Motherhood and Regret: A Play Dough Tale (and Recipe!)

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Me and the Gilrs

Regrets.

Whose got ’em?

Motherhood lands us in Regret City.

Mine include not enough tea parties, Play Dough Guilt, overreaction on some occasions, and a few episodes of tip top temper.

The lack of tea parties I can’t excuse. After all, I’ve got the tea cups.

I’ll spare you the details of overreaction and temper, but I will hint that they range from guess what on the wall (age 23 months) to guess who staying out too late (age 16).

But let me explain Play Dough Guilt.

You know how little people drop tiny blobs of play dough on the floor?

And then it gets ground in and has to be scraped off with a paring knife?

I got tired of that.

My remedy was to hide the play dough.

So my girls grew up with not enough Play Dough Moments, hence Play Dough Guilt for me.

I don’t know what to do about regrets.

The articles tell us to toss them to the wind.

But on this Mother’s Day, I’d like to officially say to Katherine and Laura that I’m sorry about the lack of sufficient Play Dough Hours. I wish I’d been more laid back. I wish I’d chosen your creative fun over the state of the kitchen floor.

For real.

But I’ve saved the recipe all these years.

Play Dough

Come on home, and we can make a big batch of play dough or perhaps take a trip to the mall.

Or both!

Friend for the Ride Readers: Have Play Dough Guilt? Invite your kids home for a round of play dough. Here’s the homemade version:

One cup flour

1/2 cup salt

Two teaspoons cream of tartar

One tablespoon vegetable oil

One cup water

Food coloring

Mix dry ingredients. Add food coloring to the water and blend into the dry ingredients. Stir over medium heat for a minute or so until the mixture forms a ball. Let it cool and then knead until smooth. Store in an airtight container.  Have fun!  Ignore the kitchen floor.

Photo: Hanging with the girls in sunny Dallas, Texas, last Christmas.

31 responses »

  1. The guilt and regrets of motherhood never go away. I don’t really have play dough guilt, although I wasn’t a big fan of it either. What I most regret is being too intense about most things and overreacting – yes to toddlers and teens. Those are the years that try mom’s soul.

  2. I remember making it too and probably hated having the kids play with it– now can’t wait to play with it with the grands. Time changes how we perceive things!

  3. Oh if we could only do it over again and just have more fun with our kids! But then I guess we had to be serious because we had a lot of training to do. One of the benefits of growing older is realizing what is really important–clean floor? or nurturing creativity and having fun?

  4. If that’s all you feel guilty for, Barbara, I think you’re doing great. We all are imperfect. Every single one of us.Thankfully, despite my imperfections, my grown daughters adore me–as I imagine yours do, too–so that’s what counts. Happy Mother’s Day to everyone here!

    xo Susan
    http://www.susangabriel.com

  5. No problem with play dough. My main regrets are not spending more time playing with my girls and a few pretty big temper outbursts when someone stepped “on my last nerve” (as they say). I comfort myself by saying that I tried my best. I know you did, too! So Happy Mother’s Day to all of us!

    • Even as I was going through it I would tell myself I wasn’t going to have any regrets because I was always doing the best I could. I need to remember that now – it doesn’t help to wish to change things because I really was doing the best I could.

  6. Hi Mrs. Younger! You’re in good company–my mother also wouldn’t let me have Play Dough for the exact same reason. Did all the Cameron Park moms get together and decide on this rule? 🙂 I definitely feel like I missed out, but I try to indulge myself by joining my step-daughter in the fun on occasion! Thank you for posting the recipe–I think my step-daughter and I will make some play dough as a special treat.

  7. Yup…..i think we all do the best we can and even though we may all have regrets, i bet there were areas we excelled. I have …..”not taking my kids to Mcdonalds enough” regrets!

  8. You did a great job if your only guilt is wrapped around play dough time! More play dough time and tea parties, and no guilt, that’s what grand kids are for!

    • Wouldn’t it be fun if we could go back in time to relive one of those days? One of our best was when Kath spilled bubble solution upstairs and shampoo down. Cliff said, “I can’t believe I’m scrubbing up bubble on both floors of my home.”

  9. I have them too and some days the regrets really get to me! We did our very best. We have to rest in that, the fact that God grace is sufficient and knowing our kids will make mistakes raising their kids too. It’s just a part of life. Hang in there! P.S I thought all moms hid the pay dough???

  10. Thanks for sharing your thoughts (and recipe!) with us, Barbara. Regrets? Oh, sure. Plenty. But, when I see how my daughter plays with my grandkids, I know I did something right. What? I don’t know. But, my daughter is a wonderful mother and that’s all I can say about that. Happy Mother’s Day!

  11. My kids had plenty of play dough and finger painting. My regret is that we didn’t go camping more. We always had such a good time when we went but I always felt like I was the only one making the trips happen or caring if they did happen. There was always too much gnashing of teeth when we loaded and unloaded the car…and there was the thunderstorm/
    vomit trip. Oh well, we don’t get do overs in this life, do we?

  12. I feel the same way about not baking enough cookies with my girls. Particularly as the children are grown up and gone, it is easy to look back with regrets over what we didn’t do. Rather than what we did do.

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