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Permission to Play

Package it any way you like, playtime is as important to our wellbeing as the air we breathe and the water we drink. Open yourself up to play and I promise you’ll unwrap a fun and exciting way to make your life happier and more productive.

I’d like to introduce you to Meredith Sinclair, who I had the pleasure of meeting at ChiTAG last year. Meredith’s spirited, fun-loving take on life is chronicled on her blog at, where she shares ways we can all tap into the power of play. Living in a household infused with “undistilled testosterone” (which I can totally relate to, living in a domicile of dudes myself), Meredith is a former educator and mom to two young boys living on Chicago’s North Shore. Her method for merging modern motherhood with a playful spirit is enlightening, inspirational and just plain fun.

Read on as Meredith encourages all of us to let go, open up, and enjoy the ride as we “give ourselves over to play”. And then click on over to to read her blogs and watch her vlogs – I promise you’ll walk away with a spunky skip in your step, feeling a little more playful for the rest of the day!

Playfully yours,

Mary Kay

Permission to Play

Guest Post by Meredith Sinclair,

"It is a happy talent to know how to PLAY”. – Emerson

This little nugget has long been one of my favorite quotes. I post it on Facebook from time to time, I’ve tweeted it more than once and it’s prominently posted on a bulletin board in my writing space.

I think I like it most because it refers to play as a talent. A happy talent.

But unlike playing the cello or being a professional athlete, or creating a priceless work of art for which someone pays thousands of dollars, being able to give yourself over to PLAY is a talent we all come into the world having already mastered.

The bummer is that instead of getting better at it as we age and mature, this gift is one that often depreciates over time. We find more important and respectable and lucrative things to do. And just like that, it’s reserved only for the young.

Like every other mom I know, I work my life around my kids’ schedules. And that’s okay. It’s part of the gig and I really don’t begrudge it.

I may sarcastically joke about it and give the other stuck-to-the-steering-wheel moms that knowing and almost eye-rolling “I feel you” carpool glance as we pass each other on the road to soccer, but I honestly do love being that person to my kids.

The only thing that makes me a little jealous is that PLAYing is a big part of my kids’ job. It’s what they are supposed to do. Besides school work, playing is encouraged, scheduled, paid for, and often even demanded of them. How flipping great is that?

So last weekend, after many Facebook messages, travel arrangements and confirmations, a batch of my Jr. High chums and I got away to simply play together again.

There were seven of us who have known each other through braces and bad boyfriends, from one angst-filled prom night to the next, in cheerleading skirts and graduation gowns. I have lots of grown-up mom friends, but there is an unspoken kinship that happens when you enter a room full of girls who knew you when.

We gathered at my friend Melissa’s farm in Pennsylvania and had two days of exploring her 93 acres of woods, and creeks, and ponds, and beautiful dilapidated barns. We laughed til we leaked, danced in the kitchen, and collectively cried hearing each other’s struggles with cancer and tough marriages and kids who make mistakes and do a number on our hearts in the process.

But mostly we just played. We painted an army of ceramic gnomes Missy had ordered on-line, giggled over a million inside jokes, and gave ourselves over to the silly, often obnoxious, sometimes potty-mouthed fun.

We woke up Sunday morning each beginning to think about our lives back home, checking our texts for news of soccer goals, bedtime stories with their dads, and prom nights of their own. Melissa said she felt like she climbed her stairs at midnight the night before a giddy 18 year old girl and came back down that morning all 40 again. Bitter sweet indeed.

Since her hot tob was on the fritz, we deemed her place the Farmhouse Time Machine and we adored every darn glory day of it.

Getting back together with girls from your past, who still see the girl in you and who are ready to call her up and make her play is truly priceless. But it’s not a given good time.

You must be willing to be called up. Willing to put away your current titles and various degrees, your worldly accomplishments and proof of grown-up success and recognize that these peeps loved you when you had pimples and bad taste in clothes. And then let the heck go and PLAY.

Just before heading back to civilization we toured Melissa’s primitive and worn-out chicken coop and gave her ideas of how to fix it up, planning a trip back in the fall for a cocktail and canning party. Another chance to demonstrate that playful, happy, God-given talent we almost forgot we possessed.

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