Guilt-Free Quality Time :)

 

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Creating memories

As parents we can often spend hours (and sometimes sleepless nights..) feeling guilty about what little time we spend with our children. We live in a society where there is a massive emphasis on ‘quality time’. I don’t know how many parents I have met over the years who stress about trying to fit in an hour per day per child! Seriously – as if the stresses and strains of every day family life weren’t enough to be getting on with, we find another level of angst to add to our ‘quality family time’!

Ok, so let’s stop stressing and putting ourselves under all this pressure – the truth is that children don’t always need one-to-one attention. They have basic needs such as food, clothing, heat and good toilet facilities. (Although boys often choose to do without the latter!) They also need love, support, consistency, fresh-air and guidance. If we get some spare time whilst doing all this, then by all means let’s have a bit of quality play-time but there is seriously no need for the one-to-one!That’s not to say that it can’t be very enjoyable to get some time alone with one of our children – of course it is; but in the reality of our busy modern lives, it really is not something that merits as much emphasis as it seems to have gained.

I am the second youngest of five children and can probably count on my hands the amount of times I had Mum or Dad to myself. I was only telling Mum the other day how strong my memory of shopping for my communion dress is – yes the dress was amazing but the reason I hold that memory dear is probably because it was just me and Mum. A pretty rare occurence. “So”, I hear you say, “there you go – proof positive that one-to-one attention is vital!” Eh – No. Yes it is a nice memory, but the rareness of the occasion is what made it so special.

I am a stay-at-home Mum who does not feel the need to give her three children individual one-to-one attention. If I tried to factor that kind of time into the day, it would end up being a massive hindrance in my already hectic days, and the ‘quality time’ would just be a ‘box ticked’ more than an enjoyable, memorable hour with my child. Now don’t get me wrong, I give them my attention all the time – I answer their questions, share in their jokes, comfort them when needed, help them to understand the whys and wherefores of the big bad world, and encourage them to play, be it together or alone but generally unassisted by me. There are also times during the day when one will get more attention than the others, such as assisting with homework, reading a story or having a quick cuddle on the couch, but these are moments and not to the exclusion of the other children in the family. So when I hear other mothers stressing themselves about spending time with each individual child, it breaks my heart to think of the pressure they are putting themselves under.

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Hanging Out!

That said, there are natural organic occasions every so often where as the result of a nap or an activity or play-date that I find myself alone with one of my children and having spare time to enjoy it!! Just last weekend, my eldest was on a tour with Ladybirds and my youngest was having her nap, so my son got not only me but his father to himself. He was chuffed to bits with himself – my son that is, not hubby. However, we didn’t build a rocket out of disused cardboard boxes or make a camp under the table – we just hung out. (We make rockets etc when the others are about so as to spread the workload.:))After about half an hour though he began to wonder where his siblings were and when they would be home. “Enough already with this one-to-one malarky” he was probably thinking! There are, of course, occasions when one of my children needs a little bit more tlc than the others such as starting school, recovering from an illness or just being a bit down in the dumps; on these occasions, of course I make space to spend some time just with them.

So I guess what I am suggesting is to try taking the stress-inducing one-to-one time out the equation and having more realistic expectations for yourself. Being a less stressed and more relaxed parent, and spending quality time as a family is absolutely invaluable, and can be done just by eating a meal or going for a walk together. Save the one-to-one for when it really matters and give yourself a break!

Thanks for reading

Aisling

P.S. I love feedback, please write any thoughts or comments below!

 

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3 Comments (+add yours?)

  1. Aedin
    Oct 27, 2014 @ 14:51:17

    Nice indepth review.We ll be heading to the launch of the second book next weekend.Will be interested to see what my little reviewer makes of it!

    Reply

  2. BabySteps
    May 12, 2015 @ 13:01:13

    Reblogged this on BabySteps and commented:

    I need reminding of this today, has been a busy couple of weeks so pretty much zero one to one time! Then again all time with the children is quality time.

    Reply

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