Saturday, September 24, 2011

Quality Time vs. Quantity time

I spend most of the day with my children.  I mean, I am a stay-at-home-mom (SAHM), so even when I am doing "other things", my children are around.  I get stuff done when they are sleeping and when Brandon is off work.   I cook or pick up or sew or check e-mail or balance the checkbook or blog during afternoon naps (after we finish home-school) if the kids are home, and while BabyK takes his morning naps while the kids go to preschool (2 mornings a week).  So I actually have plenty of time to do the things I want to do, just not a lot of time all at one time.

I hear a lot about spending quality time with your kids.  Like if you only see them in the evenings, then that time needs to be quality time, but what does that really mean?  Does that mean that you are only doing things with them? That you aren't cooking, or cleaning, or what?

Something that I have been working through is how I make sure that my kiddos know that they are in their proper place in my list of priorities.  I mean, my kids are so much more important than checking e-mail, playing on pinterest, or writing this blog.  They are really more important than balancing the checkbook or making a gourmet dinner for a guest.  They are more important than my latest sewing project or Sunday school planning or ironing or putting away laundry.  So the question is this: How do I demonstrate that?  I still have to do all of those things.  I can't get them ALL done while kids are napping!  Starting in Jan, I will be home-schooling BoyD full time meaning that he won't go to any pre-school.  BabyK will most likely abandon his morning nap in the not to distant future.  And GirlM her afternoon one.  So my "free" time is going to diminish.  My to-do list won't.

So here is my solution for the moment.  It is a work in progress.  But the first thing that I want to always do is spend some time everyday with each of my children just playing.  (not necessarily 1 at a time...I can play with all of them together).  Not doing school work or a planned craft or even having them participate in one of the things I am doing, but just sitting and playing.  Doing what they want to do.  Apart from my to-do list.  This is actually very hard for me.  I find that I spend so much time with them but very little of that is just playing.  And boy, do they want me to!

The other thing is that I don't EVER want to be too busy or too involved to look my children in the eye and give them an answer if they want to ask/tell me something.  Let me specify.  When I am reading an e-mail for example, and one of my children comes to my side and I hear the familiar "Mommy, Mommy, Mommy, Mommy", I want to be able to stop, turn to them, look them in the eye, listen to what they want to tell/ask me, and then if I need to, explain that I have to read the e-mail and that I will be with them when I finish.  And then get done asap to give my attention back to them.  Not the distracted response of "one-sec" or "can't you see I'm busy" or "sigh...hold on!"

Although my kids are not the only thing in my life, they are one of the most important, and giving them that place in my heart means I have to give them that place in my schedule.  

Do you have any ideas or things that you do to make sure your kids know how important they are to you?  I would love to hear them!


Bettie said...

I think you have touched on an important point, it is our attitude about being with them that makes the difference in the quality. Kids are great at perceiving our real feelings, and if the time is spent grudgingly ("I really should be doing...") or we are distracted they know it. Also important to follow up on it when we really have to ask them to wait, and not wait any longer than we promised.

As for quality vs. quantity, I have heard it said and agree fully that with infants and toddlers, quantity is quality. They need our physical presence, to feel our touch and hear our voice. There is no substitute for that.

Great blog. Keep it up amiga!

Real Life Deals said...

What a good reminder that kids are our special gift - not our interruptions! I also work at home and have to juggle life, but I try to remember that there will come a day when they no longer need me like they do now. Thanks for the reminder to keep our priorities in line! Glad you found me at Hobbies on a Budget