Guest Post: Amber from Airing My Dirty Laundry, on Should I Play or Should I Go?

photo credit: Kalexanderson via photopin cc
photo credit: Kalexanderson via photopin cc

Amber Myers is honest.

On her blog, Airing My Dirty Laundry – One Load at a Time, she tells of the struggles of shopping responsibly in Target. She tells stories of a feisty, princess-obsessed daughter and a son with ADHD and Aspergers. With every post, she gets bolder. More honest.

In a comment, she admitted to telling her thirsty and whining kids to swallow their spit.

Hardcore, I tell you. But she’s also a tuned-in mom in a military family who would do anything for her kids. And she’s a published author. Just don’t piss her off with loud cellphone talk or reclining your airplane seat into her life.

Amber is also a work in progress.

She wants to be a better mom. I think she’s pretty remarkable as is. Today on the CD, she writes about a struggle many of us face in this time-crunched age – should we play or should we go? Bloggers have so much to do. But, their kids want time, too.

Please welcome Amber today, and take a spin at her fresh new blog domain. Just remember to keep your seat in an upright position. And bring chocolate. And bacon.

photo credit: RomitaGirl67 via photopin cc
photo credit: RomitaGirl67 via photopin cc

Natalie, my seven year old daughter, always wants me to play with her.

Lately it’s been Barbies.

And I wouldn’t mind playing Barbies but she shoves a doll in my hand all the time. Then if I’m trying to create my own Barbie dialogue she’s like, “No. You say this.” And she tells me what I have to say. Or do.

“You have the Vanessa Barbie and she runs the dress shop. She doesn’t go for a drive. No, Mommy. Take her out of the car. She RUNS THE DRESS SHOP.”

“Wow, chill, Natalie,” I’ll say. “Let’s not having a Lizzie from Walking Dead moment.”

Sometimes I refuse to play. I’ll say I’m busy. Sometimes this is true. Someone has to cook dinner, after all. But sometimes I fib. I’ll say, “Er…I can’t play now, I’ve got to…sweep.” Even if there’s nothing to sweep, I make a show of getting out the broom.

Then I feel guilty.

Then the song Cat In The Cradle pops in my head.

photo credit: theharv58 via photopin cc
photo credit: theharv58 via photopin cc

I mean, yes, it’s about a father and son, but still. The message is still the same. Soon she’ll be older. Soon she won’t have time for me. She’ll be busy texting and on whatever the latest Internet craze is and she’ll basically be thinking that I’m strange and uncool.

“I can’t play all the time,” I muttered to myself. “I’ll go insane.”

Some might say talking to oneself is a sign of insanity.

The guilt is there. So I’ll usually say, “Okay. I’ll play for five minutes.” A Barbie is shoved at me. I’ll try to change her dress and Natalie is all, “Ruth stays in the pink dress. Ruth doesn’t like the other dresses.”

“Ruth wants a change,” I’ll insist.

“Ruth likes the pink dress, Mommy.”

If you think Barbies is bad, well, it’s not as horrible as playing a game. Candy Land? Is not fun. It’s worse if my son Tommy joins us because then the kids fight.

“Tommy is cheating!” Natalie will whine. “He moved his peg one more than it should be.”

(We were playing Trouble.)

“Am not. You cheat,” Tommy will retort.

“I DO NOT! Mommy! Tell him! Tell him I don’t cheat!”

I just want to shout, “Why do people have game nights? Why?”

But again.

photo credit: the bbp via photopin cc
photo credit: the bbp via photopin cc

I endure it because at some point everyone will be gone and it’ll just be me and my beloved books and while that sounds fabulous now, I know then I might be all, “I miss playing Barbies and being forced to go with Natalie’s storyline.”

So I’m working on saying yes more often.

What’s five minutes out of my day?

It might not be the most enjoyable five minutes of all time, but at least my kids will remember, “My Mom? She played with us.”

mother quote



  1. ksbeth says:

    wonderful and honest and so true, it is a constant struggle to find a balance )

    1. Eli Pacheco says:

      i love amber’s perspective, beth. i bet you’d enjoy her blog if you don’t already.

