One thing about raising children- the research is clear on this- is that there is no substitute for spending time with them. Even when they tell you they don’t want you around, the truth is that they do.

Charles Wheelan We Came, We Saw, We Left

I bought my Amtrak tickets the other day. In October I’m going to visit my daughter at college. Hotel has been booked, our Friday night plans are firm, and we are in the middle of figuring out our itinerary for the rest of the time- which museums, what shows, and of course…food. My daughter and I like spending time together.

When she was growing up, I had a rule: if we were all in town at the same time, we had to have dinner together, at the table, at least three times a week (for the record, in 18 years- it only happened one week where we couldn’t eat together as a family). One of the reasons we live in the city is so that my Husband had less commuting time and was able to spend time with her before she went to bed.

I am a firm believer in spending time with your kids.

I am also in favor of rituals and traditions. Pumpkin patch. Corn Maze. Egg hunts. Dinner to celebrate report cards. Special breakfast for the first day of school. Holiday decorations. Etc. Etc. Etc. I like to build a collection of memories.

Of course, these things evolve. When my daughter was 16 I said enough with the egg hunts on Easter- I was tired of hiding them and too old to remember where I hid them. FYI- this is a joke- but I’m trying to say that kids age out of things and that is OK- you can replace them with new traditions. But for the record…if she were home in October she would TOTALLY want to do the corn maze…

Did my daughter always want to spend time with me? I know some of you will be annoyed, or call my daughter a nerd, but yes…if I proposed an outing, she was all in. Now, for the record, let me add…unless something was non refundable, if my daughter had the opportunity to do something with her friends, I was very willing to let her out of her commitment with me- I understand that peer group connections are very important to the developing person, and I wanted her to have experiences and outings with her friends. My ego is strong enough to withstand her wanting to hang with friends…and you know, a relationship is two ways, filled with give and take…

But you have to spend time with your kids…

So….if you have kids, how did you spend time with them? Was it a chore, or were you thrilled with the opportunity? What were your family rituals and traditions?

or

Do you think spending time with kids isn’t as important as it’s cracked up to be?

Discuss

86 thoughts on “Quality Time

  1. It’s very important.. and I cherrish every day with them. I had them at 40 and 44. One is 7 and the other is 10.. so I’m middle of the road. But 7 year old never wants me far from her. And the more I leave the 10 year old boy alone – he cleaves closer to me.!!

    Ahhww.. the creativity of being a moma.. thanks for the heads uo.

    Liked by 2 people

  2. It’s important. I’m not much organized and don’t really keep to routines, but I like spending time with them – when they want to – and they like spending time with me. My oldest will be 16 in Oct. If I tell him, let’s go here or there, he’d leave his friends to go with me. Granted, I don’t leave the house much, but if I have a doctor appointment or something, he’d fight not to go to school so he can go with me.
    Whenever I visit school, my kids are thrilled. They go about calling their friends and teachers to introduce me, or just to give them the opportunity to say hi. I rarely raise my voice, and if I do, they all go quiet at once. They come to me with a problem, and if they have a question, I give them the best answer I have. No “I don’t know” or “just because” in my house. If I really don’t know, I’ll search for the answer if they can’t find it on their own.

    Liked by 1 person

  3. Vital. Forever.

    We need to get back into it, but we used to schedule a ‘date with Mom/Dad’ for each kid (we have six boys). I’m pretty sure we stopped that tradition when Mom and Dad couldn’t even get a date with each other, so

    Now I try to seize the moment. Like you said, we all have to eat dinner together (and clean up together) but I deliberately try to put everything else to the side and give the child a concentrated five minutes or ten or thirty or sixty, if the opportunity presents a foothold if itself. 😉

    Liked by 1 person

  4. Childfree woman here, so I can only speak from observation. IF the time a parent spends with a child is to have fun, then yes it is important to spend time with your child. IF the time is to criticize, then no it is not important– you’ll do more harm than good.

    Liked by 4 people

  5. I think spending time with stepchildren, grandchildren is important. I am fortunate to have grandchildren who call me ‘grandma’ and see no distinctions. Any tie or tradition whether it is seeing them through with gifts every birthday or taking an interest in their lives through social media, by text is important. My stepchildren were in their teens when I married their father. It has been a rocky road as life changes. I certainly understand a lot more now about families during these times.

    Liked by 2 people

  6. I always wanted to know who my kids were becoming, what they found important and why. I still do in fact, and the way to do that is to spend time with them. I used every opportunity to be with them, create memories with them, and simply talk with them when they needed or wanted to. Some times were for silliness or fun, others took us much deeper. Our memory making is different now, but it won’t stop until I’m not around anymore.

    Liked by 1 person

  7. Love all your traditions, LA. Reading this gives me some wonderful perspective on what quality time with kids can become as they grow up.

    Mine are still young (7 and 3) so we spend a lot of time at playgrounds, swimming pools and out walking. But my favorite time I spend with them is reading together. Not only is it one of my favorite activities but I love the snuggling together. Thanks for the reminder of how precious this time is!

