We all wish that there were more hours in the day. More often than not, every mom feels like she just hasn’t done enough with her day when she finally crawls into bed at night. And usually she feels most guilty about the time that she didn’t spend with her kids. That guilt leaves moms feeling dissatisfied, self-doubting, and unhappy.
I am here to show you how to change that. Yes, life is busy and the days seem short, but it is possible to make more time for your kids every day and go to bed feeling good.
#1 – Make spending time with your kids a priority.
Build it into your day. Write it on your list. Make it one of things that you can cross off when completed.
Going to the post office? Bring one of your kids and let them put the mail in the slot. Cooking dinner? Have one of your kids sit at the breakfast bar and help you chop the veggies. Walking the dog? Let one of your kids hold the leash. See how you can do that? And if you give your kids some responsibilities during your activities, you are killing two birds with one stone – time well spent and a life lesson given.
Jackie never included her kids in her errands because she thought they would find them boring and she wouldn’t be able to get them done efficiently. And then one day her 9 year old son came into the kitchen as she made dinner. She asked him if he wanted to cut the mushrooms. His eyes lit up and he said YES. She set him up with the biggest, safest knife she had and he cut the mushrooms. They weren’t as perfect as she might have made them, and it took a bit longer than usual, but the look on her son’s face as he wielded that knife and the chatting they did as he cut them made it all worth while.
#2 – Recognize the difference between quality and quantity time.
So many moms don’t do the things that they want to do because they think they just don’t have enough time. They don’t exercise because they think they need more time than they have, so they just give up the whole thing. It’s the same with spending time with your kids. You don’t need to spend an hour with them and organize some fancy activity. Talk to them in car on the way home from school. Take a few minutes at bed-time to really connect. Whenever you can, ask them about themselves and their experiences. Just make the minutes worthwhile.
#3 – Make a date.
I know this goes against what I wrote above, but I believe that you should have regular dates with every important person in your life (including yourself!). Our lives are so chaotic and jam-packed and it’s important to take the time to connect with the people who are important to you. So, make a date with your child. Go to the movies, get some ice cream, take a drive, indulge in a little fast food. Make a date and make it memorable.
One of my clients made an effort to take her kids camping every year. Just her and her kids. No spouse. They eat jiffy pop and marshmallows, go miniature golfing, and stay up late around the campfire. It is a special and memorable time every year, one that they all look forward to. You can do something like this, or smaller, more frequent outings.
#4 – Get involved in their activities.
Kids these days are busy, busy, busy, just like their parents. What better way to share time with them than by partaking in one of their activities. You can volunteer to coach their soccer team, be the classroom mom, or be the designated driver to summer camp. Better yet, you can get involved in an activity with them. You could enroll in a class together… martial arts, ballets, arts and crafts, anything that you are both interested in.
A client of mine enrolled in a sewing class with her daughter. They had both always wanted to learn how to sew and this was the perfect opportunity. They got to spend time together, laugh together when they made mistakes and ultimately each made a piece of clothing that will always remind them of their time together. Priceless.
#5 – Get off your phone!
I am sure this one bears no explanation but no list about spending time with your kids is complete without it. Basically, time spent on your phone, tablet, or laptop is time that is not being spent with your kids- no matter how good at multitasking you think you are. So, when your kids are around turn it off. If you do, you will find the time to do the suggestions above. And your kids will love you for it.
We moved to Tokyo when my kids were little and when we asked them what they liked best about living there they both said, “mom’s cell phone stayed in Maine.” Telling…
Your life is chaotic, jam packed and crazy but it’s still important to find ways to make more time with your kids. Doing so will improve your relationship with them and will allow you to go to bed at night feeling a little less guilty. Wouldn’t that feel great?
What do you do to spend time with your kids? Creative ideas would be appreciated by all, I am sure!
I am a NYC based Certified Life Coach and mental health advocate. My writing has been published on The Huffington Post, Prevention, Psych Central, Pop Sugar, MSN and The Good Man Project, among others. I work with all kinds of people to help them go from depressed and overwhelmed to confident and happy in their relationships and in their world.