One of my biggest worries in life is that there is never enough time in the day to be the parent I want to be. I have four children, so I’m already on a back foot for undivided time. But our family days are increasingly crammed with ‘stuff’, and before I know it the day has dribbled away and we have yet to play monopoly/build a cornflake box base for the soldiers/baked brownies.
The only thing we do find time for without fail is watching films. All of us piled in a comfy heap on the floor and the sofa, curtains drawn, equipped with cushions and rugs and the odd morsel of popcorn, it’s something we all love to do.
But I want to do more of the other stuff too. We DO do baking, we DO play games, we do lots of fun stuff together. But I rarely get time to just ‘be’ with one of my children. One-to-one activities where they get my sole attention – and I get theirs.
I was one of four too, and I clearly remember the times alone in the kitchen with my Mum as some of the special ones – having her just to myself was a treat not to be wasted.
This article in the Guardian yesterday caught my eye – this paragraph in particular
“The process of listening to someone and responding in speech is the most ordinary everyday task – and the most demanding of social skills. How we read facial expressions, body language and speech to interpret what has been said, and how that expresses relationships, is an immensely complex process. Listening is a huge, much underrated skill, requiring personal preoccupations to be set aside, if only momentarily, in order to be attentive to another.”
Now my boys are older, I already have to fight for their undivided attention (nothing gets Mummy crosser than keeping one eye on the TV/Lego Indiana Wii game whilst she’s talking) – but equally, how often do they get mine?
We’re good as a family at getting out and doing outdoors stuff, but when we’re home, how often we get bogged down in the mire of emails/laundry/adult coffee breaks/bejeweled blitz (curses) and they’re left to their own devices. Now I am happy this is often no bad thing, as they’re very good at using their imagination to create their own games, and it’s good they know how to occupy themselves. but there is a middle ground, and we just don’t meet it often enough at home.