The Value of Play For Parents

It’s heartwarming to see how the value of play for parents can bring together a group of busy dads who take some time off from their responsibilities to enjoy a friendly game of basketball. It’s a reminder that even amidst the demands of parenthood, we all need a little fun and play in our lives.

Time for them has been reinstated. They manage the league while also living in the city with their family. They’re free to run away, play baseball, and have a good time.

A growing group of parents in the greater Detroit area are ditching the bleachers and auditorium seats for field seats. Youth sports take a back seat as mom and dad find new outlets for stress relief, physical activity, socialization, and even personal rediscovery through athletically-focused, adult-only groups.

Dance and community.

Consider all the mothers who attend Christina Kammuller’s “Adult Ballet” classes, donning their leotards and twirling their way through the studio. They are channeling their inner young ballerinas in classes for all levels of experience or learning the basics of ballet technique in a graceful and challenging class.

And by working together at the ballet barre, they’re rekindling a sense of schoolgirl closeness, says Kammuller, who has been teaching adults exclusively for the past twenty years.

“We still want to hold on to a piece of our childhood and our teenage years,” she says. Even if you didn’t know better, you might assume that the Keego Harbor dance studio your child attends is theirs, what with the jumble of bags on the piano bench and the excited chatter before and after class. She continues, “We always talk about life over here.” There’s a lot of comfort and warmth here.

Mothers of older children, and sometimes even grandmothers, offer words of wisdom to younger mothers who are struggling through a difficult parenting stage or marital disagreement. Kammuller notes that people often discuss both the negative and positive aspects of their lives.

The advanced pointe dancers she teaches do wear tutus, but her classes are anything but frivolous. Eva Meade, 38, a complete novice from Bloomfield Hills, says that learning the dance and the French terms is a great mental workout and a welcome diversion.

Meade, whose son is 5 and a half, explains, “You can’t go making grocery lists while you’re there.” “It helps me “tune out” of my regular life for a while. It forces me to be present in the now and to say, “Here I am.”

Sports entertainment for the family.

Rhonda and Robert Holhouser have struggled with and made achieving a workable work-life balance a top priority for many years. Northville’s parks and recreation department is where the town’s parents go to get their “kicks” (or “bumps”). Since 1990, the two sexes have been playing together.

Previously, they had sitters hired to watch the kids. We both felt like this was something we should be working on simultaneously. Although they used to be fiercely competitive, they’ve since mellowed, and now they’re overwhelmed by their three children’s sporting commitments (ages 10 to 13). They call themselves “Safe Sets,” and every Wednesday night from September to May, they have a blast playing basketball together.

It’s okay to leave work early if you’re looking forward to the socializing and fun that will be taking place after hours. It’s not just a precious opportunity to spend time together “without kids being the link”; it’s also a rare chance to build relationships.

You’re friends first and foremost. It has strengthened the marriage to have similar interests and values.

The same applies to sports that are played independently. It provides a conversational diversion from mundane topics like rent and childcare arrangements. It’s a conversation that doesn’t cost anything to have.

I was able to squeeze it in.

Any parent will tell you that cobbling together the time and motivation to do so can be a real challenge. However, numerous organizations are adapting their schedules to ease the burden on overworked parents. For instance, there are no mandatory attendance requirements in pick-up baseball. The ballet program allows students to pay as they go for classes, giving them some leeway if unexpected expenses arise.

People often say things like, “I can’t do that” or “I’ve got to take care of the kids,” which are just excuses. You should bring your kids.

Plus, it could serve as a model for when they, themselves, become parents.

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