This reading with helpful tips is dedicated to all the busy parents out there, working hard to bring up a family.
WORKING PARENTS & THEIR PROBLEMS
The Problem of Not Enough Time
One parent expressed the problem in these words: “There is never enough time to get everything done at home that needs to be done. It is the same on the weekends. Just about the time I feel I have everything done in the home, and want to settle down with the kids or do something for myself, it’s Monday morning again.”
There’s always something to do, whether you’re a full-time working parent, a part-time working parent, or a non-working parent. The important thing is to realise that your children are the first priority. The rest of the time must be planned accordingly. Once a mother chooses to work, it is impossible for her to continue to do everything she did when she was a non-working parent. You have to make choices & decide what is really important for you, & eliminate the rest or find other ways to accomplish the same things.
Here are some solutions that may help you find more time to be with your children.
1. Take turns. In order to stretch time to meet all your commitments, it is vital to share responsibilities. Such sharing must be flexible, based on the individual’s needs & the particular situation. If one parent tries to shoulder all the responsibilities in one particular area all the time, he or she is likely to feel overwhelmed, resentful, & exhausted.
Some families utilize this concept creatively by allowing each parent “free” evenings. Prime time with one parent is better than half-hearted time with two. Monday & Wednesday are Mom’s evenings to go shopping, write letters, visit friends, or whatever. Dad knows that Tuesday & Thursday is his time off. Just an hour to do your own thing can give you a new lease on life & you will return to your children with renewed energy & enthusiasm for parenting.
2. Establish a routine. It can save precious time, since everyone knows what to do next & what his or her responsibilities are. It is also true that when children know what to expect, they can be more helpful.
Children, especially young children, need the consistency that routines assure. As a nursery school teacher I often observed the difficulties that a child had when a mother worked irregular hours. The child would be brought to the center at various times–in the middle of a story, during art time, or even halfway through nap time. These children usually had severe adjustment problems–unless they were highly adaptable children. Farewell time was especially difficult since they never knew when Mom would show up again. If the parent brought the child to nursery school on a regular schedule, the child could adapt more easily to the idea of separation.
All children need a regular time each day at home with their parents. Both children & parents are growing & changing daily, & if you habitually miss daily time together, you soon realise that you don’t know each other very well. In addition, there is a warm sense of security that pervades children when they know their parents are consistently there when they need them.
3. First things first. Limit newspaper reading & watch 30 minutes of daily news on TV instead or listen to the radio while you are involved in another activity. Limit TV viewing. Let the nonessentials wait. As you plan your day or evening, list everything you’d like to do, then rank these items in terms of their importance & level of interest for you. Start the day–or evening–with the most essential, highest-interest activity & proceed from there. Prime time is too short to get bogged down with nonessentials.
4. Think convenience. When you decorate your home think about convenience. Semigloss paint is easier to wash than flat. Waxing floors is a hassle; choose nonwax vinyls. Cleaning up spills is much easier on a tiled or vinyl floor surface than a carpeted surface. Never buy a knickknack unless you really want to invest time in dusting it.
Fresh flowers may boost your spirits. If so, fine. If not, decorate your home with dry flower arrangements.
When organising the kitchen, place everyday tableware at a level easily accessible to the children. They can more readily set the table & unload the dishwasher this way.
5. Limit non-family outside social activities. Instead, plan social activities that include the family. Don’t be afraid to ask, “Mind if we bring the kids along?” When entertaining business associates, why not invite them home for a simple meal & an evening with your family, rather than subjecting them to another restaurant? They probably will never forget the occasion.
6. Wait until the kids are in bed. The evening hours–from the moment you walk through the door after work until the children’s bedtime–should be prime time for the children. For most kids, these hours are the best part of their day. And if you aren’t careful, this prime time will be eaten up by various projects that, with a little planning, could be scheduled after the kids’ bedtime.
7. Get organised. Work efficiency is diminished in the midst of chaos. Searching for lost objects can waste valuable minutes. Effective organisation does take time, but it takes less time to handle things consistently than to wait until a situation has grown out of proportion.
If the children are encouraged to keep their rooms neat, cleaning is relatively simple. But when clothes, books, & toys are left scattered all over the floor, both children & parents panic at the sight. How much better to stay on top of clutter!
8. Don’t go it alone. The most successful prime-time parent does not do all of the housework, cooking, laundering, and yard care alone. We all need help & support, even if it’s just emotional support.
9. Plan special ways to spend time together. Every family has to find its own special ways & times to get together. Carefully consider your favourite group activities & plan specific ways your family can participate in these activities more often.
10. Pretend Mommy’s in Africa. Every prime-time parent occasionally must spend extra time on a project in order to meet a deadline. When children’s emotional needs are adequately filled on a regular basis, they can usually cope with short periods of less parental attention. When this happens in our family we play the “Pretend Mommy’s in Africa” game. I’m always pleasantly surprised by the self-sufficiency my children exhibit during these times. They even pride themselves on helping me with my normal housework & meal preparation activities.
During an “African trip” to finish this book, a note was pushed under my study door. “Dear Mom, Do you have time to fly home & give us a back rub before bed? Yes?___ No?___ Love, Kim, Kari, & Kevin.” I marked “yes,” & delivered the answer in person. After all, I’m a prime-time parent!
Excerpt from : PRIME-TIME PARENTING!–By Kay Kuzma