Recently, I attended a speech on the topic of parenting. The speaker was great. I agreed with the majority of what he said, but his suggestion that parents increase the amount of time we spend with our children rubbed me the wrong way. I mean, it all sounds good on paper, but the reality is that most of us are trying to cram 30+ hours into a 24 hour day. If we plan to spend more time with our children and then fail to do so, it creates guilt or anxiety which is no good for anyone.
With all the expectations put on us in our professional and private lives, we don’t need any more reasons to feel inadequate.
I thought long and hard and, after much deliberation decided that it’s just not possible. I do my very best and give all the attention that I can to my family. In my opinion, what’s most important is the quality of time spent, not the quantity. Being extremely present in the limited time you do have with your family can go a long way. And if they could be doing something better with their time, who am I to prevent them? For example, I love spending time with my daughter Charlie, but I can’t teach her how to do a pirouette. She must spend time with her ballet instructor to learn that.
Its best to use your limited time together giving what only you can – unconditional love.
The most memorable moments with my daughter happen when I am present enough to recognize and seize the opportunity. For example, one morning while driving my daughter Charlie to school, we saw a red fox dart across the road. I pulled over and we watched until it was out of sight. Then I said to Charlie. “That was rare. Where do you think he was from? Maybe he had to ask the other animals for directions…” We immediately launched into a lively discussion, creating voices, accents and names for a whole host of animals. She and I laughed the entire ride to school. For weeks afterward, we had our own little inside joke that we could return to and recreate that special moment.
I don’t argue that more time with family would be great. However, a more realistic goal would be to capitalize on the limited time we do have. If we can unplug and fully engage with family, we will find a multitude of opportunities to create magical moments that will be cherished for a lifetime! #Time2Thrive #Time2Play