  2. laurie27wsmith says:

    Cats in a cradle gets me at times Amber. I look back and think that I could have done more with my son, he’s 40 now. At the time I think I did and now? I can’t change the past, if I had it to do again, well nothing else would be more important than him.

    1. Eli Pacheco says:

      Even on my best days, mate, there’s always something else!

      1. laurie27wsmith says:

        So true Mate, we are always judging ourselves and I think we tend to find ourselves wanting.

  3. Perfect message and I truly feel the same way. I know this time now with my girls is precious and don’t want to lose out or miss a moment of it either. Hard to balance everything, but still I remind myself that my kids come first always.

    1. Eli Pacheco says:

      I find myself wanting to use those moments they occupy each other as a sign from Jesus that I should work fast and furious so I’m ready when they are.

  4. Candyland is the worst game and soooo boring! I would always move the Queen Frostine card to the top so my kids would get it quickly and win. I can relate to feeling like I’ll feel guilty later if I don’t play, but I don’t feel like it now. 🙂 Now I just flat out refuse to play all board games. If they want a game it has to be cards!

    1. Eli Pacheco says:

      My first bout of Candyland with the girls ended in violence – after one turn and accusations of fraud.

  5. Amber says:

    Thank you for allowing me to guest post 🙂

    I am working on making sure I play with the kids more. Only right now, they are with my parents, so I’m also enjoying my peace. But when they get back, I promised Natalie I’d play Barbies. She got a new one with a wedding dress so we get to have a huge wedding for Elsa.

    1. Eli Pacheco says:

      Make sure you eat all the chocolate before they get back. And the bacon.

  6. Excellent post. I feel the same way at times. It’s nice to know that I’m not alone.

    1. Eli Pacheco says:

      Pretty sure ancient Romans probably went through the same thing, Ashley.

  7. Kim says:

    So true!! I remember those times!! I’m glad that we have moved on to much more fun games (adult ones) that I truly enjoy now!!!

    1. Eli Pacheco says:

      It’s cool to play Trivial Pursuit with the kids and kick their asses on the 80s questions.

  8. Right now my little one is obsessed with puzzles. And my oldest never stops singing, playing, reciting, breathing Frozen. It’s enough to drive a mama completely insane. But then I look at my girls and see how quickly they’re growing up, and listening to one more chorus of ‘Let it Go’ while I search for the last puzzle piece seems pretty sweet. Great post, Amber!

    1. Eli Pacheco says:

      It’s not long before Elsa gives way to Kesha, Nicole. Remember that.

  9. claywatkins says:

    it can be exhausting being a parent – i guess that’s why I am so tired – but I digress….I know there will be a day when they aren’t here and I’ll pine away for the days I missed… a play date is always good. thanks for the reminder

    1. Eli Pacheco says:

      These are the times, right Clay? I had that feeling last weekend de-hooking fish after fish with the girls.

  10. I love your honesty, Amber! I remember that it was such a hard balance between working, keeping up with the house and lawn, and then feeling guilty if I didn’t play with my sons when they were young. Now that they are adults, I can read a book in peace in my spare time and that’s a fun new chapter in my life, too!

    1. Eli Pacheco says:

      Debbie, I when that day comes, I’ll fix a hammock, mix a rum and coke, crack open a Hemingway book … and probably fall asleep on page 3.

  11. tamaralikecamera says:

    Ah, I love Amber. Amber, you’ll never be alone with your books (and cookies!). You can be alone with my books (and cookies!) too.
    It’s that dang song – “Cat’s Cradle.” It gets me too. Lately I’ve been trying to get 10-15 QUALITY minutes a day with all of my dependents. Even the kittens.
    I have to say it’s working out. Although Des doesn’t agree because yesterday involved him falling asleep on me during a doctor exam and waking up to the ears. We both hate things in our ears.
    I’ll try again today.

