As parents we often feel time poor. We can feel that we are always rushing – rushing to appointments, rushing to work, rushing the kids to get ready and rushing to get dinner on the table.
The reality is that life can be a busy time, torn between our roles of parent, worker, partner and family member. We can feel that we never quite make it!
There are many books written about effective time management and they offer practical solutions about organising your time effectively. Today I will focus on how to ensure the well-being of yourself, your partner, children and the family through a balanced approach to shared time. I saw a great acronym once about time…
Let me elaborate….
Together time is where you set aside time to be with your husband/ wife/ partner. You might go on a dinner date, a movie date or an outing such as a picnic, a bushwalk or to the beach. Or, you might drop the children off to Grandma’s or a friends, and have a night alone at home.The focus here is about spending quality time together, doing something which you both enjoy. It’s also about talking with each other – something which is often hard to do when there are young children around! It’s a time of reconnecting and/ or maintaining connection with your partner. As parents we often spend so much time focussing on the needs and care of the children that we forget to nurture our own relationship.
Individual time is where a parent spends time with just one child eg a Mummy son date. It might be watching your son’s sporting match and then going for a milkshake afterwards, or going to a movie you know they’d enjoy or collecting leaves in the forest. It’s a time to strengthen the bonds between you and that child, to talk with them about what’s happening for them at school, or just to listen to them chatting away about where do the frogs hide in the forest – it’s about connection.
Me time is when you give yourself time away from all the care and work involved in having a family, and focus on replenishing yourself. Everyone has a different idea of how to spend leisure time so it could be a bubble bath and painting your nails, horse riding, an hour in the garden, catching up with friends over a coffee or a meal, working on some art or craft activity of yours, or reading a novel with a hot cup of tea! It definitely isn’t about catching up on housework! When we give ourselves the gift of time, we bring back harmony or balance to ourselves. And, we then go back to our parenting and our family feeling refreshed!
Everybody time is about the whole family spending time together – it could be playing board games or cards, watching a movie at home, going camping together, or a bushwalk. It’s about time to cooperate, to play together, to laugh together and to stay connected as a family. This may be just your own family, or it may also include Grandparents or Aunties and Uncles and cousins…. a time to be enjoyed.
Regular doses of these four elements leads to enhanced relationships, stronger connections and often ‘happier’ individuals!
Happy Parenting T.I.M.E!