Since I have started working, I continuously fight that nagging feeling of not spending enough time with my kids. While getting back to work was a conscious decision, there are those guilt-filled days when I ask myself if I am doing the right thing and the answer usually is a resounding yes. Back when I was a stay-at-home mother for my toddlers, I would be there for them, by them and with them 24x7, I wasn’t really spending quality time with them (with all the other responsibilities that come with being a stay-at-home mom).
However, that wasn’t the case with Nitin. The kids absolutely loved spending time with their father, especially, once he was back from work. While I was the nagging mother, he was the fun dad. He would come and colour with them, play with them, take them to the park, he would make sure to make it all about them. As much as I enjoyed seeing my happy-go-lucky kids enjoying with their father, I did slightly envy him being the more fun parent.
But here’s what he was doing differently than I was. He was present both physically and mentally with the kids. While I, even though would be with my kids all day long, I had a list of gazillion chores running through. Now that I am back to work, I realise why it was so easy for him to be the fun-parent all the time: because he wanted to. Yes, you read it right. There was nothing in the world that was stopping me from dropping everything to spend some meaningful time with my babies.
So if you are sailing in the same boat, here are some ways in which you can spend some quality time with your babies.
Have a special bedtime ritual
Just before we go to bed, we put on our favourite playlist of songs and dance like no one's watching. Luckily, my kids and I like the same songs. So put on some Abba or Bee Gees or any of your all-time favourite numbers and have a ball with your children. But if dancing is not your thing, read a book to them or tell them a story from your childhood or sing with them. Whatever interests you and your kids, just make it a nightly ritual.
Pick an activity
We paint. My little one loves colouring and painting, so sometimes over the weekends, we sit and paint together. Painting can be so much fun, it brings out a creative calmness in us both and is a great activity to bond. My son and I play carrom board once I get back from work.
Bake a cake
I am a fairly good baker and my kids love the whole experience of baking (in hindsight, I am sure they love making a mess more and licking the batter). It is fun to have them around especially when they know that the cake is being baked only for them. If nothing, you are creating happy memories to last them a lifetime. Imagine the stories you would laugh over one day.
Remember back when we were kids, how much fun it was to blow bubbles? Well, mix some liquid soap and water and hand it over to your kids and see the magic happen. Your kids will love you for letting them go crazy while they blow bubbles. The idea is to play with your kids and they love being with you so why not get in on the fun.
Be a good listener
My older one is not very vocal about his day, especially when I ask him; however, at the dinner table, he will come out with all the happenings of the day or before and at that time he expects our absolute attention. We make sure we give that to him whenever he needs it.
Bond over food
Food is a great way to bond and have conversations with your children. So, we make sure to visit our favourite restaurant to chill and bond as a family.
Leave your gadgets aside
As parents we make a conscious decision to keep our phones or laptops away when we are with the kids as they are nothing but distractions. Plus, you have to set an example for them - at dinner table or during family time, everyone keeps down all the gadgets (phones, tabs, laptops and Kindles).
Doing homework together
Since I am away for the most part of the day, I try to sit with my older one and help him with his homework. This may sound boring but is a great way to make sure that I am in sync with what is going on in school and get to spend a one-on-one time with him.
Remember children don’t need things but they do need our time and absolute attention to grow into happy individuals.
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