Friday, April 06, 2007

This is quality time?

Another busy week. In addition to the usual activities that keep me on the go, I had a few extras, including dental appointments for all the kids.

Usually I schedule the kids’ dentist appointments all at once. It’s a crazy hour of choosing toothbrushes and fluoride flavors, riding the chair up and down, looking at the dentist’s diplomas, and choosing prizes from the prize box. But it works.

This time, because of a conflict, I had to schedule our our nine-year-old’s appointment all by herself. While she was having her teeth cleaned, I stood there, talking with the hygienist and the dentist. We were gone from home no more than 30 minutes.

That night when I tucked her into bed, I went through our usual, “How was your day” routine. When I asked her what was the best part of her day, she answered, “Being with you today at the dentist. It was really fun.”

I stopped short. The dentist? Really?

I thought back to our time at the dentist. We had a five minute trip in the car each way, and a few minutes in the waiting room. It was one very rushed stop of many in the course of a busy afternoon. We talked a little, but it seemed all very surface to me: How was your day, What did you do in art today? That sort of thing.

But to my child, it was the highlight of her day. And I missed it!

Or did I?

I feel guilty a lot that I don’t get to spend the “quality” time with each child that I would like. Life is full, and even though I have good intentions, I often don’t do a good job of it.

But maybe I’m trying too hard. My child is willing to have her teeth scraped in order to spend time with me. To have thirty minutes of my undivided attention. Surely I can do better than that!

This weekend while our family is home together celebrating Easter, I’ll be thinking about:

  • How can I give each of my children some of my undivided attention today?
  • How can I turn my mundane activities into quality time with my children?


Andrea said...

I LOVE this idea, Katherine. How can I be truly present in my child's life during everyday activities? Taking some individual time out for each child is a good thing, too, though it does not happen as much as I want it to.
Great reminder and encouragment!

Anonymous said...

Before I became a mom I was a high school youth leader with a 50+ hr/week full time job and a husband. I frequently took a teen along with me to the grocery store (or some other such errand) just so we could hang out. Other leaders laughed at me when I brought it up at a meeting but I had more than one post-graduate teen point back to our time in the supermarket as significant.

Whatever works.

Susanne said...

Great thoughts Katherine. In our busy overscheduled lives in this day and age it is good to pause and asks ourselves this on a regular basis. Thanks for bringing it up!

Gina Conroy said...

My littlest one said to me the other day, "mom you never play with me." and it broke my heart because she's right. I rarely have enough energy to play, though we do spend a lot of time cuddling and watching movies.

I struggle with giving each child quality time, but at least once a year on their birthday my husband and I take them out to the restaurant of their choice alone. It's a special time where our undivided attention is on one child!

Laura said...

You are so right. I'm noticing myself, now that I have three kids, that quality time isn't what it used to be. Great reminder to me to do something about that.

Great post!

Cindy said...

Thanks so much for this post! It is so hard with 5 to delibrately give them each truly undivided quality time each day. That is my goal for this Easter weekend and the upcoming week!

Tara said...

I have four kids, one of whom is a newborn. Tonight we were at the school's gym. I handed the baby over to dh and ran out to the basketball court and started kicking the ball around with my boys. My three year old looked up at me with wonder in his eyes, "you have time to play with us tonight mom?" Broke my heart. I'm sore in places I didn't know I had, but I'm glad I took the time to play with my kids tonight. Thanks for the confirmation and reminder that it IS important to grab a moment with each kid each day.

Robin Green said...

I was so good about spending "date" time with my kids when they were younger. It has gotten harder now with all our busy schedules. Great post.

Katrina @ Callapidder Days said...

Great questions to consider, Katherine, and I'll join you in pondering them. I especially love the idea of paying enough attention to turn mundane moments (a quick trip to the grocery store, picking up toys together) into something special.

Rachel Anne said...

You are so right...we make things harder than they have to be. Sometimes just TIME is as important as the "quality" part. Loved this.

Lana said...

wow! that was really profound. I am a firm believer that kids need quality and quantity. We have to be there for the moments small and big, good and bad.

Borbe Bunch said...

I ask myself the same questions about the time I give each individual child.
I am reading a good book about how our focus, even in the mundane things, needs to be a time to point our kiddos to God and use that time to have a special one on one moment with them.
Thanks for the reminder and I hope you enjoy your kiddos in a special way this Easter weekend.
God bless!