Having real quality time with your family is vital for you! Not only for your children but you also.
I took me time to get there
I’ve been struggling for a couple of years with my wish of real quality time with my children and husband during days off. I can’t remember the number of time our weekends were interrupted by one of my breakdowns about this subject. It was just me begging for a real family quality time.
Even now that I eventually found a way to get it included in our weekends, it’s a constant work in progress, and it’s still on the edge of being forgotten. I believe I earn them so cherish them. Why? Because they are my reward, my special treat. I’ve spent so much time and energy trying to make myself available for my 3 loved ones, that I believe I deserve some peaceful times with them during the weekends in exchange for the good job.
You must ask for reviews
In the professional world, if you do your work you get paid, you can even have a raise, or have more clients, earn more money. This time is your reward, icing on the cake, occasionally you have some thoughtful reviews, which is even better! When you are a student you’ve got some tests regularly, and then if you did your job you have some excellent grades, you have a diploma and good reviews from the teachers, etc.
As a Mom, you need to have something back from the job you do. You must create your rewards. Some rewards that are directly beneficial to you. Your kids being happy and do great at school makes you proud, but it’s not rewarding to you directly. It’s not enough. You must enjoy your family too; this is the better way to feel great after all you’ve done for them.
Do you know why you need this? You need this because it’s what keeps you going. I’m writing all the time about weekends and vacation we spend as a family, and all the time we spend together playing board games or going for a walk in a park. It usually doesn’t come on a plate presented by my two teenagers and my husband smiling at me when the weekend starts.
The lack of quality time when children are growing
There was a time when I had no trouble to have this fantastic, rewarding time. It was when they were 5 years old! For me, it was a long time ago. Then, came the time when they stopped being curious about anything new. My gosh! My kids started to have a mind on their own! Where is the world going! I knew this would happen. But honestly, at the time I wasn’t prepared. During a few months, a couple of years even, quiet weekends began to be interrupted by a Mom (me), winning, begging or fighting. I had my little weekly breakdown because I didn’t receive what I supposed was rightfully mine.
The truth is, you must ask for your reward. Your husband, your children, being teenagers or not, have a little life on their own. They won’t notice that you want something if you don’t say anything. How would they know? You’ve spent your life telling them to brush their teeth, pick up their things, and come to seat at the dinner table when it was time to eat. You ask them what you need from them all the time.
Ask for it, as you do for everything else
You have always told them what you wanted them to do. You must be consistent here and keep saying them what you want! You’ve taught them to rely on you as far as the household is concerned, it’s your job to light the green light for a family quality time.
You deserve that time. Whether you work in an office or from home or go full time for your family (and in that case you deserve this, even more, I will explain why in a minute), you need to spend time with your family without thinking laundry, homework, cleaning, cooking or doing the grocery. You need to have fun with them too.
You, more than anyone else in the house, need to unwind your mind and step back regularly from this supportive role you are endorsing as a part-time or full-time job. You don’t want to turn into a disillusioned Mom when your children are teenagers. Honestly, who can say “I want to be one of these disenchanted Moms with grumpy teenagers, it’s one of my dreams!” No one wants that. How many of us fall easily into this trap without a fight? Worse even, you could spend years fighting like Don Quixote against windmills.
There is another way
Fight wisely, or better, do not fight at all and ask for it. You’d be surprised how willing your loved ones are to give you a little love if you openly ask for it. But it’s essential that you do so because your sanity is at stakes here.
This time is crucial for you Lady, go for it!
I did my homework; you know that I love to google my ideas and understand what the “trending” issues or responses around them are. When I looked up “Benefits quality time family” all the responses were about how beneficial it is for young children. Ok, but I can add 2 more fundamental things:
- If you find the right way, it’s also beneficial for teenagers
- It’s also utterly highly beneficial for you
You need a rest, a break. Everybody does. People who work in an office go back home, student leave school to go back home, people who work from home take a walk before and after their day of work. But how do you do when you need a rest from your “home job.” Even worse when this is your only job. You spend your whole day in it. It’s great, but it takes the energy out of you little by little, until one day you wake up empty.
Whether you are working or not, this is a job on its own. You love your family all right, but it’s a job to take care of them. So, as we agree it’s a job, you need a regular break. Otherwise, you are going straight to the real significant breakdown, or you’ll quit which is even worse. Let’s be clear, you can’t stop loving your family, so it’s bad news if you quit caring for them.
Create your deserved break
One of my weekly tasks is to think about that precious moment the following weekend.
You have to be proactive here. If your children are not old enough to be winning during family time, it’s not too complicated to have a good session. You simply have to find something fun, preferably an outdoor physical activity. The whole family will come back home very happy. Being outside is also a perfect way for you to step back from your “home job” because you are physically not at home.
If they are old enough to spend most of the day on their phones (I’m not only talking about your children here), it’s going to be more difficult. But it’s doable! Despair not: I made it, you can make it too!
If you are already deep into the “grumpy teenager” situation, you must play a smart game. Don’t be too hard on them. If you force the thing on your teenagers, they will go backward. I’ve read about a Mom that wanted to reconnect with her two teenage daughters. She started baking cookies as a back from school snack. After a day or two, the cookies started disappearing, then her daughters came to seat at the kitchen table and had a cup of tea with their mother. Job done! No cry, just a cup of tea, some homemade cookies, and a good chat every afternoon.
Be smart and be patient. All teenagers enjoy homemade treats or a walk in nature in the end (yes, the power of trees is remarkably on your side for this one: My First Experience of Forest Bathing). Try until you find your match, and then you keep going.
Remember it’s important for you!
Have I said that already? Yes, but let me it one more time: this quality time with your family is crucial, you deserve it, and you must make sure you have it on a regular basis. Don’t wait for the summer trip to spend one week with them. It’s not enough! You can’t possibly hold your breath for 348 days, have some fresh air in your lungs for 7 seven days and hope everything will be all right. Weekly quality time is the least you deserve!
Find below a downloadable sheet. You can print it, pin it on your fridge, so everybody is aware that you are waiting for a good relaxing time together. This list of ideas will be your springboard, then go wild and find some ideas on your own! Click on the image below to see the downloadable PdF.
Here is my inspiration for your “Family Quality Time Project” list, all year around these 12 days of Christmas are packed with good ideas for quality-time, whether it be with your family or your friends:
You can also read this article about family time: