As parents, we know the importance of spending quality time with our kids, but we often end up doing what they want to do (and not so much what we want to do).
Don’t get me wrong, this isn’t necessarily a bad thing. The mantra “keep your kids happy” rings true for many of us multi-role women. It makes sense to want to keep our kids happy, right? But what happens when they’re happy and we kind of aren’t?
What if following through on that promise to take them to the zoo resulted in spilled drinks, sweaty t-shirts, and utter exhaustion to the point where you’re cranky and anxiously waiting to get back in your car to charge your phones (which you may or may not have given to them to keep them quiet for just a few minutes)?! And by “you” I mean me speaking from personal experience, of course.
It is possible that if kids are happy, mom is naturally happy…but what would happen if we reversed the formula and began living by the mantra “If mom is happy, kids are happy”?
Personally speaking, when my “tank is full” from having done something I enjoy, my kids are much more likely to cooperate (or maybe I’m just better equipped to deal with tantrumming – is that a word?) The gist is: when we fill our tanks, we can more effectively and enjoyably lead our children.
Your happiness is just as important as that of your child/ren.
Finding a Shared Interest
If you find yourself having a hard time getting quality time with your child/ren in a way that is fulfilling for both of you, find a SHARED interest OR something YOU enjoy that is suitable for everyone.
So often, I tell myself that I will spend more quality time with my kids but then it doesn’t happen. Life happens, or the thought of going to the zoo or any park on a hot Miami day makes me sweat while seated in my 65-degree apartment.
Zoos are overrated and SO freaking expensive. You don’t have to take your child/ren there or to the carnival (where you know you’ll spend more time standing in line than doing anything else) to take on an activity that leaves you both happy. When it comes to the list of ideas of potential shared activities, it’s definitely not a small world (after all). As for Disney, go if YOU want to.
Your kids are better off seeing you happy than miserable and annoyed. The greatest solution to spending time with your kids and doing what you love is finding what I call “The Double-Love Activity.”
The Double-Love Activity
The Double-Love Activity means finding win-win activities where you and your child/ren BOTH love (or at least like) what you are doing.
Do you love karaoke? Take them!!
There are incredibly cool new venues popping up all over the place where you can rent out spacious and comfortable rooms and choose your own music. Prepare yourselves for singing the night (or day) away, children’s songs included!
P.S. Karaoke works beautifully for spouses too!
If you’re on a tighter budget, consider the low-low-cost forum of the great outdoors. Personally, I love getting in exercise whenever I can. Something as simple as going for a walk with my kids is a great way to get some movement into my schedule and my kids LOVE going on walks.
Our family LOVES playing monopoly together- probably one of our favorite things to do. I love it because it teaches kids basic money principles, and the value of investing. It’s so funny to hear our 8 year old say she wants to mortgage her properties, and our 4 year old (who serves as banker) tell us we “need to stop spending so much money” (verbatim). Apparently I still have a lot to learn about real estate investing.
Another idea is finding a project that has been on your task list forever and tackling it together! For example, I keep cookie dough in my freezer for times when unexpected guests show up (which happens pretty often). My girls and I have often turned making cookie dough into a fun family activity that kills time and fills our hearts and tummies. My 4-year-old knows the cookie recipe by heart, so she loves to take the lead.
Any form of Double-Love Activity is a win-win when it comes to spending quality time with your child/ren AND doing something you love. These are the activities that leave you relishing opportunities to hang with your child/ren to the point where one day, maybe just maybe, you may want to go to the zoo just so you can hang out with them and enjoy some good ole fashion monkey business.
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