In the hamster wheel of mom life — school drop-offs, school pickups, work, after-school activities, dinner, bedtime routines — it can feel impossible to find time for fun. Spending one-on-one time with your kids sometimes feels like a luxury you can’t afford. One mom took to Reddit to seek advice for how to find that time with her two little ones, and Redditors did not disappoint.
“How often do you spend intentional one on one time with your child?” a mom of a 6- and a 4-year-old asked Reddit, wondering if that time is “organic, something you’re conscious of, or planned specifically?”
“When I have a day when I have so much to do in the house that I don’t take the time to get down on their level and play, I feel so bad,” she went on. “It feels like there is too much to balance sometimes.” She added that “the guilt is terrible” when she has to tell her kids “no” about doing something with them. “I just don’t think I have time for one on one every day,” she said.
My heart feels for her because it’s so hard! You want to do the best you can with your kids, but sometimes you don’t have the energy or the time to give them what they need. Then you feel guilty for it!
The mom added that she reads stories with them every day and tries baking with them, doing puzzles, and playing board games as much as she can, “but it’s not a dedicated thing each day. “My kids also play with one another really well and.i don’t want to cut into that time. I also do things with both of them together,” she added.
Reddit came through with a bit of hope for this struggling mama. “My kid is a teen now and still to this day I remind myself time is short and getting shorter,” one person wrote. “Since he was little I have had 2 daily alerts go off on my phone and still do that say ‘Play Catch’. It was a reminder that anytime he asked me to do something, play catch or absolutely anything else, no matter how I was feeling, how tired I was or busy I thought I was, I got up off my ass and did it. They only need you around for so long, and then you will be lucky if they want you around.” What a fantastic idea! I love the thought of an alarm jolting you from your regular life to remind you to toss a ball or play or do something for fun.
One mom of a 6-year-old shared how her and her partner switch off on bedtime duties. “We alternate which of us does bedtime, and our bedtime routine is intentionally kind of extended to promote bonding with each of us,” she wrote. “Every other evening, I’m reading him stories for ~30 mins and then quietly snuggling and listening to music with him, listening to what he needs to tell me, being focused on and close with my son. Every other evening, I get a glorious uninterrupted minimum hour to myself to dawdle in the bathtub, to paint my nails, to read a few chapters in my own book, etc. I absolutely LOVE this setup and highly recommend it.” One-on-one time plus self-care? Win-win!
This mom also implored the OP to “chill on the mom guilt.” She said, “Your kids developmentally need time for imaginative play with other kids. They ALSO need time to be bored. So that they get creative to entertain themselves! Don’t stress it too hard if you aren’t super mom fully focused on all your kids all the time. To a degree, it’s our job to teach them how to not need us anymore, right?”
Others use the weekends to divide this up. “Its not always intentional, but on the weekends we divide and conquer with each of us taking a kid for one on one time,” one person wrote. “Sometimes it’s shopping with mom and playing a game with dad or its shopping with dad and going to the library with mom.”
It’s good for kids to play alone, but it’s also important for them to have special one-on-one time with each parent. This can be as simple as talking about their day while snuggled on the couch, or taking them with you to run an errand, or doing a puzzle in their room together. It’s not going to be perfect — and it may not be every day! — and that’s OK. Your kids will notice the effort and appreciate the way you make them feel special, no matter what that looks like in your family.
“Before you go, check out some of Reddit’s most ridiculous grown children.“
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