In addition to being the Program Director for Soccer Shots, I am a mom to a rambunctious and amazing two year old. I care deeply and passionately about the program, so I often spend time outside of the office thinking about work.
As February rolled around this year, a time where love is everywhere, I began to reflect on my relationship with my daughter. Do I show the same passion at home? Does she feel loved?
It’s no secret that being a working parent is a balancing act. So here I am, sharing my story, as well as my challenge to myself, and to you, if you accept. For the rest of the month, I am going to make a conscious effort to ensure that I have quality time with my daughter. Notice I didn’t say more time with her; I know that would be hard.
I’m committing to putting my phone away when I get home from work, and leaving it there until she goes to bed.
To engaging in conversations (those limited by two year old vocabulary) when we’re in the car on the way home from school.
To enjoying the time we spend walking the dog together, instead of rushing.
I want to play with her and the toy kitchen she got during the holidays, the train track too. I’m not sure we’ve fully enjoyed those experiences together yet, and the toys have been strewn around my house for a month and a half now!
Why, you might ask. And why did I make the distinction that this isn’t a challenge of increasing the quantity of time spent together?
Quantity vs. Quality: Research published in the Journal of Marriage and Family (Milkie, 2014) shows that there is actually no relationship between the amount of time parent’s spend with their children and how they turn out. These findings include children’s academic achievement, behavior and emotional well-being.
Now this doesn’t mean time with parents isn’t important. The important factor here, that does lead to positive outcomes, is that the time spent is quality time – such as reaching, sharing meals, talking and engaging one-on-one.
Now, don’t get me wrong. I’m not perfect. I know what the research says, and still there are days when it all goes out the window in our house. But we try, and as long as we’re asking that of ourselves, we’re in a good place. So here’s to more conversations, more peaceful walks, and more play time with each other. What are your favorite quality time activities?