    Liked by 1 person

  8. I gave up my career to be a stay-at-home mom. I homeschooled my daughter for middle school so her swimming wasn’t held back. Her school didn’t allow more than 10 days of absences and she was traveling from North Carolina to TX for meets. My husband didn’t pursue management positions because of travel. He was with the kids daily. We had all sorts of traditions and memories as a family.

    Liked by 1 person

  9. I coached my son in baseball and basketball and played ball with him at home. I danced at my daughter’s dance recital in the dads dance and took her to dance every week. We had shows we watched together. Now, we try to have dinner together once a week or so and play some sort of board game when they are here.

    Liked by 1 person

  10. Why bother having kids if you aren’t willing to raise them and spend time with them? When my kids were little I stayed home with them. After they were all in school full-time I worked with my husband. We had our office 2 miles from our house so we could eat lunch with them in the summer and I could be home when they got home from school and be a part of the things they were interested in. My husband was very involved as well. Now, as adults, our kids love to hang around us. I am even standing up in my daughter’s wedding as she views me not only as a parent but a close friend. Yet, I’ve always encouraged them to spend time with their friends who view me as their friend as well, someone they can talk to about anything. I am very satisfied with my relationship with my kids because of the effort I put in to be there for them. I didn’t have that with my parents.

    Liked by 1 person

  11. Time is everything and we too insisted on family dinners at the table each night, including tablecloth and pretty serviettes. Friday nights was chill night as we watched chick flicks with a slack dinner and treats in front of the tv. I organised a house cleaner when I was working just so that my weekends with the daughters ( every second was spent with their father) were fun, bright and cheerful – creating memories together- and not spent cleaning the ring around the bathtub.

    Liked by 1 person

  12. Spending time with your children is a must. It makes them grow up feeling loved and secure. Plus, in most cases it builds an ever lasting bond. However, The amount of time spent together changes over time. I made my sons goody baskets for holidays for years after they were grown. Holiday gatherings were a staple. But life changes. My parents, in-laws etc. passed, one son moved out of state, the other is married and has three children.

    Before cancer I’d still cooked Chanukah dinners, we went to my sisters for Passover Seder after my parents passed, and Thanksgiving was rotated between my sister and I. Cancer and a pandemic changed things a lot. My health had me isolated due to a compromised immune system so it’s been a couple years since I attended group gatherings. FaceTime isn’t the same. But, lighting candles via FaceTime allowed us to be together and reading novels via FaceTime was a way to connect with my grandchildren as well.

    My out of town son visits for Mother’s Day, thanksgiving, b-days etc. And there are times where depending on my health that I can see my grandchildren in person. I feel confident that we as a family built up strong traditions in the past. My brother who is 75 and my sister who turned 70 this past June, still do group texts on my parents anniversary, birthdays and on holidays etc. We are still very close even tho my brother lives in another state. So positive family ties continue.

    Our in person ties have changed due to life circumstances, but home is where the heart is. My oldest son called me over the weekend about a Sherlock Holmes exhibit he discovered. He wanted to take me because he knew I’d love it. Unfortunately, it was two days after my last chemotherapy session and I was too sick to go with him. But it was so sweet that he wanted to go with me. It reminded me of how many awesome adventures he and I went on when I was a divorced single mom raising him by myself . Sometimes those parent- child interactions from their childhood stay with them forever. The exhibit was only there for the weekend and so he took his children instead and hopefully that built some extra special bonding time with them. He always plans a road trip during their summer vacations. And he passed on that idea of family bonding time. So yes, I think keeping children involved is essential. As they grow up sometimes the amount of time changes, but it doesn’t diminish the desire to spend with a family member.. Love and family stays a constant if your time together is a positive one.

    Liked by 1 person

  13. Spending time with my kids was always a priority and it continues to be as adults, but of course, it looks different now. Our best memories were the years we had a camper up north and would go up for a week or the weekend and enjoy time away from home. The mistake we made is that as they got into their teens, they started to complain about going. It was “boring.” We sold that camper and stopped going. I think that was a huge mistake and we should have just kept the tradition, despite their teenager attitudes.

    Liked by 1 person

  14. I do think it is very important to have rituals and to do things with the kids. My problem came when there was an 8 year gap between the first two and the third. The times changed and things that the oldest ones didn’t get to do until they were a certain age, the younger one got to do earlier. Also, with the older two I had a full time outside the home job and with the younger one I was a work from home mom so I was able to do more things with her. I am thankful that all three want to spend time with me and even want to include me with them when they do things with their friends sometimes. My husband not so much. There is a definite difference in our relationships with the kids.

    Liked by 1 person

  15. We have land up in the mountains and we (one daughter) had all sorts of projects we worked on together as a family… building sheds, barbed wire fences, gardens, etc. She’s in her 50s now and she and her husband love to stay up there when they visit. We tell them they’re on vacation, they don’t have to do anything, but they want to because it makes them feel closer to it. We’re still building family memories.

    Liked by 1 person

  16. Wonderful! I have two adult children who still love spending time with us and have carried on some of the traditions of childhood themselves (pumpkin patch, tree lighting at Christmas) I am grateful for every moment although we spent time with them as children and brought them almost everywhere (music festivals, museums) so it now just seems a logical progression!

