It's so easy to get caught up in it all. When you have more than one child, the days float away from you. No matter how fast you try and get behind things, so you can unwind with your family and get that much-needed quality time in, it doesn't always happen.
Even if you have one kid, no matter how old they are, there is still something amazing that happens between you two when they know you are whisking them away to spend time with just them.
That's why I pick up my youngest from school every day at 3:30 p.m. Then I take the long way home on purpose.
For me, its been a time to connect with him after a long day apart. It's literally a five-minute rendezvous, but when we get home and are met by his siblings and the dog who's jumping at our feet, I feel like we've reconnected and we know about each other's day. Having that time together also helps us decompress a bit, so delving into the rest of the evening feels more doable. My energy is renewed, and I believe his is, too.
To kids, getting their parent's undivided attention is a gift we don't give them enough.
Scheduling alone time was something I decided I wanted to do ever since my kids were tiny. My mom had done the same with my three sisters and me growing up. It always made us feel special and we'd look forward to it. Now that we're grown, my mother still makes it a point to spend time with her kids—together and alone.
So, for minutes, hours or even a full day, I would take one of my kids—just them, no exceptions—and do something special. Sometimes, I plan something. Other times, I ask them what they'd like to do. It could be something as simple as getting ice cream or lollipops at the local country store. Or it could be a whole day filled with adventure. There are times when just sneaking away into their room to read a book is a delicious half hour with only them.
It's funny, because they usually want to do something very small and I'd think to myself, if it were me, I'd ask for a whole lot more.
But then I realize this is all they really want: alone time with me, no matter how grand.
Because, let's be honest, as much as we try to be in the moment, it's difficult because we are juggling so much. I've realized that, to kids, getting their parent's undivided attention is a gift we don't give them enough.
So, I'll keep stealing these moments away with just one of my kids. Even if it's just a walk out back while the other two are busy on the front porch, the time together still counts in a big way, for both of us.