One of the hardest things about sharing time with your kids with your ex is the simple fact that it means you get less time with your kids. There are so many demands on your kids’ time… school, sports, activities, playing with their friends. And then you have work, laundry, grocery shopping, bill paying, etc.
Starting a new company from scratch has been even more time consuming than I anticipated and it’s been a real struggle to find balance in my life. Especially in this day and age, we feel a constant pull to multi-task… you have to cook dinner while helping your kids with their homework while screening emails in case you get an urgent one after hours, all while focusing all of your attention on each task, which is of course impossible. I read this article on work life balance and loved it so I decided to add to it and make a list of my own also.
Since my time with my daughter is limited, I’ve been really focusing on being present when I’m with her lately. It’s definitely a challenge since I’m so used to multitasking, but it’s been really refreshing to have just one thing to focus on! Here are some things I’m doing to help me keep my focus on my daughter when we have time together:
1. I unplug. I turn on my autoresponder on my email and I set my phone to ‘Do Not Disturb’. That setting will allow emergency calls to come through and also allows me to receive calls and texts from anyone marked as a favorite. But it also allows me to minimize distractions from work and social media.
2. I ignore the chores. I don’t ignore the chores all the time when I have my daughter, because I do have her most of the time. But when we have a Saturday together, I put the chores off till Sunday. That way, we can have the entire day together, creating memories and enjoying each other’s company. We clean up after meals, but we save the laundry and the grocery shopping for another day.
3. We make plans. I’ve found that Saturdays can disappear quickly if you don’t plan ahead. My daughter and I love to go out on little adventures like biking a new trail or attending a local event or visiting the water park or pumpkin patch. We have a calendar hanging in our kitchen and we pencil in big activities on our Saturdays together. On Saturday mornings, we make a more detailed list of things to do during our day: Saturday morning cartoons, bike ride to the park, lunch together on the back deck, trip to the apple orchard, dinner out, and card games by the fire pit before bed. Those days are the days I feel most present and connected to my daughter.
4. We’re active together. I don’t always have time to squeeze in a trip to the gym, but I love being active with my daughter and it’s a great way to stay present! We love hiking on trails, riding our bikes, going roller skating, and jumping on our trampoline. Being active keeps us focused and I think it keeps me young. And it’s hard to think about work or dirty dishes when you’re practicing your dance moves on roller skates.
How do you make time with your kids special? I would love to hear your ideas!