Friday, January 13, 2012

'Quality Time'? What's That?

Guess in the '50s this was considered 'quality time'????
Can someone please explain to me what 'quality time' is? I hear a lot about it, and hear that sometimes it's not the quantity of time that you spend with your kids but the quality of the time spent that is what matters most. It seriously makes me wonder what the hell 'quality time' is.

Take our recent evenings, for instance. My kids and I have found the TV show 'Sliders' on Netflix's instant watch, and we've spent the last 3 days watching episodes from it. Not from the moment they get up until the moment they go to sleep (they do have school, you know), but once homework is done, chores are done, showers are taken, yes, we watch an episode or two. So, there we are, cuddled on the couch, watching a TV show about interdimensional travel (which, surprisingly enough, the kids seem to understand- either they are really bright and are going to be time travelling physicists in the future, or my explanation of 'They use that remote thingie to travel to different worlds that are like their own world, but different' seemed to work for them just fine), pausing it every time the kids have a question, talking, laughing, and just being.

Is this 'quality time'? Or am I being a lazy mom and trying to justify this as 'quality time'?

Do you have to actually be doing something active for it to be considered 'quality time', something more than watching TV? Do I have to be teaching my kids how to do something or learning something from them for it to be considered 'quality time'?

Or can we just cuddle on the couch and watch a movie?

I'm actually torn on this subject, because I'd like to think what I do with the kids is considered 'quality time',
but like I said above, it could just mean I'm a lazy mom trying to make herself feel better. My kids and I go out and do things, and we do more active things at the house like have family game night where we play Uno or a board game. But many a night is spent with us, cuddling on the couch, watching a movie or a TV show.

We're cuddlers, big cuddlers.

But, would it be more of a 'quality time' situation, if the kids and I were, say, robbing a bank together? If I taught my 9 year old to drive the getaway car ('quality time' there spent teaching her something), and my 7 year old is just small enough to run and fit through that gap in the bank vault door before it shuts (an active thing to do), so, if we were out, as a family, robbing a bank, is that more 'quality time' than laying on the couch watching Sliders?

Food for thought, huh?

Here are my basic thoughts on what defines 'quality time' (or, what I tell myself to sleep better at night):

  • It has to be spent together, without distractions. No handheld video game systems, no tablets, no computer, and no phone for me. Yes, I'll answer when Hubby calls or texts, but for the most part, my phone gets put in time out.
  • We have to interact with one another. Even when watching TV, the kids and I will talk about funny parts during the commercials, or I'll pause Netflix to comment on what just happened or to explain what's going on to the kids if they seem a little lost. We aren't just silent zombies, even if we're having some lazy 'quality time'.
  • We all agree in the beginning, of what we are going to do. I give the kids options, and we decide, as a family, what the day or evening will involve. That way, no one can sit and pout about whatever it is we are doing.
  • We vary the activities, and are responsible with them. Not every night will be spent watching Sliders, and if we have agreed on a TV night, it's not spent stuffing our faces with junk food. I don't post many pictures of my kids (PMS, or Paranoid Mom Syndrome), but they are skinny as rails and quite healthy kids. I don't want 'quality time' in their childhood to turn them into obese teenagers with horrible habits down the road, so I don't make a point of being lazy every single night, and if we are lazy, it's not detrimental to their well being.
This subject, believe it or not, is something I do worry about a lot, actually. I don't have my kids in any afterschool programs- no dance, no sports, nothing. I prefer to get them off the bus, and just spend the evening together doing whatever. To me, that's the most important thing- being together. But I do worry that the time we spend together isn't productive, or wonder if it would be better to have the kids doing other things, like dance or sports, instead of spending so much time at home. And I'm thankful enough right now to be able to spend the majority of my weeknights at home with my kids, so while the quantity of time has increased, I worry so much about the quality

I like to think that just having a mom at home in the evenings, spending time with them, giving them positive attention, is enough support and stability through their childhood years so that when they become adults they are well adjusted.

I also like to think that by drinking a glass of water before I go to bed at night, it will flush out the calories from those 2 butterfingers, the gummy bears and the popcorn I ate after the kids went to bed, and I won't have a larger ass in the morning.

So sometimes my line of thinking can be a bit.... scewed.

How do you all define 'quality time'? And seriously, the real question I'd like answered is whether or not I'm just a lazy mom who tells herself sugar coated crap to make herself feel better?

And yes, I know a glass of water won't perform miracles like I wish it would. But 2 glasses might...

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