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Tuesday, September 20, 2005

Work changed the way I spend time with TIC

A couple of months ago when I was working on my freelance gig, something happened. Instead of fretting all the time because I was dropping Toddler in Chief off with the sitter two or three days a week, I felt great. And it was almost more fun to be with my yard-stick-sized buddy, when we were together.

Instead of worrying that I wasn't spending enough quality time with him, I changed the way I spend time with him--and I didn't even realize it until just recently.

I started making a conscious effort to have "quality time" with him. Not that I wasn't having quality time with him before. But before I was around all the time and I would drift into and out of his projects. He'd be playing and I'd come over and set up the wooden train track and then disappear. I'd come over and get out the crayons and tape up a clean piece of paper for the easel and then disappear.

A lot of that still happens--even though I'm not doing that particular freelance thing anymore--but I started being more conscious of my time with him and the activities we do together. Perhaps because I was conscious of the fact that there was less time with him overall?

When I wasn't working at all, we were just together all the time. But when I was working I had to think about when we were together and what fun things we would do together. This gets back to something I wondered about a long time back--do moms that work actually spend more quality time with their kids than moms who don't work.

I don't know the answer to that, and I'm not pushing one choice over another. But I'm just wondering, maybe the more time you're away from your kid, the more quality stuff you try to cram into the time you do have together. And when you don't work (at an official, paying job), the quality time is still there, but just spread out over a full day--between changing the sheets, cleaning paint off the rug, and trying to find a home for all of the photos trapped in my digital camera.

Although, it seems like the more experience I get at being a mom, and the older and more mischievous Toddler in Chief becomes, he is increasingly a bigger part of my regular daily activities, which in turn becomes part of our quality time. Giggling while I unsuccessfully try to fold the fitted sheets, helping pull clothes out of the dryer, taking his turn emailing Grammy and Grampy, and deciding I should get apples instead of pears, is becoming quality time because he can contribute in his own two-year-old way.

No matter what the reason, I like it.

4 comments:

  1. That's the thing really--the time is spent in a shorter period. I guess when you stay at home all day getting paid in kisses (hugs, smiles), you spread it out over the day--so it may not seem as concentrated. Like orange juice in the pitcher, rather than in the can in the freezer.

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  2. Yep. And yep. When I worked from home--I made a point to lay on the floor and have down time tickling, laughing, singing, and down right playing with the little one. Now that I have done the transition into working out of the home full time-- that play time happens RIGHT WHEN I GET HOME until bed. Even when I cook dinner! ;-)

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  3. I don't even think about dinner until he's in bed, usually by 7:30. As soon as we get home, it's quality time in the family room.

    When I was working part-time, I was getting a little more nutso every day that I was with him full time, and I would often take him out of the house to go shopping or something else really white and middle class, just to get away from the house and The Dreaded Park.

    I am happy working full time for now. I treasure my time with him so much more than I did when I was home more. I still get enough little moments (including the wonderful "my mommy's here!!" when I pick him up from daycare)... it works for me.

    Now what will be interesting to see is how #2 changes that, or if my time home with #2 is also acceptable or if there's a difference between toddler and baby time.

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  4. I LOVE your blog! I found this post, and... I blogged about it over at Bloggingbaby.com... (Look for it sometime Friday morning).

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