When I was pregnant with my first son, I remember having a conversation with my boss and mentor about the kind of mom I would be. She was a working mom and had great balance with her son. At the time, he was a preteen. She asked me if I was planning on being a working mom or a stay at home mom. I know, some of you are like, she asked you what? But she really wanted me to think about the life I was building for myself and knew that being intentional was important. If I was going to be a stay at home mom, then I needed to start planning and focusing on that. If I was going to be a working mom, then I needed to prepare.
I told her that I was going to be a working mom. At the time, it's what made sense financially. Then she said, "Yea, I have always been more of a quality than quantity mom."
It really stuck with me. The word quality. Making every moment with my little baby count. I think as working moms, that's what we all want.
But as our family grew and life went on, I would find myself too tired to always be planning fun activities. Sometimes I just wanted to rest. I would go through times that I was reminded of my old mentor's comment about quality over quantity. Whenever I would long for more time with them, or a birthday would pass, or I would just see a picture of when they were younger, I would remember to make each moment count.
That's when I would pile on more activities, more vacations, more, more, more. I began to feel guilty when I was too tired. Wondering am I doing enough?
Then I realized that I needed to find balance. I was doing with my kids what I had done in my career, pushed too hard. Striving.
While on a business trip, I was working with someone that happened to be a family therapist. We had a little downtime and we got to talking about my family. I was telling her how I try really hard to make the most of every moment. I told her about all the things I would do, the pinterest board full of projects that I would review on the plan ride home. The meals I would cook, the games we would play. It all sounded great. But she saw right through it all. She looked at me square in the face and asked when I knew it was enough. I had no answer.
She showed me that I needed to simplify for myself. I needed time to rest. She also showed me that it wouldn't be that hard.
1. What makes them feel loved?
This is the question that she told me to ask my kids when I got home. "What does mommy do that makes you feel loved the most?" Whatever their answer is, that's what you do. You don't have to keep piling it on. It's great to plan fun things and create memories, but you don't have to try so hard. Just do that one thing and ask the question often.
Quality is still extremely important to me. While that first one is probably the most important, here are two others that have really helped me and I hope they do the same for you.
2. Preparing yourself for bedtime.
Bedtime can be a struggle with your kids. Getting them to go to bed, and stay in bed, is not always easy. Pile on that being tired yourself, it can bring out the ugly in you. I have been there. But it really is a precious time of day and can be a great way to connect with your kids on a deeper level. But you have to prepare for patience in order for it to actually be quality time.
Pray. Set an alarm to remind you if you have to. Take a breath and remind yourself that this really matters and you want to tuck them into bed focused on quality time. Use that time to ask them what the peak and pit of their day was. It gives you great insight, allows to have a deeper conversation and gives you things to pray about with them.
A friend of mine lost her son a while ago (you can hear her story in episode 42). She says the thing that she misses the most is tucking him in at night. Knowing that she won't be able to do that again really hurts. That reality makes me WANT to tuck my kids in. Because I can.
3. Front loading your weekend.
Life gets busy, and when it does all of our best intentions go right out the window. I had some ideas for some things I wanted to do with my kids last weekend, but it rained, and I got busy and next thing you know....it's Sunday night. Then I realized the same thing happened the weekend before, and the weekend before.....I felt like a bad mom.
I decided that I wouldn't let this happen again. Just like I use a morning routine to start my day off right, I would create a Friday night routine to start the weekend off right. Starting the weekend with something fun, and memorable. Starting with what makes them feel most loved.
We only have so much time with our kids. They grow up so fast. Make the time count.
I would love to hear what you do to make the most of your time with your kids. Share in the comments below or hop on over to our FB community and join the discussion.