As I mentioned in my previous article, our feelings aren’t always accurate and need to be challenged. They can often point us towards helpful and sometimes confronting truths. Facing those truths, and getting to the bottom of them, can help us to make changes for the better.
- Feeling guilty
- How not to be a jellyfish
- Things I’ve learned from my four-year-old: Acknowledging feelings
For me, my guilt (that niggling feeling), was asking me to take a closer look at how much quality time I spend with my kids. Parenting expert Nathan Wallis defines quality time as when we are, “Truly present with our children. Emotionally, spiritually, and physically present.”
I’m with my kids a lot, and so is their dad. Our days are probably like yours – full, busy, and sometimes rushed. There’s a difference between quality and quantity time. At our place, we have quantity time sussed. When I took a step back and looked at the week as a whole (link to previous article) my husband and I spend over 50 hours per week with our children. I realised that what was making me feel most guilty was a lack of quality one-on-one time, so I carved out a couple of those 50-odd hours to make sure I spend time with each of my children by themselves. This is where it’s helpful that I know about my kids personality types and love languages.
I’ve also acknowledged that even if I can’t carve out that one-on-one quality time as often as I’d like, the day-to-day time when we’re just ‘doing life’ counts too. I remind myself that I don’t have to be perfect.
I get to spend many hours a week with my kids. We have time. Now when I feel guilty about how much time I spend with my kids, here’s what I do –
- Acknowledge those feelings.
- Challenge the accuracy of them.
- Check in with myself and remind myself of the quality moments I’ve had with my kids lately.
- Take stock about whether I may need to carve out some one-on-one time for one of them soon.
- Take comfort from the knowledge that I know what to do to deal with my feelings.
As I’m dropping off my girl to her first day of school in a few months, I don’t think I’ll feel guilty. I’ll feel grateful for the time I’ve had with her and that I still get to have with her for the rest of our lives.