How to Have Quality Time with the Kids

quality_timeBeing a divorced mom is hard for reasons different than some people might think. A widowed friend recently shared on her blog that she was jealous of divorced moms that had every other weekend free from kids. Granted, she was thinking in terms of having free time to cultivate a new relationship. But when I read it, I felt such sadness because I can’t stand missing things in my kid’s lives when they’re not with me on those weekends they spend with their father. When my kids were babies, I was overwhelmed with the 24/7 care, lack of sleep, and everybody always needing something from me. I couldn’t wait for an excuse to escape. Yes, a trip to the dentist was like a spa day to me.

Later when Jack and Anna were old enough for preschool, I again looked forward to a break in my day. If I timed it right, I could fit in a short hike or run, a trip to the store, and maybe another errand before it was pickup time. But I also wanted to see them in their school environment, so I gave up my time to volunteer at their school.

Now I’m divorced, and although I pickup the kids most days after school, I share custody with their dad who has them some nights during the week and every other weekend. I admit, I’m lucky in that I get along with their dad. He also has very nice girlfriend with kids, so my children have a new family per se.

I knew this would happen, and I accept it, but with it comes with some pain.

My son Jack called me this morning from Lake Tahoe, “I love you Mommy.”

“I love you too Jack. See ya soon Buddy.”

They’ll be home in just a little while after being gone for a long weekend of skiing, building snowmen, playing charades, and who knows what else with their other family. And tonight we’ll sit together at the dinner table and share our usual dinner conversation.

“Favorites,” I’ll say. And they’ll probably fight over who gets to go first. Then each in turn will share their favorite three things of their day, but maybe they’ll want to include the whole weekend. If something happened they didn’t like they can share their least favorite too, but I hear less of this the longer we do it.

This is one of our traditions, a family tradition we started long before the divorce. I’m grateful for it. I’m grateful for this time together where I can really focus on them and listen and hear what they think is important. And they too want to hear from me, and that feels so good.

Although I think we’re all in a better place now than where we were a few years ago, there are the tradeoffs. I have to make the most of my life. And I’m trying to do that. And with that in mind, I’m so much more aware of making the most of my time with my kids. Quality not quantity, it’s so simple and true.