A lot of articles have been written lately about “mommy guilt.” This is the feeling that many mothers have when society suggests they don’t spend enough time with their children. To that I say, HA! Listen, quite frankly, guilt is an indulgence. Here is what my grandmother told me about guilt when I was a child—stop doing whatever it is that is bringing on this feeling of guilt, and it will go away. Simple in theory, difficult to practice. However, she was right—we just don’t have time for guilt, AND it doesn’t really solve anything.
Interestingly today’s parents actually spend more time with their children than they did 40 or 50 years ago. So why do we still feel guilty? Most likely it’s because we still don’t know what is more important when it comes to time spent together -– ”quality” or ”quantity.”
There are many opinions out there on whether quality or quantity time is more important, and if we polled all the parents we knew we probably would get a mixed result, as well. So which is more important? Why can’t the answer be “BOTH”?
Time is precious. We don’t seem to have enough time to get all of the things on our to-do list done, let alone spend lots of time with our kids. So make your schedule fit your family’s schedule now and then to allow for time together. You can keep busy and still be accessible to your kids –- have them help you around the house, cook dinner, or run errands with you. Realize that being present, listening to them when they talk to you, and playing what they want to play is just as important as going to Disneyland.
While even the simple times you spend together are important, so are the one-on-one or family activities that you plan. Doing something special can stir up your child’s imagination, create lasting memories, and open up a new world of possibilities for them. Check the newspaper for local activities and “hot spots,” or just do something different. For example, you could “get lost” together and explore a new neighborhood or nature trail, have a picnic at the park with friends, or go to a local sporting event.
So stop focusing on your guilt and focus on the moment. The most important thing is to HAVE FUN with your kids. If you are having fun, then chances are they are having fun, too.