Parenting Advice – Don’t Question This One
Kristyn Meyer is on a journey to make herself the best human that she can be. These posts are a reflection of that. She welcomes your support via reading and through commissioned affiliate links within her posts! To stay up to date on all of her shenanigans, please subscribe to her email list! (psst…there’s a free gift involved)
I am very fortunate and blessed that there is so much interest in my writing! To be honest, I never expected to be in the place that I am today a year ago. The changes that I have made internally are exponential. I am so proud of myself!
Because of the success of my writing, I am busier than what I was in the past. Initially, I was given the opportunity to do a six part blog series for a baby safety products company and currently I am writing some guest articles for a new website called Mother Hustler. These are so much fun, writing is my art form. Don’t ask me to draw a cat or paint a still life, but ask me to write an article for you and I’m game.
Due to the new opportunities, my schedule is a bit stretched. Recently I went to a writing conference for the weekend and every moment that I wasn’t in attendance was spent writing and catching up on administrative stuff for the projects. I was finding it overwhelming and took out a piece of paper to graph out my time obligations. I kid you not, I truly did this, and the attached picture below is the proof. To start, I put myself at the center in a bubble and put everything that I do around it. I even included things like reading and tv, because I know that I need down-time. Self-care is vital when you’re busy.
My biggest concern is my kids. They are little, and they are growing so fast. I don’t want to be so busy that I miss a lot of time with them. While drawing this, I was stressing about it – was I a bad mom for putting myself in this situation? Was I neglecting my kids needs? Will they feel like I don’t love them enough? I am already worrying that my baby was going to be a felon, what more do I need on my plate?
How much more can give me guilt?!
After mapping everything out, I wrote the time I am currently devoting to those tasks/items below it. I took a long look at what was there. The total that I saw next to the kids gave me anxiety and I didn’t know how to react.
Overall, it seems like a low number. However, as I came to realize, that number is specifically for kid time. What I mean is that during those hours I am at their disposal entirely. We are snuggling or playing or reading books and nothing else. Those hours mean that mommy is not on her phone or working out, and her computer is not open for working. It is clearly defined kid time throughout the whole week. Additionally, there are many other hours that I am with my kids, but that are not fully earmarked for them. I might be in the same room with them, but folding laundry. Or I might be writing while they are coloring.
You know when people give you the parenting advice that you are enough? Listen to it. YOU ARE ENOUGH.
You’re doing just fine. Listen to this parenting advice. You’re doing just fine.
By the way, it turns out that this graph is actually a thing. It’s called Mind Mapping. You can learn more about it with this workbook/journal, or you can just draw it like I did. It’s freeing and captures my thoughts in an organizational way.
Still, I didn’t feel good about that number. So I Googled it. When in doubt, turn to Dr. Google. I came across this article on The Economist that states the following: “Parents these days spend a lot more time with their offspring, or at least middle-class parents do. One analysis of 11 rich countries estimates that the average mother spent 54 minutes a day caring for children in 1965 but 104 minutes in 2012.”
Parenting Advice – Don’t Question This One
104 minutes, that’s less than 2 hours! While starting to breathe easier, I can see that I am definitely above that. I go to the graph and realize that between morning snuggle time, after work snuggle time, dinner, regular playtime and bath/story time, I average at least two solid hours with my children. Additionally, there are more spent being with them but not directly interacting with them. I’ve never prided myself on being above average, but this was a really pleasant surprise. In feeling neglectful of my children, I am actually doing just fine. In fact, I am doing better even than what the average is.
I’m not here to say that less is a bad thing. I know a single mom who is working and going to school to better things for her family. She has one hour a day with her child. Just one hour. But she makes that hour count. She is completely involved with that little girl for that hour and makes the most out of the time that she has with her.
Less is sometimes more.
Don’t think I’m critiquing. I’m not here to mom shame, just the opposite. Although I am happy to see that I am not in the deficit with the time I have available for my kids, I am even more of the opinion that quality is better than quantity. If I am at home 24 hours a day with my kids but my nose is in my phone for 95% of it, that’s not quality time with them. It’s a lot of time in their presence, but not quality interaction. If I’m home for 5 hours a night and 2.5 of them are spent giving my undivided attention to them and 2.5 is spent doing something else, I think that my children are getting more in return.
Quality Over Quantity
Also, I need to tell you that I’m not the type of parent who particularly likes to play. I just don’t. I will snuggle all day long and I will read a million books a day, but ask me to pretend to be a dinosaur who is going on a picnic and I will fill up with dread. I’ll do it, but I look at my watch the whole time trying to get to at least 10 minutes. Ten minutes is an acceptable amount of time in my head, so I push to get to it even though I am not having a good time. In the end, I know that I will turn to these moments and wish to have more of them, so I do want to take advantage of the opportunities, it’s just not my first choice.
I know that I’m not the only mama who worries about things like this, so let your mind be calm! We are doing our best and our babies know it. We are enough!