It’s no secret that quality family time is something every parent aims to make a top priority. But when you have so many other responsibilities (both planned and unplanned), that time seems much harder to achieve on a regular basis.
I certainly know the feeling! Between being a mom and building and completing different projects (including traveling for my recent book tour), maximizing my time with Rainbow and my husband can be tricky. Because when I’m there, I want to be mentally present as well.
Even working at home can present a unique set of challenges when dealing with the “mom guilt” we feel when we have to step aside from our kids to finish our work. I try and remind myself that I am also setting an example and teaching my daughter a little about time management and tackling responsibilities when I tell her I have to finish a chapter at my laptop before I can play, but I still feel bad!
With everything I’ve pushed myself to make time for (and goals that I still aspire to achieve), I’ve learned a few things along the way. Here are a few quick tips to make family time possible with my busy schedule:
Force Yourself to Set Strict Deadlines
As a working mom, it can seem harmless to check emails while playing with your child or spending time with your husband. But this can lead to bad habits in the long-term down the line, and less attention that your family is looking for. Your family needs your undivided attention — that’s what building a family bond is all about. By instilling diligent deadlines for unplugging from email, phone calls/texts, and all other priorities, you’ll not only be there for your family, but provide yourself a little time to unwind to. I’m not always successful, but I try and stay off of social media on Sundays, for example, because that’s usually our “family day.” It’s nice to clear your head every once in awhile.
Ask For Help
If you have a long to-do list of errands and tedious tasks that can be fulfilled by someone else, don’t be afraid to ask for help! The minor errands seem to be biggest time suck in a busy day, so avoid clogging your daily to-dos with tasks that others can step in and help with. So whether you have your spouse prep dinner, ask your babysitter to run simple errands, hire a housekeeper, and/or take grandma up on those frozen dishes she’s always insisting to make, find a way to nix those 30-60 minute tasks that clog up your day. It’ll open up more than you thought possible.
On top of setting strict deadlines, it’s also vital that you avoid over committing. As working moms, it can be easy to say “yes” to things and not understand the impact it will have on your schedule and family time down the line. While it’s certainly been difficult at times, I’ve slowly learned to assess what opportunities are worth committing to. And, if something comes along that is too good to pass up (or unavoidable), evaluate whether you’re able to let go of another task or event.
Listen and Act Based on What Your Family Needs
While making time in your day is the biggest hurdle for most of us, listening to what your spouse or children want or need is a less obvious piece of the puzzle — but an important one. If you’re going to be diligent about carving out time, make sure you’re making that time fulfilling for everyone. If it means more to your child to be at their soccer game versus seeing a movie, for instance, make it happen! Don’t get in the habit of opening up your day just to do it — make that time count and listen to who needs what the most.
When it comes to quality time spent with your family, it can seem like the most difficult thing in your day. But by being mindful of what your time means the most to each person, tuning out of all other responsibilities when it’s time, being okay with saying “no”, and allowing yourself to ask for help, you can truly do it all. My family is my life and I’m so grateful for the chance to be there for them while achieving my own personal goals.
I would love to hear your thoughts on how you work to bring your family together when life gets crazy. Leave a note in the comments!