Need to Take pleasure in Time With Your Youngsters Extra? Spend Much less Time With Them
With working mothers having more responsibilities than either of us alone, we often feel that we don’t have enough time for our children during the week. That’s why we spend every minute with them on the weekends. While that sounds great in theory, it strangely leaves us drained.
We can’t read this funny book that is collecting dust on the bedside table. We don’t get the nap we crave all week. And we’re not getting to grips with grocery shopping and laundry, which would be so much smoother next week.
What’s worse is that we don’t enjoy our time with our children the way we’d like – and then judge ourselves for it. Instead of focusing on our children, we become consumed with thoughts of what else we can do, and we can even resent them for taking up all of our free time. Not to mention, when we’re tired, we beat ourselves up and scroll our phones to give our minds a break for not being around with our kids.
That does not work. So let’s change it.
Independent time makes you happier
If I could magically give you four extra hours every weekend to read the book, take a nap, paint, hike alone, do the laundry while listening to an audiobook, do your Target shopping in peace with a coffee doing or whatever makes you laugh or feel more alive, do you think that during the rest of the weekend you might be able to be more present and enjoy the time you spend with your kids?
My guess is a solid yes. Having alone time to use it however you want is basically every mother’s dream. Having this time to do something that enlightens you would give you the energy and spiritual breathing space to actually enjoy the time you spend with your children.
(As a little side note, if you’re not sure what to do with this time, don’t judge yourself. It’s probably been a while since you’ve had free time and out of practice, knowing you are exploring that you used to enjoy or new things you thought about and you will slowly rediscover what you enjoy doing individually.)
Well, I can’t magically give you four more hours, but I can ask you to consider that it’s your enjoyment of the rest of your weekend with your family. While you may have less time with your children, it will be a better time for everyone.
But how could you ask? Let’s explore that.
Childcare isn’t just for work
If there’s anything you take away from this article, let it be: Childcare (or having your co-parent temporarily single) isn’t just for you when you have work or appointments.
Too many women only join childcare when it feels “justified”, for example for work, a haircut, a doctor’s appointment or a planned event with a friend. Childcare can also be used to create air to breathe, to rest, or to do things that will make life easier for you in the future.
And while it may feel weird organizing childcare and spending time with your children for no “productive” purpose, ultimately spending time with them will help you feel more refreshed and enjoy your children more. Just because it works for you doesn’t mean it doesn’t work for you – everyone will be happier when you are happier.
Set up child protection for your independent time
Let’s strategize how you cover the childcare you need to get this alone time.
One possibility arises from this principle: weekend time does not have to be “whole family time” all weekend long. While family time is great, you can have hours of it every weekend while sharing the remaining time with your partner so that both of you can have independent time.
For example, you could have a standard schedule where you have family time every morning, the kids take with you from 9 a.m. to 12 p.m., your partner takes them from 12 p.m. to 3 p.m. (more if the kids are napping in that window), and you have family time in the evenings . Personalize this for your family and be flexible with it. Such a standard plan will help you and your partner to be independent every weekend. You can do this for a weekend day, both days, or a personalized approach that revolves around kids activities.
Another option, especially if you don’t like haggling over free time with your partner, is to schedule four hours of paid childcare (or grandparent or friend help) on a Saturday morning, for example. This would allow the two of you to have four hours to do your own thing without forcing single parenting on the other.
You could also swap weekend mornings with a befriended mother, watch her kids on a Saturday to give her morning free, and turn the situation around the next weekend. Bring the group together as three or four mothers, and you could have a situation where two mothers are watching all the children and having a conversation with adults at the same time – and the other two mothers have the morning to themselves.
You could also send the kids home to their grandparents or an aunt or uncle’s home every Friday evening and pick them up on Saturday afternoons to make room for a date night and some time to themselves. There are so many ways to do this, and you may find that a mix of these methods will work best for you and your family. Find a path that feels most comfortable for you and give it a try.
quality before quantity
Your kids aren’t counting the hours to see how much time you’ve spent with them. What they remember is your presence, your behavior, and how you made them feel. Likewise, you will not remember how many hours you spent with your children – you will remember how it made you feel. When you are more rested, rejuvenated, and relaxed, you will all enjoy your time more. And isn’t that the goal?
Kelly Nolan is a lawyer turned time management strategist and mother. Using realistic time management strategies, she helps modern working women deal with everything on their plate with less stress and calm clarity. For Kelly’s Free Tutorial On How To Get Rid Of Your Overwork, Click Here.