“I don't know. Just something.”
Have you ever heard those words? I hear them often, and I hear them as a plea for quality time. In this family, with all the noise and the busyness and the work it takes just to keep everybody fed and clean, quality time is a precious commodity. In fact, we have to fight for it.
What is quality time?
Quality time: meaningful interaction with the people I love. Going out to dinner with my husband, and having a good conversation--this is quality time. Sitting in the same room with him while we both half watch a TV show and half play around on the Internet-- not so much.
Quality time is heart-connection, a time when two people are together, in the same world, with each other...really with each other; mentally together.
We have all felt that familiar craving to be understood, or just valued enough to be given attention from someone we love. We must receive it and we must love each other enough to give it.
But why is it so hard? I love my children dearly, yet some days, quality time seems like too much to ask. It seems like one more thing on the list of things that will never be done; like one more mommy job I am doomed to constantly fail.
Obstacles to quality time
Why is this so hard? Here's my short list. What else would you add?
The Stuff Must Be Done
I need to organize this, clean that, sweep this, fold that, sanitize this, pick the cat hair off of that. . . and the little people are simply in my way! The tasks! The tasks! Don't they see the tasks that need to be done as quickly as possible right this very second?
LOL a cat video!
I need a little break from the tasks, is that so wrong? A little humor, a little facebook, a little pin-spiration for just a few minutes; these things are sure to restore me to patient, fun momma. Soon. Just let me send this one email...
We Have Places to Go
Why can't we ever find anybody's shoes in this house? I don't know where your new dinosaur is- just leave it and HURRY UP and get your coat on! Tell me your joke after you buckle your seatbelt! We're running late!
The obstacles to quality time are many, and each one plays on our tendency to want to think of our own desires before our neighbor's.
These obstacles, these distractions, they are the competition. These are the things with which my children (and yours) must compete every single day in order to get the attention they need.
They must compete with the chores, the full schedule, and distraction of all distractions, The Internet.
Think for just a moment how much pressure that is. They must compete with The Internet.
Real life, at normal speed, with the phonics and the daily bickering and the multiplication tables and the shoe nobody can find, will never be as exciting as The Internet.
Children simply cannot compete with The Internet.
And they shouldn't have to.
It is not necessary to take a vacation to Florida to give our children some quality time. It will slow you down, but they can help with chores, and you can listen to jokes while you drive the car.
Simply making positive eye contact can give your child a shot of love straight to the heart. Positive eye contact- not “look at me: You are not supposed to lick the dog, do you understand me?” but simply taking a second- truly a second!- to see your child, and smile, and be lovingly available.
I think that is the key: Loving availability.
Consider with me today, what can you cut out in order to make yourself more lovingly available to those around you? Do you need boundaries around your time on the Internet? Do you need to give up your hopes of a clean house? Do you need to leave the house with the kids so the tasks will stop calling to you and you can focus? Do you need to make some space in the family schedule so you can simply breathe and be together?
Make room in your day, in your schedule, in your soul and on your lap, today, and give your child the gift of quality time.
The battle we face to love each other is a battle against our own sinful selves, and it can only be won through Christ. Thank you for Your Word which has made us your own. Thank you for calling us out of darkness, out of the selfish ways of the world, and into the light of your loving presence. Help us to live in the light, with hearts open to You and open to each other. Teach us to see and serve and love our neighbors with the gift of time.
In Jesus' name, Amen
Mommy Time Fail
Mama, can that wait?
This is post #4 in my series on motherhood and the five love languages.
Did you miss one?