    1. Eli Pacheco says:

      Just put the kittens in the bathtub for 45 minutes. Voila.

      You’re welcome.

  12. This is the exact reason I hate playing with my kids. They tell me what to do and say and I feel like I am acting a script I want no part of. My favorite is when they try to play together and they are each telling the other, “no, you say this…” Drives me up the wall!!!

  13. Lady Lilith says:

    I think anyone with kids at home can relate. That is what makes it a fun challenge.

    1. Eli Pacheco says:

      It ought to be an Olympic sport.

  14. Mike says:

    OMG and LOLOL to “Let’s not having a Lizzie from Walking Dead moment.”!!!! I burst out laughing and had five workers in a quiet office room all spin around, “WTF was THAT about??!!” Ummm…never mind….they got back. So, I took a long break at work to catch up on a few blog posts. Absolutely terrific guest post, Amber, and thank you for sharing her with us, Eli! Still can’t stop laughing…”LIzzie from Walking Dead moment…” I’m going to start using that with some co-workers. Love that show btw 🙂

    1. Eli Pacheco says:

      Mike – she’s awesome, and you’ll love her! Because I have never watched Walking Dead, I will laugh and nod and try to do it knowingly!

  15. Caroline says:

    This was so beautiful! I try to remind myself the same thing when I’m constantly having trains shoved in my hand. Unfortunately [or thankfully] my son’s storylines are “car! choochoo! I want car! I want choochoo!” haha…You’re not insane for talking to yourself [or maybe you are… and I guess that means I am too!]. Great post!

    1. Eli Pacheco says:

      I think boys just want you to make things crash and make noises when you play – no plot required.

    1. Eli Pacheco says:

      It’s a beautiful thing, isn’t it?

  16. Sandy Ramsey says:

    This is truer than true. Every single word of it. I struggle with this all the time. I look at my soon to be twelve year old and while she still enjoys spending time with me, I see the change. It’s dim and in the not so far distance. But I see it. My son isn’t far behind. The time goes by faster and faster every year. I’m wishing I had given up a few more minutes here and there. Maybe I wouldn’t be running so fast to catch up now.

    1. Eli Pacheco says:

      I’m not sure we could ever feel like we did enough, Sandy. That you think you didn’t speaks volumes. I believe the ones who don’t, don’t even think about it.

  17. So true. And I worry sometimes that I have given up too much…but I hated playing with barbies and that sort of stuff when I was a kid and it didn’t get better when I became an adult. So I wonder, did I play enough? And now I have to remember, every minute counts. Even if it means going to the mall to shop…

    1. Eli Pacheco says:

      Parenthood finds us in places we’d never go on our own.

  18. Rorybore says:

    Love Amber!!!!
    And oh my goodness with the forced direct play! it’s so true. I swear my girls will either be movie directors …… or dictators when they grow up. I refuse to play with them when they are like — mostly because I noticed when I indulged them; they started ordering their friends around during play dates too. So it was a bit of a struggle to find a nice balance between “okay, we will play your storyline for a few minutes, but then I am giving Ken a wardrobe change and we’re going surfing!”
    For some reason, once I crossed 40, I found it much harder to get into that kind of imaginative play. It’s a bit sad really

    1. Eli Pacheco says:

      I’m the king of the monkey wrench in the Barbie script … the girls even let me name my favorite one. She’s called Veronica. I mean, she was called Veronica. We don’t play anymore. At all. A cat chewed up her hand but I stuck by her side.

  19. I love reading Amber’s blog, so I was thrilled to see her writing here! I remember my mom used to help me make recipes out of my American Girl cookbook (when those things were huge). The recipes were really simple, but I still made a huge mess and burned myself! I’m sure my mom hated it, but she did it anyway because she loves me. What a great memory!

    1. Eli Pacheco says:

      Everything else aside, I think the thing kids want most of us is our time, Megan. (Amber’s awesome, isn’t she?)

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