Spring Break has come to Chicago. As we approach this holiday weekend of Easter and Passover, family time takes over. Many of us will be enjoying food, and visits with relatives and friends as we celebrate and relax and spend some “quality time” with each other.
Parenting and boundaries…do you embarrass your kids or do you shame them on Facebook or even in your blog? As parents, we probably should learn some boundaries when it comes to “talking” to or about each other on social media.
We as parents do terrible things to our teens all the time. Our fashion humiliates them, we hold their hands in public or try to kiss them goodbye in front of friends. These are hurtful actions to our teens who are sometimes awkwardly maneuvering into adulthood while trying on different hats. Sometimes it’s slow and plodding, sometimes it’s at breakneck speed but always it is a path they are attempting to make for themselves and though we’re invited along for parts of the ride it’s appropriate for us parents to stand back a little and let them explore their worlds.
I love cooking but on any given day it can be a challenge putting dinner on the table. As a young parent, I definitely had more energy to accomplish this task, but as a grandparent it has become difficult with maintaining weight management and making healthy choices for three generations in the meal planning. I really related to this new mom, who wanted to have home made dinners but cooking was no longer a relaxing time for her in the kitchen.
This became a habitual meditation — imagining my pre-baby dinner routine every time I sat down to feed my baby. Cooking had been my relaxation habit for years, the chop-chop-chopping of onions and the swirl of oil in a pan my fragrant, rhythmic ritual for slowing down after a hectic day. I loved it, and the memory of it calmed me when I needed to be patient with my fussy eater.
“Quantitiy vs. Quality Time” is always a parenting discussion. Do you use weekend time as quality, quantity time?
As an exhausted parent who doesn’t get enough time to work out, who hasn’t seen a grown-up movie for months, and who wishes that date night were an actual night rather than an idea, I understand why so many of us might seize on studies suggesting that we should take more time for ourselves. Perhaps we should. But we should do so without relying on misleading research. Far better that we make our parenting choices informed by the broader set of more reliable studies, which Ms. Kalil summarized for me as suggesting “that when parents spend high-quality time with their children, their children are more likely to succeed.”
Of course, you can’t have those transcendent moments unless you’re together — to some small extent, quantity begets quality. And that’s where this research should come back to reassure parents. We are spending time with our children, particularly when you look, not at one bad day, but at a week, a month, a year, an entire childhood spent together. When we are questioning ourselves, we tend to look not at the cumulative sum of our time, but at what we fear we’ve missed. We don’t need to spend every minute with our children, or every minute engaged in intense togetherness. The time we spend apart (sleeping, working, studying, building blocks, playing sports, staring into space) brings something to our interactions, too. It’s time to look at our family calendars as half full, not half empty.
Hoping that you all have a restful, enjoyable weekend!