Time on our side

It was just daughter 1 and I for a couple of hours tonight. I cooked a special meal for her and I really enjoyed doing it. I wanted to do it. I kept an eagle eye on the time so that it was ready for her when she walked in the door. She asked about my day and I told her some of the little details that I wouldn’t normally bother with in a busy house, because they would get drowned out. In a busy house I lower my expectations of what I can achieve, yet I raise my expectations of my girls. I snatch at conversation and so it feels as if I snatch at parenting them too. I bark my expectations to them and struggle to find the time to listen to and explore their responses and explanations. In the quiet and calmness of the house tonight, I had the mental energy to let my guard down, in the knowledge that if it backfired I had the time to rectify it. In a busy house I cannot take that risk. There is no time for risks. As parents we must follow the parental code, laid down by…by who? Dictated by how we were raised, by the media, by how books tell us to do it? Tonight, with time and space, I felt free from these societal restrictions and I just relaxed and chatted. It was calmly liberating. Nothing earth shattering – it just felt so different from how I normally am.

It got me thinking about how as parents, we are so constrained by so many factors, all of which are setting our expectations of parenting. Our gut feeling gets lost amidst the Facebook feed and the Pinterest. We talk to our friends and other mothers at the school gate about how to manage a situation, but by then the moment has often passed. Save that thought for the next time it happens, we think. But the next time it happens we are fraught with anger and anxiety and a lack of time.

A lack of time. None of us have time. Teenagers don’t have time to listen to parents anyway, because we will be upstaged by the next Snapchat notification that must be responded to for fear of rejection from the people who really seem to matter to them right now – their friends. We must accept this and in the hustle and bustle of our busy lives it is quite easy to let it go, albeit with a moan, but we accept.

We accept, we moan, we listen, but all in a very busy way. All within the context of a very busy life. So tonight was a treat. For the time it took my daughter to eat the meal that I had lovingly prepared, we were able to chat without fear of jealousy or interruption from siblings. Without fear of saying the wrong thing, of parenting the wrong way. We had time on our side and it has made me realise that if, as parents we always had time on our side, we might all be a little different.

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35 thoughts on “Time on our side”

  1. It really is hard to find time for things like this, but it’s always so worth it. I try and take the teen out to the movies or lunch whenever we can, but it never seems to be enough. Sounds like a great day. #familyfun

  2. Awww well I’m treasuring the moments that I have with my son as a little person that little bit more now! One on one as often as he wants! Thanks for linking up to #familyfun

  3. This is lovely. I had two hours with my daughter the other morning, now she’s only two so we didn’t have conversation in the way you did but she did have just me time and my undivided attention without it being shared worth her brother. We both loved it and it really did feel special. Having one on one time with your children is brilliant for you and them and it feels like everything slows down for just a little bit. It is time to be treasured. Thanks for sharing this with us at #familyfun x

  4. Conversing with your Kids calmly is important, I understand. My Son is 2 and when we sit down in the evening together, I ask him about his day. Of course, his replies are only limited to 1 or 2 sentences but I am trying to make this a habit. #familyFun

  5. Great post. It’s very hard to keep snatching those moments – sometimes the occasional lift to school, any sort of one on one time, the ads at the movies – it’s just making sure you have moments alone and in ‘pause’ #Stayclassymama

    1. I love this comment: it’s just making sure you have moments alone and in β€˜pause’ – exactly! Thank you for your comments.

  6. Lovely observations about how calm households can help our relationships and familylife (though it can be so tricky). I love your comment about lowering your expectations in a busy household – I worry about this too and hope to be able to find some time for more one-to-ones as the kids get older (especially with the twins!). Lots of links to mindfulness in this post this week πŸ˜‰ too. xx #familyfun

    1. I am sure it is your influence! I have been mentioning mindfulness to my partner a lot more recently. You are an inspiration πŸ™‚ Thank you for your lovely comments.

  7. Loved it. How wonderful to have had that time with your daughter. I fear for when my kids will grow up and won’t have time for me or be more interested in their technologies than their parents. It already pains me thinking of the future (they are 2.5+ and 8 months). Reading your post made my heart happy for you imagining you and your daughter in that moment, eating together. Perfect. #familyfun

  8. It’s lovely that you managed to sneak in some precious moments with your young lady. I’m dreading the day Ben doesn’t have time for me. Right now he’s learnt to put his arms on my shoulders similar to a cuddle so I got a long way to go! #stayclassymama

    1. He may very well always have time for you and still give you those hugs as a teen. I know lots of mums whose teenage boys are still partial to a hug πŸ™‚

  9. Sounds like you had a lovely dinner together. Everything feels better when we have time on our side doesn’t it. I always feel grateful for the amount of time I get with my little one. Thank you for sharing with the #DreamTeam x

  10. I wish I had more time, more time to just be with my son. I get an hour a day with him during the week (sometimes less) and try to jam in quality time on the weekends. I’m glad you found the time to chat with your daughter, that time is so easily dismissed. I love your post because this really highlights how important it is to take a second and just be with your family. Thanks for sharing with #StayClassyMama!

    1. Thank you so much for your lovely comments. I find I blink and I miss a week, or even weeks. Time is precious – it’s a cliche but there is no better way of saying it.

  11. Time is definitely the best gift isn’t it. Time to listen and just be without thinking of all the things that need to be done, all the demands put on us. I’m glad you managed to get this precious moment with your teenager. My two are very little yet but I’ll have this all to come! I hope you manage to get more moments like this xx

    1. Thank you. I hope so too. It is hard in a big family to get that quality time. Perhaps it is hard anyway…but as you say: it is the best gift.

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