Parenting can be challenging and children don’t come with a manual. We worry whether we are giving them enough, or giving them too much, and feel guilt on a daily basis. Most of us make a lot of mistakes, but fortunately, we can learn from them and we can grow to be better moms.
There are many opinions and “ways to mother” out there, but I think we all can agree that our children want meaningful time with mom. In fact, they say that to a child, love spells T-I-M-E. And time (right along with sanity) seems to be what we moms lack most.
[Tweet “To a child, love spells T-I-M-E. #motivationformoms”]
Recent statistics show that mothers are now the primary breadwinners in a record 40 percent of households with children under age 18 –up from just 11 percent in 1960. 37 percent of these moms are married, while 63 percent, are single moms. Women in the U.S. spend 33 hours of chores a week if they are single, increasing to 36 hours a week if they are married, whether they work outside or within the home.
If you think about everything else we do as moms, as wives, and as individuals, and everything we juggle and strive to balance, it gets harder and harder to carve out that sweet time our kids need to feel they are loved, they are heard, and they are important.
I am passionate about this issue because it was my desire to be with my daughters and the struggles, obstacles, and limitations along the way that served as a catalyst to designing my life in a way that includes lots of time with them. I work from home and I homeschool them, but guess what? Even then, there are lots of distractions that can get me off track if I’m not intentional.
I believe it was Mary Kay Ash who said that everyone is born with an invisible sign around their necks that reads “make me feel important” and that is truer in the forming years. The main focus of our time with the little ones needs to be attention.
[Tweet “Everyone has an invisible sign around their neck that reads ‘make me feel important'”]
Most of the time, a child that lacks attention at home will resort to seek attention for negative behavior. This can cause:
- power struggles and meltdowns
- angry, aggressive, withdrawn, anxious kids
- troubles in school
- chaos in the home
- inability to get your kids to behave in specific ways
- feeling unappreciated for all you do for your children
- fear and anxiety about the state of the world and your inability to always be there to protect your children
- and ultimately, can lead to substance abuse, crime, and even suicide.
That is all very scary, but on the other hand, when a child feels loved, safe, and cared for at home, he/she will:
- experience more joy
- communicate effectively
- be more resilient
- thrive in their school work
- effectively manage anger and frustration
This, in turn, will foster:
- a more harmonious, stable and joyful home
- a closer, more connected relationship with your children so that they naturally want to please you and comply with your requests.
- the satisfaction and joy of knowing that you are becoming the best mom you can be-and helping your children to thrive, and
- even healing of your own childhood traumas and wounds!
So, yes, there are many mistakes moms make, because we aren’t perfect. My theory is that if we can get this part right, and we share meaningful time with the kids, then it’s all good. Here are three distinctions that can help us in this area:
Investing vs Spending ~ Start seeing your time with your kids for the joy it is. Don’t think about what you are missing out on, but think that you are investing and you will get a great return on your investment. When you spend your time and energy with your children, you are actually saving time and energy and creating a partnership that will pay off for years to come. I know that sometimes teaching our kids the simplest task can take hours, and we may feel tempted to do it ourselves – like extremely tempted! Now that my girls are becoming young ladies, they love helping out, and I don’t know what I would have done during a very difficult pregnancy if they still depended on me to do everything for them. That’s when I found out the long hours of
torture teaching had paid off.
Children with assigned age-appropriate chores are more confident than those of the same age who don’t have any responsibilities.
Quality vs Quantity ~ There is a myth that you need lots of time to really influence your children; however, I know for a fact that you can definitely make an impact if you are intentional about the few minutes you do get to be with your children. It’s all about being present with them and making the most of your time together.
For example, teach them values when you are in the car, picking them up from school or dropping them off, take advantage of each possible teachable moment to teach them life skills.
Compensating and Overscheduling ~ Our world is functioning at a frantic pace. Kids are exhausted and overwhelmed with activities. It’s not just about learning and having fun, but about modeling behaviors, making eye contact, teaching them how to make empowering choices. Spending a whole day at the zoo is no use when you are short with your answers, or do all the talking. Attending their sports events is not creating a bond when you’re texting when they look at you from the field. Find wholesome activities you can do TOGETHER, like volunteering, and involve your kids in what you do. My girls have become young entrepreneurs through being a part of my work, and they have learned a lot!
Do what works for you. Ask yourself: What can I say, ask, or teach that will help my child be happy, confident, and successful?
These distinctions will dramatically impact your life and I promise you will start seeing the results in no time… plus, you will avoid making mistakes where it counts most, where it matters to all moms, no matter our background, preferences, and lifestyles, because we all want our kids to know they matter!
What tips can you share to make time with kids more meaningful? Leave a comment and let us know!