We’ve all heard parenting advice while raising our kids, even if we don’t ask for it.  I remember hearing that quality mattered, not quantity of hours spent with our kids.  In other words, if we’re focused and present for an hour, that’s better than being with them 10 hours and distracted by chores and self, etc.  Then other advice-givers go for quantity, stating that spending all your waking hours serving and doing for your kids, being present and super-mom is what matters. 

As in most things we’re told, it’s often both-and.  Quantity and quality are good parenting.  Working all day, coming home tired and then having one hour with kids before bedtime isn’t so wonderful, now is it?  You’re tired, they’re tired, and there’s really no connection – only irritation.  And being with kiddos all day long, seven days a week, without a break – makes us insane!

Balance is often what we’re missing in so many areas of our lives, and parenting is no different. So how can busy moms that work outside the home find more quantity of hours with kids, and how can busy moms at home reduce quantity and find sanity? Here are a few ideas below.

If your time with your kiddos is way too little:

  • Opt for food deliveries that have the meals prepared – no shame in that! 

  • See if there’s a teenage daughter of a friend that might like to earn a few bucks doing a few chores, so you can sit down and play a game with the kids knowing the rest of the house is clean.

  • If you have a partner, speak up and ask for help.  He/she is not a mind-reader.

  • If disorganization is the problem, enlist the help from a friend that’s organized.  Ask her to help you with schedules, plans, meals, etc.  Glean from her strengths.

  • Consider taking off a day and taking the kids out of school too, for a play day. 

  • Include your kiddos in running errands, or those things you “have to do” on weekends – make it a game – stop for a Sonic blast – or take a break at a playground in the middle of the running around!

If your time with your kiddos is overkill and you need a break:

  • It’s okay to create a “quiet hour” during the day where they play independently and you relax with a good book and glass of sparkling water.

  • It’s okay to ask your partner for a few hours away to do whatever it is that regenerates you – spa time, coffee with a friend, shopping for a bit, or just a nap in the car with a candy bar!

  • It’s okay to schedule a date night and trade off with friends to babysit, if possible, without guilt.  Date nights are so important for a healthy mom/dad and family!

  • It’s okay to not be supermom.  You don’t have to volunteer, work on projects, show up at everything all the time. It’s okay to say no.

  • It’s so helpful to have a scheduled time for kids to have their space and you to have yours.   Guilt is not your friend.  But a calendar and regulated times for “mom time” is.

Being mom/dad is hard and has especially been hard on every parent with the strain of finances, work, health, worry about the future of the kids, and more.  Quantity and quality are great – in balance – as you can.  And if one side is tipped way too heavily at the moment, find a way to move something around so that your scales are sitting pretty once again, and you’re breathing sighs of relief…not exasperation.



Quality or Quantity
by Marcy Lytle 

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