” She loves to start projects and try new things. Her favourite past time activities include going to the hardware store to look at all the tools and dream of new projects to try. During her free time she can be found on the football field, baking a cake or reading a book, making up words or playing with her son.