I took my wee ones to the park the other day. I am ashamed to say it was the first time I had managed a trip to the park with them since returning to work two months ago.
Two. Whole. Months. That is not to say I haven’t spent time with them, I have. I could blame the bad weather but to be honest I ain’t fooling anyone, even myself, with that.
With being back at work I seem to have landed myself in a rut of spending time with the wee ones without the need to spend time on this spending time. Exhausted after a full working day or a full working week. So movie nights with popcorn — spending time with minimal effort. Painting in the playroom — spending time with minimal effort but a bit of clean up. Baking scones with the toddler — spending time with minimal effort but rather super effectively as the scones then doubled up as lunch.
So I have been spending time with them but probably, if I am honest, doing the things that are more convenient for me.
As I chased our now toddling one year old around the park, waved at our three year old on the slide and came to the realisation that this was our first trip to the park since my maternity leave wrapped up I felt the familiar guilts starting to arrive and get ready to give me a good throttling. Those bastards. Lurking in the shadows waiting for any chance they get.
We headed for the see-saw at the request of my oldest little. On she hopped and I popped the one year old on the other side. She got frustrated very quickly. The balance was too one sided. As the see-saw sat there motionless because she was too heavy and her brother too light the tears started to bubble at the corners of her eyes at the unfairness of it. “Why wont it see-saw Mummy” — oh to be three and have such concerns.
But the imbalance struck me. If ever I had a visual representation of what happens when the right balance isn’t there, this was it. My child, affected and upset, a result of the imbalance. It was the kick up the hole I needed. My priorities needed re-jigged.
And so I tackle a new week, with renewed enthusiasm. With needing to work the reality is I only have a set amount of time each day and each week for family. This time needs to be quality time. It doesn’t always have to require big outings but it does require me to be more present, instead of setting up the painting, paint WITH them, go to the park and chase them, and encourage their bravery tackling the big slide. Movie nights are great but so are board game nights with the TV off, family chatter and music playing in the background. I guess I just have to work at getting the mix of quality time right. My work / life balance is a see-saw, and once I have the balance nailed, I damn well need to make the most of it.