When your children begin telling you how quickly the years pass and how they feel like time is moving too fast, it really makes you stop and think. This photo is from 2007 when Conor was 3 years old and Pierce was 9 months old. While I would not change anything, I can say that through the years I have learned a few lessons about how I want to spend my time.
Even before any children were in the picture I remember feeling guilty about time… and because as a working mother you are always reminded by everyone around you that you are making a compromise, how to manage your time is constantly on your mind. For those of you who have read my story you know that I have struggled with this issue of women judging other women rather than supporting them, for many years. I still remember the “judgy eyes” from my friends and female colleagues when I would tell them about my career decisions. There was only one woman, and it was a woman who was a full-time mother who told me that as a mother I should be more focused on the quality of time I spend with my children, and not the quantity of time. And I took that one to heart! I can say that ever since Conor was born, when I walk in the door, I am 150% focused on my children and their needs – whether it was playing Thomas the Train for 2 hours straight while singing the jingle “…there’s two, there’s four, there’s six, there’s eight…” (for a minimum of 3 years straight), or racing cars around the coffee table while watching the racing scene in the movie Cars and acting out Lightning McQueen, or making up “knock-knock” jokes while re-learning pre-algebra, I make my best effort to put on a happy face and engage because these are the moments our children remember.
Another very wise friend shared with me that he has found a theme that successful people share; successful people credit their success to the consistent, one-on-one quality time they had with their parents. Over the years I have heard other personal stories stating the same thing and articles that reinforce this belief. And it just makes a lot of sense. That sounds great! But I’m sure you’re asking yourself, “How do you institutionalize something into your schedule when you already feel overwhelmed”? Here’s how I have made it work – first, keep it simple because it is the ordinary, daily routines that can have the greatest positive impact on our children, not the extraordinary activities or events. At our house, every Saturday morning my husband and I rotate on who we take to breakfast for our special time. And even if we have basketball games or other activities, there’s enough time to maintain this routine before the day starts. The conversation, insights, and connection this routine develops is beyond special and I highly recommend it to others. We also have family share time on Friday nights and in these discussions I learn from my boys every time! It is very interesting the topics and issues that come up that don’t during the normal course of the day!
Conor is no longer the little baby he was in this picture as he is quickly transitioning into a teenager, which has made me think about how I spend my time even more than I already do. Time is truly a gift and something that can only be given and accepted if it is made available to you. I have some strong beliefs and I will admit that when it comes to the concept of time, I take it very seriously. Quite honestly, I am offended when people tell me that they “didn’t have the time” to do something they said they would do because everyone has the same 24 hours in a day. I would rather someone tell me that they chose to do other things that were a greater priority to them over what they committed to me. How you spend your time matters, it matters a lot and it matters even more as our lives get more complicated. If you care about someone, give them your time and your 150% attention because making the choice to spend your time with them is truly a gift!