“QUALITY” (Def :?) Time with Our Children by April P.

“April is a working mom and wife to a stay at home hubby who cares for their 3 year old son. One of her goals in life is to make being mom one of her greatest success stories.”

Let’s face it; we all have endless amounts of things to do. Whether we are stay-at-home moms or work outside of the home, there is never an empty list. I think it is tough in either situation to find the fine line between spending enough QUALITY time (I’m striving to define this exactly…) with our children and getting the remainder of tasks on our lists tackled.

I’ve been back to work since my son was 6 months (he was 3 in January) and my husband has been a stay at home dad since (and a pretty awesome stay at home Dad). I am the mom who brings him everywhere with me and registers him in a ton of fun things, can’t wait to get home from work each day to see him, and am always planning special things for us to do as a family or even just the two of us. I am lucky that I start work really early before they get up so I am home early in the afternoon (by 2:30pm) and I get a lot of time with my son (and husband) who doesn’t drift off ’til 9pm or so (and rarely naps…but that’s a different story!). However, I still feel guilty as if we still don’t spend enough QUALITY time together and I’m really not sure what the definition of QUALITY is? We do craft courses together or at home (although my hubby has been quite the craft guru as of late), play outside every day for several hours, have play dates, watch Tangled or play cars, visit any of the 11 living grandparents he’s lucky to have, but sometimes the time we spend together also includes as I make dinner, throw in a load of laundry, clean the litter, or am trying to rearrange the bathroom. I also find that a lot of these activities, play dates and outside time for example, now involve just watching him play as he gains his independence and plays with his many friends, although I am, always there if he, or any of the kids, should need me. I frequently let him help with the lesser of these tasks as he seems to think they are exciting (and I’m taking advantage of when he does think folding laundry is fun, I’m sure it won’t last!), but I feel bad that we’re doing these things, even though they have to be done. I realize that this is likely teaching him good values too, that we should strive to live in a neat & tidy house, laundry needs to be done, etc., etc., but I still can’t help but feeling guilty, I really want to give my son everything and do things just right as a parent.

How do we define QUALITY, just spending time together, or does it matter what we are doing? What is the happy mix of fun and chores? Do you feel you get enough time with your kids? Do we ever not feel guilty as a parent even if we’re already giving them all that we can? Do we always just want to give them more?

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2 thoughts on ““QUALITY” (Def :?) Time with Our Children by April P.

  1. Sounds to me like you’re doing just awesome!! My battle is a little different -My hubbie works out of the home, and I work from home full time. This means I may be present, but on top of all the necessary chores I have to work full time hours at my computer during the day. Trust me it’s difficult to explain to a 4yr old that even though I am here, I can’t play with her because I have to work. Unfortunately we can’t afford day care so I can’t solve the issue that way.
    My daughter will also help with chores. She thinks doing laundry is cool, wants to mop the floor and thinks running around the back yard yelling “poo” when she spots a doggie bomb during our daily pick up is great fun.
    For me, I would say that quality time is anytime you get to be together enjoying each others company, regardless of what you are doing. Lets be realistic here things HAVE to be done, even if you let them go for a while. (Thinking of my disgusting house and piles of laundry as I type this because I had to work an additional 21 hours this week to make up for the 3 days I was too ill to do ANYTHING last week.)
    Maybe instead of giving in to our constant guilt we should look at things through our children’s eyes. What do they want most? I’m pretty sure the answer to this is “to spend time with Mommy and Daddy”. (And maybe some ice cream when the ice cream truck goes by.) They really don’t look at folding laundry, washing dishes, weeding the gardens and every other task as a chore when we do it with them. As long as we get to talk, learn, explore and maybe throw in a tickle every now and then; they go to bed feeling loved at the end of the day.
    100 years or more ago people didn’t have all the time saving contraptions we do today, and the list of necessary chores was much greater, yet for generations families raised happy children and were satisfied if their child went to bed with a full tummy.
    I think as parents we need to lighten up on ourselves a little, and take off some of the pressure to always “entertain” our children. Realistically, I say: Quality Time = any time you can laugh together!

  2. The last paragraph is so true and nothing I really thought about. I just read a great quote, “Your children need your presence rather than presents”. I guess this kind of answers it all too. Just be with them and toss away the normal parental guilt which I am sure we’ll always have no matter how much time we get to spend with them.

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