With the rebellious days of 4th of July and Bastille
Day (le 14 juillet) coming up, we at Mice at Play think that it is the
ideal time for women to take some liberties! Seek your independence (and
escape) by breaking away from our many obligations and responsibilities
and the usual feeling of guilt that comes with taking some time for
We’ve just interviewed Barbara Brannen, national speaker and author of “The Gift of Play: Why Adult Women Stop Playing and How to Start Again” to help you understand the importance of Play and how to get more of it. We hope that it will inspire you to ignite a change in your life, and create your own play revolution.
Mice at Play: What brought you to write a book about women and play?
Writing this book came from two desires. First, it was for me to
explain to myself how letting go of play was such a mistake in my life. I
used the book to sort of talk to myself about what I knew needed to
change, what I used to do for play and to make sure I kept doing it.
Second, to give other women the gift of my experience so they would not
suffer the same result.
MaP: Why is it important for women to play?
Play is a gift that is given to us at birth and stays in our tool kit
for life every day until the day we die. (I can prove that last part
with the story of my dying uncle’s last three weeks in life when I sat
by his bedside and watched him play to the final minute.) If we set this
gift on the shelf, it is like deciding not to breathe. Deciding not to
put fresh air in our lungs. Not putting play into our lives deprives
the heart, the mind, and the soul of the many gifts of play and deprives
us of the beauty of being who we are. [It deprives us of] knowing the
heart of who we are and enjoying who we are. (Remember the quote, “In
our play we reveal who we really are,” by Ovid.)
MaP: What are the benefits of Play?
· Energy: play gives us energy.
· Movement: Tony Robbins always says, “The emotion is in the motion.” It gets us moving.
· Joy: when we play we are bringing joy into our lives.
· Clear Thinking: play allows the brain a break and so allows clarity around things in our lives to come in.
· Curiosity: we get to poke and probe and look at different aspects of things, life, OURSELVES!
· No Worry: play gives a break from the worry that plagues our lives.
· Total abandonment: play gives us a BREAK from reality for a while.
· Relaxation: most times after play, even rigorous play, we feel more relaxed.
· Connection: we can connect on a more personal level with others when we play.
· and on and on and on...
MaP: Why don’t women play as much as men?
misunderstand the value of play. Women always put their
responsibilities as wives, mothers, sisters, daughters, members of the
community, workers and more, first and foremost. This means that they
don’t realize that by not playing they may actually be less able to
fulfill those responsibilities similar to not eating well, getting
enough rest, and exercising. More often you will hear women say, “I know
I should eat better, sleep more, get more exercise,” but rarely do you
hear them say, “I need to play more.” Or, if they do say it, they don’t
put in the effort to start.
MaP: What are women’s main resistances to play?
know, like most things women are trying to do better, it isn’t so much
resistance as it is reluctance. “Am I trading time I should be...
cleaning, working, taking care of Mom, the kids, the dog, for play time
for me? That is selfish.” We are reluctant to be seen not doing the
“right thing.” We have to help women understand that play is the right
MaP: What can women do to build up their play muscles?
Start small. Do something like take a 10 minutes break to research
something that fascinates you or knit a potholder. Call a girlfriend and
make plans for a “play date.” Use your calendar to color in play times.
Ask, ask, ask all the time what people are doing for play until
something strikes a cord with you and creates a burning desire for play.
MaP: How can a stay-at-home mother make her day more playful? And a professional woman?
look at small things you can do from wearing fun clothes, to taking the
breaks mentioned above. Look at your world and find the opportunities
for play that you are missing. Change the color of the post it notes on
your desk. Buy fun shoes. Get a joke a day delivered to your inbox. Set
an appointment on your calendar for a play break and then invite friends
to participate. Trust me, your friends have lots of ideas, you just
have to be willing to try.
MaP: How do you play? What’s your favorite play?
Now don’t laugh, but one of my favorite ways to play is to sit still
and enjoy what is around me for ten minutes in silence. There is noise
in the air so I have to hunt that out, but I love it when I find it!
This is followed very closely by much more active things like hiking,
biking, kayaking, cleaning, (Yes, I LOVE TO CLEAN and wash dishes!)
reading books, (I am a voracious reader), anytime our family sits and
talks, dinners with girlfriends, massages, sketching plans to remodel,
browsing catalogs and online stores, (trying not to buy), music,
singing, playing the piano, community service projects with my Rotary
club, baseball games with my husband, (lots of hot dogs and cheering),
theater, long driving trips to see friends, beach time, swimming.......
shall I go on? Now do I do these every day? Every week? Every month?
NO, but I have them in my bag of tricks and I PLAN to do these at some