With the advent of email, instant messaging, cell phones, blackberries and the like, we’ve become so very accustomed to being available to anyone and everyone at all times. This can be a wonderful thing in so many ways, however when it’s time for you to spend quality time with your children and family, or time for you to relax by yourself, then being hooked up and electronically plugged in may become a hindrance to other aspirations you may hold.
Be sure to take the time to unwind with the kids, and disconnect so that your children really do have your undivided attention. I have discovered that I feel so much better after even half an hour of focused playtime with my kids, than I do with one hour of semi-undivided playtime while I am also paying attention to a few emails.
If you are a mom that works outside of the home, you may feel obligated to be at the beck and call of the office. Try not to allow yourself to be at the mercy of your career at the expense of anything that you hold dear to your own heart. Be sure that you arrange times when you are completely free from having to answer emails, text messages and phone calls.
When you find that you do have some free time, try to plan to spend that with your kids. Whether it’s playing at the park, or baking cookies, or reading a book together. My children have shown me how much they appreciate every moment we can all get together, even if it’s simply for looking through a picture book.
If you are a stay at home mom, you still may have times when your cell phone rings and you are tempted to take time away from your child’s mommy and me time. Or, you might feel a need to check your email often – been there. Especially if you work in any way, shape or form online.
A possible solution might be to designate certain times in which you are available to chat with friends, or to plan the next PTO meeting with fellow members, and other times when you are not available. Each day, turn the cell phone off, or at least silence it, and walk away form the computer for a couple hours. Make this time a time for you and your little ones to talk, play, read, exercise, plant flowers or do anything else together.
Write out a schedule, if that helps. I have taken to purchasing a white board which I place on the fridge. Our day is written out, so that my children also know at what time we will be reading together, at what time we will be eating together, and when we will have group playtime together.
The whole idea is togetherness without undue interruptions, and it has worked like a charm. Certainly, I am much more calm for it, and I am better able to tackle my work and projects once I come back to them.
It’s also important to disconnect for your own sake once in a while. As a busy woman, taking time for yourself is paramount- maybe even just for going for a morning walk or jog, or a quiet few minutes when the kids are napping. Turn of the phone’s ringer, and let the email sit.
Put your smartphone down and take some time for yourself, quietly and peacefully. You must have time to rejuvenate yourself, self-rejuvenation is very difficult to accomplish if you are constantly answering calls, emails and text messages. Surely, everyone and everything can be put on hold for a few minutes or an hour?
In this era of advanced technology, it is extremely easy to get caught up in the never-ending flow of virtual communication. To be connected in every way can be an advantage in some ways, but it can take a serious bite out of the time you need to spend concentrating solely on your children, or solely on yourself.
Make a conscious effort not to ‘cheat’ your family out of some significant quality time with you. The moments you allow yourself to have with your children now, especially while they are young, will always be remembered and appreciated.
The moments you take for yourself are no less valuable, giving you a chance to catch your breath before you return to the parenting and work tables – refreshed, revitalized, and ready to go!