As a mom, how can you define the term “quality time?” But before you answer, let me assure you that the quality of your time spent with your child is not measured by how long you’re together. Sometimes, reality strikes, and we have to adjust accordingly to it. And the accumulation of short moments is enough to strengthen our bond with our children.
I am a busy mom, and I think I will always be. I like to think that I can manage my time efficiently without sacrificing my mommy duties that much. With flexibility and a smart way of compromising, I realized that it is still possible to strengthen my bond with my daughter regardless of my hectic schedule. Here are some ways that you can apply in your daily life:
Daily Rituals to Establish Connection
First of all, I know you’re already raising your eyebrows right now. How are you supposed to integrate bonding time when your daily schedule is already full, right? However, these connecting moments doesn’t have to take a huge chunk of your time. While nothing else can compare with face-to-face activities, sometimes small moments, even if you’re not present can help remind your child that you still love and care for him/her.
When my child was just a baby, I decided to pursue my career. And because I ended up getting very busy, our moments are composed of video calls and phone calls. Yes, she might be too young to remember those moments, but it helps in making myself present in her life.
This also meant that I had to pump in advance to make sure my baby is getting the best nutrition. I can remember having breast milk storage bags like these, and a cooler in my cubicle so I can sneak pumping sessions during my lunch break. Yes, I may not be physically present to breastfeed her every day, but I made sure to have our intimate nursing sessions when I’m home in the evening and Sundays. However, for the times that I couldn’t be there, my husband was the one who was feeding her. This also allowed him and other family members to feed and bond with my daughter.
You can also start with doable rituals that are special between you and your child. For example, my daughter loves seeing notes in her mirror and lunch bag. My husband and I also made it a habit of leaving encouraging reminders on our whiteboard in the fridge door. Again, these things might seem small, but over time, it reminds her that mom and dad still remember and care for her.
Once we get home, we made sure that we read her a book during bedtime. No matter how tired we are, I just see it as a moment she’s always looking forward every day. Forehead kisses and saying, “I love you” before turning off the lights will never go unappreciated as well. And since we’re talking about appreciation, don’t forget to mention that you’re proud of your child when he/she does something good on his/her own.
Let’s say you got home, and he/she already sets the table without you asking. Turn your limited time into quality time by spending moments no matter how small as loving as possible.
Integrate Bonding Time into Your Daily Schedule
Speaking of setting the table, why not as well find easy recipes that you can do in a short period of time. This way, you can ask your little one about his/her day while bonding in the kitchen. Spending time together in mundane tasks that you always do every day can work to your advantage.
You don’t have to be present 24/7 with your child. For me, it’s about the quality of your time spent with him/her. Don’t underestimate the talks while washing the dishes or during bath time when your child is still young. It’s better to do these “time integrations” now, rather than getting him/her used to not seeing you and just staring at the computer in his/her room.
Whenever I’m home, and I’m doing something that isn’t as complicated, I let my child play within my area. For example, my daughter isn’t really loud whenever she plays with her toys. She is not distracting for me as I do my emails, so having her in my office room is doable. Every now and then, I check in on what she’s doing and maybe get served by her imaginary tea, as well.
Switch Tasks with Sitter
Another hack that you can do is switch tasks with the sitter. If you need to run errands such as shop for groceries or cook your meals, why not have her to do those things while you spend time with your child. My sitter doesn’t mind picking up my dry cleaning and buying my groceries while I watch my daughter in the playground. We’re both out and about anyway, so why not switch your duties and have you hang out with your little one instead?
You can also get a helper to do the chores and other errands for you instead of sitter. It might seem like the complete opposite of what most busy parents get, which is a sitter. However, getting someone to do other basic and mundane tasks will allow you to spend more time with your little one instead. If not, your child might be old enough to come with you on errands just like how I take my daughter grocery shopping with me.
Keep a Calendar of Activities
Lastly, this might seem like an unnecessary task, but always keep a calendar of your activities. This works fantastically for me because it made it way easier to check if my work-family life is indeed balanced. If you have been engaging in social commitments for two weekends in a row, it wouldn’t hurt your friends or family’s feelings if you skip the next one to take your child out for ice cream.
At the same time, you can also monitor if your child had enough socialization for the week. Perhaps if he/she had a full schedule of being around peers, then he/she wouldn’t feel as unstimulated. A simple reminder on the calendar app on your phone is enough to notify you of your commitments ahead of time. This way, you don’t end up forgetting anything related to work or family.