    Liked by 1 person

  17. We have four kids and I loved raising them. I was an at home mom for 21 years and then took a job teaching other peoples kids for 15 years. We’re retired now but every week we still have family dinners, sometimes several, for anyone who lives nearby. With three grandkids living across the street we enjoy plenty of family time. My son who lives in Portugal is visiting for an entire month and this mama is overjoyed! 💕C

    Liked by 1 person

  18. Spending time with your children is extremely important, especially when they’re same gender (mother/daughter, father/son). I’ve always made a point to spend time with my two daughters with me, and then separately, because they have two different personalities. I think the alone time was really important so I could get to know them on an individual plane, and so they can feel comfortable knowing they can talk to me about anything, which I think they do.

    Liked by 1 person

  19. It seems now that my kids are older and have their own families we spend time catered around the grandkids. I find this rewarding especially as I see my kids doing there favorite childhood activities with their own kids!

    Liked by 1 person

  20. Sooo important! We did “dates” with our kids as individuals and family nights. Going to the park with Daddy was something they loved! Going shopping with Mommy and Aunt Annie’s soft pretzels at our favorite place in tbe mall.
    Still enjoy going to look at Christmas lights together at TinyTown. A place nearby with lighted miniature houses and shops.
    Thankful that we took the time. And just last week my 20 year old son said we need a date time again Mom, what do you want to do. 😊 Warms a parent’s heart to hear those words. ❤❤

    Liked by 1 person

  21. As a lone parent, my only option was to prioritise my time outside work – so my social life was a non-event for a long time. Was it a chore? No – I enjoyed it. Even the teenage taxi years – in fact, especially those. For you’re there, you’re always there – so you become invisible and trusted all at once. Best thing I’ve ever done (or will do) is to parent my daughter. I adore my grandchildren, and hope my daughter will have the same experience with them as I was fortunate to have with her.

    Liked by 1 person

  22. It’s absolutely important! I stayed home with mine for 20 years so I could and I’m grateful for every minute. We have many traditions, big and small. For us, the family dinner is important, although now that everyone is nearly out of the house, it happens less often. We still have our Thursday nights for anyone who is around. Although I don’t post first day of school pictures on social media, my college kids have always sent me first-day pictures from school for our personal archives 🙂 Great discussion point!

    Liked by 1 person

  23. Spending time with your children is very important. It builds a strong family bond. We have all kinds of family traditions. To keep them alive, my daughter asked me to write them down. I made a month-to-month list that included pictures, activities, and recipes. I put them into a three-ring binder and presented the binder to her as a Christmas gift filled with love.

    Liked by 1 person

  24. I believe it is very important to spend time with our kids, and our grandkids too, if we have them. Family traditions bring a sense of continuity to our lives (although we do have to be flexible about the ones we keep and the ones we outgrow). Good for you to choose to live where your husband has more time at home for you and your daughter!

    Liked by 1 person

  25. I loved it. Just loved it. We didn’t have much cash when we were first married but that didn’t matter. So many great times. From toddlers to teens( mind you I still have nightmares thinking about some of those times. Our eldest daughter was a nightmare!) Now they are all living away, married and I have a grandson who is just amazing! So I’m very lucky that way.

    Liked by 1 person

  26. I’m exactly like you with the traditions. Even after the kids’ mom and I divorced, I still took them to the pumpkin patch and the hay maze; carved pumpkins; watched our usual slate of holiday movies; etc. Hell, even with the kids grown and moved out, I still do most of those things, ha.

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  27. My wife and I have a large gap between our oldest two (20 and 16) and our youngest two (7 and 5). We’ve always been very aware of building memories and now that the older two are kinda “over it” we still get to continue it with the “littles.” I consider us fortunate to have the opportunity to literally do parenting twice … and we soak up every moment we can with them.

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  28. I worked a lot at figuring out the relationships between me and my kids when they were growing up. and I’m still doing that now. I want all and each of us to be comfortable with the interactions, and that has become more of a moving target of late.

    Looking back, I think many of my best family memories were the odd unplanned times we had together but that usually involved one or both or all of us putting in some extra special effort to make it happen.

    We had traditions, usually around events, when they were growing up and, again, many of them have gone by the wayside, at least for now. I have noticed, though, how much families seem to like resurrecting them for the following generations and I’m looking forward to that.

    Liked by 1 person

  29. I think spending time with your kids is very important. I wish we could go on outings together but my husband doesn’t take us out and I don’t have a car. Precovid, I used to spend a lot of time with my son, then with the isolation and being stuck at home with my son all the time, I began getting frustrated from being around my son. Then I moved on to playing board games with him, sometimes arts and crafts. In short, there are times when I spend time with him and times when I’m too hooked on my phone or too anxious or too depressed. My son is 7 so I think the idea of going out with just me is boring to him. He just wants to play with his cousins. We played uno yesterday and also watched a little bit of “the flash” together. Just 20 minutes. We do color together sometimes. I’m just not much for doing anything physical since I got used to living a sedentary lifestyle.

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