Spending Time with the Kids

I believe one of the best ways you can show someone you care about them is by spending time with them doing things they’d like to do. And on that theory, I’ve had a goal to spend time with each of my kids doing activities of their choosing.

This is a great goal on the surface for a number of obvious reasons, but I’ve found it’s also a very difficult goal to actually keep going. For one thing, I have three children and only one me. It’s true that Denisa also spends time with the kids doing a variety of things (skiing, taking them to practices, etc.), but for this goal, I really wanted it to be me spending personal time with them. In my head, this would be something I did every day, even though I recognize that getting this done every day is just not going to realistically happen. Take yesterday: I was out the door at 7:20, and when I came home at 4:20, the kids were all gone skiing with Denisa. I had a Stake Presidency meeting at 5:30 that ran straight into a Stake Council meeting at 7:00, and I wasn’t done until 8:45. The kids didn’t get back from skiing and youth activities until 8:00 or so, which means that I saw them all for a grand total of about 15 minutes the entire day.

But I still keep the goal at a “daily” level because I know from experience how goals tend to go for me. Look at it this way: by having the goal as a daily goal, if I miss once or twice, I still do things with my kids multiple times a week. If, on the other hand, I make it a “once a week” goal, and I miss once or twice, then suddenly I’m down to only having done something with them a couple of times that month. This is definitely one area where I feel it’s better to set an unattainable goal and still constantly strive to achieve it.

(Side note: I suppose I could add a “Spend time with Denisa” goal, but she and I spend time together every day out of sheer habit at this point. It’s very rare that we don’t both sit down to talk or watch a TV episode or part of a movie each night. It’s just the unspoken rule of how our house runs. So I suppose I have an unwritten goal to make sure that never changes, but in practice, it’s not a goal I feel like I have to expend any energy toward reaching. Spending time with the kids, on the other hand, seems to be trickier for me. Too many moving parts to keep track of, I suppose, so I need to have that goal there to remind me.)

In practice, what does this look like? It varies for each kid. MC is on a big Minecraft kick right now, so I sit down and play Minecraft with her for a half hour or so each day. More, if I have time. We happily go about digging for diamonds or building rooms in our survival mode world. (No monsters on as of yet, because MC isn’t a fan of blowing up by Creepers.) Tomas and I play a variety of games. Often it’s Magic, though recently we’ve been playing a lot of Gloomhaven. He’s much busier than MC, however, so I typically only get to play with him twice a week, give or take. On the other hand, it’s usually for a couple of hours at a stretch, so maybe that offsets it some.

For Daniela, it’s been trickier finding something for us to do together. We’ve done some drawing activities, and we’ve read books together, but it’s been hard to find something that’s easily replicable. Playing Minecraft is something I can do without really having to think too much, so I can do it even after a long day at work. Reading out loud, drawing, and the like are more mentally challenging for me, and so I’ve found we start off strong and then end up slipping off into doing nothing again. Our new goal at the moment is to watch all of X-Files together. I’ve wanted to revisit the series for quite some time, so we’ll see if that works well. (DC is getting busier, so this might be difficult.)

Anyway. This isn’t really intended as a bragging post. I’m far from perfect when it comes to this. But I share it more as a way to show something I’d like to do so that when my kids are grown, I can look back and remember the times we spent together and know that I put in a good effort to make time for them. Having a close family is something I’ve always enjoyed, and this is one way I’m trying to reach that bigger goal.

What do you do to find time for your family?


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