The other day, at 1:30 in the morning, I peeked into my daughter's bedroom to check on her before heading to bed, and realised I had spent maybe 15 minutes the day before actually conversing with her. The same for the day before that.
Photo by Symphony of Love
I've been working overtime, taking on extra projects. My family's used to this, but I realised at that moment that I don't want them to be, or for quality time to only be relegated to the weekends.
On the good news front, the Washington Post reports that quality time trumps quantity, so we parents should stop stressing about how much time we're spending with our families. And the New York Times reassures us:
Of course, you can't have those transcendent moments unless you're together — to some small extent, quantity begets quality. And that's where this research should come back to reassure parents. We are spending time with our children, particularly when you look, not at one bad day, but at a week, a month, a year, an entire childhood spent together. When we are questioning ourselves, we tend to look not at the cumulative sum of our time, but at what we fear we've missed. We don't need to spend every minute with our children, or every minute engaged in intense togetherness. The time we spend apart (sleeping, working, studying, building blocks, playing sports, staring into space) brings something to our interactions, too. It's time to look at our family calendars as half full, not half empty.
Still, I'm reminding myself to spend more time and energy where I reap the most rewards.
How's your work-life balance going?
Making time for kids? Study says quality trumps quantity [The Washington Post]
Quantity Time Begets Quality Time, and Parents Spend Enough of Both [The New York Times]