March 15, 2008

Spending time with your kids

How do you balance life between taking the time to enjoy it with yourself or with your partner and spending enough time with your kids? My wife and I have had plenty of discussions about what it really means to spend time with our kids. I think personally it's those moments when I've got my littlest one on the bed and I'm making her scream with laughter, the times that our middle child and I play fight like we're ninjas and those instants that our oldest and I sit on the couch with her head on my shoulder. Those are the moments not only I'll remember forever, they are also the moments I think they'll carry with them. It's especially fun when, during the warmer days, my wife and I go all gunge-ho with the girls in the backyard using the garden hose and a bucket. They run around squealing and laughing their heads off and so do we. But am I naive to think of just these moments as time enough with my kids? Should I be more active in their lives? Of course I should. I'm guilty of getting self-indulgent and ignoring them. I think every parent has done it at one point or another. I should help our two older daughters with their homework more often, sit and watch their new Barbie movie with them and invite them into the kitchen when I'm cooking to help/learn. I'm not the perfect parent and I'll never claim that throne. I want every parent out there to know that and accept that, you'll never be the perfect parent but if you really love your kids and show them that you love them, those small moments will mean the world to them; even when they're 35, married and have kids of their own. Ask yourself, at least once a day, did my son/daughter and I have at least five moments today. If you can't remember or can honestly say "No we didn't", than start working on it. You might not hit your goal right away, it may take some time to really get the hang of it. That time will come though, when you can say "Yes, we had some very special moments today", and when you can say that, you'll feel like a million dollars. Your kids need to learn independence, how to spend time with themselves, have an imagination and so on and so forth; but they also need, very much, those memories of their parent/parents spending that time with them. Those kind of memories make them better parents, people and, in general, can be a really nice day booster when life's not going so well.