What's Enough?

Parenting is difficult, and if you're anything like me you are constantly evaluating yourself and your relationship with your children.  I want my children to grow up knowing that I am always there for them, but that they can still be independent and make their own choices and decisions.  Whether they are right or wrong makes the experience - this is how they (we) learn.  I want them to feel safe and to trust their instinct.  One of the biggest questions that I ask myself is how much time should I be spending with my children?  I'm with them all day, but how much of that time am I spending with them, one-on-one or the three of us together.  And, does it matter?

Our day-to-day seems like it can be a little monotonous.  Wake up, eat breakfast, brush teeth, the kids play in their room while I make coffee and wake up.  Then, we all get dressed.  We run any errands we need to do.  If there is time, the kids will play with play-doh or color/paint while I make lunch.  After that its nap time for Scarlett and Liam gets to watch a couple of his shows while I work on writing or editing photos.  Once Scarlett wakes up from her nap she typically sits with Liam to finish his shows while I finish up.  Then we go downstairs and have a snack.  After snack we either make a craft project, look at books, kids play in their room, or if the weather permits, I take them outside to play.  The hour right before dinner is their "technology" time.  This is where they get to play on their Leap Pads while I get dinner ready. Once a week they go to gymnastics and once a week we go to the library.

I watch them.  I color with them, or play in the snow with them or read a book (or many) to them.  However, I try to encourage them to be independent a lot of the time.  I spend some time in their room with them, but not too much.  I feel like that is their space where they can be whatever or whoever they want.  I mediate when necessary and keep an ear and eye open at all times.  As much as I'd like to watch them all day every day, I feel it's not only smothering to them, but myself as well.  I can let them do things on their own without ALWAYS being there.  Right?

 Liam with Truck and Trailer, 2015

Liam with Truck and Trailer, 2015

My fear is that I'm going about this parenting thing the wrong way.  How much time is too much and what is too little?  Well, I googled it.  I found a couple of pieces of info that I thought were interesting.  First, my concern is a common fear amongst parents.  Many of us, in some way, are concerned with the amount of time we spend with our children.  This made me feel much better.

Second, their behavior has everything to do with what they need and want.  Sometimes, children can't always explain to you what they want or how they are feeling.  Feelings can be quite confusing to kids and we as parents need to empathize with that.  So, I started paying attention to the kids behavior.  I have noticed that Liam starts to do things that he knows he's not supposed to do, and he is doing this because he wants my attention.  Recognizing this and working with it has helped me identify when I need to spend more time with him.

I did find another blog out there that talks about this same subject.  She brings up a great point.  When we were kids, our parents weren't always right there with us.  I spent much of my childhood playing outside in the dirt and pool, or inside in our make believe store.  I didn't think twice about why my parents were or were not there.  If I needed them, I knew where to find them.  And with that, in another article I found, it was concluded that it's not the quantity of time, but the quality of time that is spent with our children.  I think so too.

Namaste.


Articles I found:

http://behavioralchild.com/ask-megan-full-time-working-mom-concern/

http://blog.themarriageandfamilyclinic.com/2013/03/are-you-spending-enough-time-with-your.html

http://www.telegraph.co.uk/women/mother-tongue/7564580/How-much-time-should-we-spend-on-our-children.html

http://www.parentingbytrialanderror.com/2009/01/26/how-much-time-should-we-spend-playing-with-our-kids/