Isn’t he just a button?!
My life is HECTIC. I only work a part time job, I only go to school part time, I only usually do weekend clients for makeup…sounds like it’s sort of easy right? Here’s the reality of it: From 8:45 am till 9:30 pm I’m not home on Mon, Tue, and Thur. On Wednesday I’m home until 5 pm but then I go to class until about 9 pm. I have Friday off and sometimes I take clients on that day. Every other Saturday I’m in class from 10-5. So really I’m home Wed during the day and Fridays and every other Saturday. I spend some of my time on the off days working on my business and marketing. What I’m getting at is that I’m BUSY. I have a small child and more often then not I’m feeling guilty about how little time I actually spend with him. I have to remind myself it’ll only be like this until I’m done with school next year, but so much happens in that first few years of life. I know what I’m doing is for the better of my family and I’m following my dream and after all that’s what I want to teach my child, to follow his heart, to be happy, to sacrifice a little to gain a lot, to work hard, and to earn that happiness.
I’m writing about quality time today. How do we squeeze it in, and what’s the best way to spend quality time with your child? Here is my thought. This is my opinion and what works for me.
No matter how you choose to parent your child, whether you hover over their every action, or let them figure things out on their own, one thing is true. Your children need to spend meaningful time with you. They need to see how you live your life and who you are. This will, in turn, help you to better see who you are.
So how do we find this magical time, and more importantly, how do we make it meaningful? What I find is that filling up the schedule with activities is meaningful time, but it doesn’t have to be planned like that. Movies, dinner, lunch, zoo, park, etc is a lot of fun and yes you are spending time with your child, but is it really necessary? Those meaningful moments happen whether you have something planned or not. It happens when you least expect it: in the car, during bath time, or even just when you’re sitting there looking out the window together.
What I’m trying to say is, readjust your thinking.
If you work full time like we do, you look forward to the weekends for that precious quality time. Think about this: there are only 940 weekends from birth to starting college. Sounds like a bunch at first, but at 5 years, 260 weekends are gone. Just like that, gone forever. So obviously doing fun things is great, kids always remember that fun trip to the zoo that one time. What I really want is for my kid to look back and remember ME. Not so much the stuff. I want him to remember how much we’ve loved him, and how much we care about his interests and passions. I want him to look back fondly and also to have gathered knowledge about his dad and me. I want him to cherish our family unit and really grow to understand the minutiae of how we all work together so well. So each time I’m with him I think forward. I remind myself these moments are fleeting. I think 20 years from now, the house will be neat and clean, laundry will always be done, it will be quiet and I will nap, life will slow. So I cherish the chaos now. I laugh with my son, I don’t worry so much about the little things, and I focus on teaching him the things he needs to be successful. Even at just 13 months, he watches us and picks up everything. I set an example for him. I talk to him about things that are important to me, whether he understands me or not, one day he will, and it won’t seem so foreign because we’ve always had these talks. We sing and dance together. Because eventually this will turn into a lesson on being active and fit. We eat healthy foods and go grocery shopping together, because one day I want him to just know how to pick out a good cantaloupe. I show affection to my husband and my husband does the same, we do kind and thoughtful things for each other, because one day my son will have a relationship and we hope that he’ll just know from watching us, how to nurture a healthy one and how to express love without relying on the words. We talk about how we feel all the time and right away because we don’t believe in bottling things in. One day my son will have a need to express himself and, hopefully, thanks to us, he will know exactly how to talk about what’s going on with him.
So let us appreciate the nuances of childhood and make every moment count. Kids aren’t perfect and there will be off days but let your kid be a kid and try to laugh off the small things. Teach them not to sweat the small stuff. And enjoy every little moment…I love to sneak in when my son is sound asleep and just tuck him in and look at his peaceful face. That will certainly not be there forever. Some folks think time is money, but I think time is love. Each second should be filled to the brim with everything your heart can muster.