Putting Family First

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Parenting is decidedly hard work, and it’s hard to keep the right focus and spirit all of the time. In fact, there are no perfect parents, but like all things, it’s striving toward the goal of doing things as well as you can that will have the best impact on your family.

The Family Attitude

The shift from being responsible for yourself to being responsible for a family can be challenging. If one partner is staying home with the children, there is the added challenge of letting go of one source of income and the autonomy that job or career likely provided. It’s normal to take some time to adjust to a new family mindset, and many settle in comfortably in just a matter of days or even hours as they have been practicing while pregnant.

As part of your thoughts toward your family, your primary goal should now be to provide for and keep the family safe. This means your top priorities are a safe environment for shelter and nourishment. Once those elements have been satisfied, the rest of your parenting job will depend on your resources. A good many parents are able to house and feed their children but have very little left to provide more than basic clothing.

The Resource of Time

For many parents, time is the most critical resource they are missing much of the time. It’s often a balance between time and money. You must spend time making money and keeping the home safe and clean. Then, once the important jobs have been done, you have only a limited amount of time left to spend together as a family. This push and pull is something every family experiences and it’s even more challenging as a single parent where you have even more responsibilities and less time.

When you’re dealing with constraints of time, you’ll need to be a bit creative to find as much time as you can to spend with your children, but even if there are just a few hours of the day that you have available at home with your children, making those hours count is far more beneficial to children than being home all day without much interaction.

Create Compartments of Time

As much as we love the idea of multitasking, in reality it works far better to create a sort of compartment for each activity you want to do during the day. During each portion of time, it’s best to avoid other activities that will make that time less valuable to the task at hand. For example, make it a point to sit down and eat breakfast together every morning. You can get up fifteen minutes earlier in order to pull together a simple, but healthy breakfast. During breakfast time, you’re not reading the paper, looking at magazines or watching television. Sit and enjoy the time with your family. Talk about what needs to happen during the day and if the children need anything special for school that day.

Breakfast can be as short as ten minutes, but it’s a great way to start the day feeling connected to your children. Work will take up a substantial amount of time and consider using your lunch break to run quick errands so that you don’t have to do so once you get home. When you arrive home, as tempting as it is to sit back and relax on your own, keep pushing yourself so that you can play with your children and enjoy their company for a few minutes before dinner time.

Spend time together without distractions as much as possible. Even when you’re exhausted, sitting on the couch watching a favorite family show while hugging on the children can be a very beneficial time of day. When the children are asleep, take a bit of time just for you to enjoy your paper or magazine. Having your time designated may feel a bit confining, but it will do wonders for the quality of the time you have with your children.

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