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Working Mom Thoughts: Spending Time With Your Kids Might Just Matter (Part II)

The kids and I at Myrtle Beach

As a busy working mom, I would love to believe the results of the recent study published by the Journal on Marriage and family that says the amount of time you spend with your kids doesn't matter, but I don't. Unlike the experts who wrote the report, I am not familiar with the data. However, I do know my kids and the time I spend with them matters.

The Amount of Time I Spend With My Kids Matters

My four and a half year old complains that I am not around to pick her up from school and play with her after school. She comments when I miss events. She also keeps track of who attends her birthday parties and who was absent. And the one year old tracks my every move when I am at home like he works for the CIA. My daughter calls our time together, "mama time".

Hanging out with the kids

Both children value "mama time". They crave "mama time". And they seem to need, "mama time". I'm their mother and I can tell. It would be really nice to believe that the quantity of time spent with children doesn't matter because being completely present for "mama time" is hard. I have many demands competing for my time and I have a whole lot that I hope to accomplish. Accomplishing things takes time, focus and work.

"Mama time" tends to be a HUGE interruption. It involves a series of cuddling, laughing, and eating. I can't accomplish much during "mama time".  It interferes with my ability to blog, send emails and keep my house clean. If I didn't value the importance of it, I would be tempted to rush through it and find something more important to do. Because I am human and busy, sometimes I do find other things to do instead. And I struggle with that. However, I try to give my kids what they need because they are the most important things in the world to me.

Listen to your heart and not reports to identify what your kids need

Hanging out at The Children's Museum

Let's be clear, I am not judging other moms and being sanctimonious. Clearly, I work full time and don't spend nearly as much time with my kids as some other moms. I am also as much of a fan of getting rid of mommy guilt as anyone. However, I think that we need to be careful about relying on reports by well meaning researchers to dictate what happens in our households. Instead, we should look inward and not outward when making choices about the kind of time we spend with our children. We should keep our fingers on the pulse of our kids, identify what they need and give it to them. If we do that, we won't have to consult reports about whether our kids are getting what they need because we will be able to observe it.

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