Spending Quality Time with Your Kids (When You Have No Time)
When I was pregnant with Owen I did a ton of research (on mom blogs, parenting websites and by chatting with friends) about how to prepare Olivia for becoming a sibling. As much as possible I wanted to try to limit any jealousy or rivalry that I feared would pop up when her status as an only child (*ahem* princess) for five years changed.
As it turns out the transition was relatively bump-free. She loves her little brother. She is so interested in all the new things he does. She wants to help – even though we have consciously tried to limit how much we ask her to do. Sometimes I feel she actually “over” loves him. At one point we even had to ask her to limit the kisses to 100 per day – a bit of an exaggeration but it had to be some number close to that.
Sounds like a pretty rosy nine months, huh?!?
Well, as it turns out, it’s not the typical sibling rivalry that has me struggling. It’s time (or lack of it) that has rocked my world. I can’t seem to find enough of it. I guess I discounted how much extra time I need in a day to breastfeed, keep up with laundry, prepare for daycare, run errands, etc. I must have blocked out in my brain how an infant makes all these simple activities take 5x longer.
To help out with Owen’s care and giving me some rest my husband was awesome about planning special father-daughter outings. It was great that I had that time with Owen and that Olivia got special daddy time – wouldn’t trade either of those experiences. What we didn’t do was switch it up so we could have equal time with the kids. After all, I was feeding Owen every two hours for a while and then we sort of just got in the routine – even when Owen was able to go much longer between feedings.
I knew things had to change and a perfect opportunity presented itself. I was heading outside to plant my garden – another chore on my list – when Olivia asked to join. I was so glad for the offer of help. And, as it turns out, she taught me an important lesson that day. I realized that I missed her. I missed laughing with her. I missed being silly together. I missed just enjoying her. And I learned that it was so SO important to make time for each child – even when you feel like you have no time.
I’m still trying to adjust to our new family dynamics and balance out my work and life. But I think I’m making progress – even if it’s a quick round of Go Fish in between laundry loads!
What are some of your favorite ways to spend quality time with your children?