Too often as parents we put too much emphasis on working, keeping up the house, and doing those things that adults must do. There doesn’t seem to be enough hours in the day to do everything that life demands. Between working full time, commuting to our jobs, shopping, cooking, doing dishes, cleaning, laundry, making sure everyone has done their homework, getting baths done and every other little thing that needs our attention, there just isn’t time to get it all done. Although it isn’t intentional, the part of parenting that gets the shaft is the quality time spent with our kids.
At the end of the day, our kids don’t really care if the laundry is folded or the dishes are done. They want time with their parents. Quality time, doing something that they enjoy. When they are grown and look back on their childhood they’re not going to think about how spotless the kitchen floor was (or wasn’t). They’re not going to remember you having to match socks in the morning before school. What they’re going to remember is their favorite book you read to them at bedtime. They’re going to remember the trips to the park to play on the cool playground equipment. They’re going to remember you playing catch with them in the backyard. They’re going to remember the time you spent with them.
When you look back at the years spent raising your kids, are you going to remember keeping a spotless house, or are you going to remember the times you made a blanket fort in the living room and “camped out”? Are you going to remember making sure your kids had a green vegetable at every meal or are you going to remember those times you tickled each other and laughed until you had tears? Are you going to remember keeping the laundry caught up or are you going to remember making cookies together with your kids?
As a parent of adult children I’m here to tell you that the fun times you spent with your children making you both happy will be what you remember. You’ll also remember something else, how fast it went. Sadly, we don’t get a do-over when it comes to rearing our children. They grow up way too fast and before you know it you’re packing your infant off to college. All those missed opportunities to do something fun in order to get the chores done can never be replaced. Make time for your kids. The dishes will wait. The laundry will wait. The other chores can be done later. Make sure you spend some quality time with your child each day so that you both look back on their childhood with fond memories and no regrets.
Time. You can’t buy it, and you can’t get it back once it’s gone. Don’t waste your kid’s childhood on chores. Instead, spend more of it with them, enjoying them and learning with them.
Parenting. The days are long but the years are short. Spend them wisely.