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Quality vs quantity time with my daughter

What matters more: The amount of time you spend with your child, or the quality of time you spend together?

I think I’ve learned the answer to that question this week.

It’s been slightly insane the past few days. My husband is now halfway through his training and we’re beginning to get a taste of what his schedule will be like once he graduates.

He’s in to work at 5pm and not home until after 2am. This week I was beat and in bed before he got home then back at work before he and Lil’ J woke up. It’s just been one of those weeks where I wonder what it would be like if I stayed at home with her and didn’t have any place I had to be.

I tried my best to hurry to work early so I could get home earlier, and catch my husband before he left for work. But he had to leave extra early for his shift and by the time I picked up Lil’ J from school and made it home, I’d just miss him. I was frustrated and felt like I was seeing both of them… Well, never.

I have some time off coming up around the holidays, which normally is a good thing for most people, but for me this means I have to put in a little more work now. I’m writing and editing stories in advance, and doing extra interviews.  Everything combined means a little more overtime and a little less time at home with my family.

I know I get a mix of sentiments from other moms. Some know exactly how I feel and others don’t wish they were in my shoes. I suppose some could wish they were, but I doubt it.

That full-time daycare that we pay for, but use part-time finally earned its keep this week.We took her all five days versus her usual three.

It’s not like she doesn’t like it. In fact, my husband told me this morning she kept grabbing his shoes, demanding he put them on, and shaking her car seat, while saying “skoo” “skoo” which means “school” in Lil’ J talk. I just feel bad when she’s spending more time playing with her teachers and friends than she is playing with me.

There’s hardly anything in this world that makes me feel worse than picking my daughter up from school and only having time to feed, bathe and dress her for bed before it’s time for us to crash and do it all over again in the morning.

I had had enough. It was time to reconnect.

I went in a couple of hours earlier than I normally do and told myself I was skipping a lunch and leaving exactly eight hours later. Then I picked my daughter up for some good old fashioned fun.

Normally when I want to have a blast, I take her somewhere.–A park with slides, a museum, a water playscape, or petting zoo. But tonight we’d bring the fun to us.

finger pupper fun

We had just received our finger puppets in the mail courtesy of Her Threaded Needle. One set for of Old Mc. Donald’s farm, and another of 5 little monkeys.

Before we even got inside I pulled them out and showed them to her. She had never seen finger puppets like this before but I knew she’s love them because she loves puppets and she loves singing. Sure enough, I couldn’t even get them all on my fingers before she pulled them off to try for herself.

We changed into our PJs long before it was time for bed so we could eat cheese and crackers, talk, and play. She shows me her toys and babbled to me, and I replied. It made me stop and think how often I give her my undivided attention on a regular basis, and how often is my mind someplace else. In this very moment, I was all hers.

In her room I took out the monkey finger puppets and sang the “Five Little Monkeys” song, and tried my best to make it as hilarious as possible. BOINKing my head when the monkey’s fell and hit their head, and jumping when they jumped. I think it worked. She of course wanted to sing it too. Then, just before lights out time, I taught her one of the coolest things she’s ever learned–How to jump.

I pretty sure in this moment, and right after I kissed her goodnight she was thinking something like:
“COOLEST. MOM. EVER!”

I may not get to spend all the time I would like with her. I may not be home with her every day. But I make the most of the time we do have together. Because I think it’s quality that matters more than quantity.

***

Rachel, owner of Her Threaded Needle has graciously offered to giveaway a set of Christmas finger puppets to one of my readers.

Just enter using the tool below (if you don’t want to use your facebook account, click the small print that says you want to use your name and email address). It’s a quick one so you can get it by Christmas. Ends 12:01am on Monday. Good luck!

a Rafflecopter giveaway


Gnat says:

What a great post! I had to share on facebook. My dad told me when I first went back to work that it’s all about quality time from here on out! It drives my husband crazy that I don’t clean more but that can wait! The time with her can’t!

Gnat says:

Love the farm animals and monkey puppets!! SO cute! PS…the link to her blog isn’t working.

Jo says:

Our little one loves puppets, too. She’s getting a table top puppet theater and a dozen felt puppets from grandma for Christmas and I’m so excited for her to open them 🙂

I hear you on the quality v. quantity thing, too. I only work part-time (though some weeks it’s full time plus if I end up attending births) and sometimes I come home and am just too spent to engage much. I like being able to disconnect from the world every now and again and just focus on her. It makes all the difference.

I LOVE this post! ADORABLE pictures!! <3 I agree with you make the best of the time you have she is young she will only remember those AMAZING times jumping on beds and acting silly with mom <3 My favorite in her store is 3 little pigs!

Elaine says:

This was my favorite post yet! Look at that face!!!! awwww..

By the way…I love Lil J’s picture with the dress you made her! I love her name too!!! How cute! You must MUST MUST tell us how you came about it. Even if you don’t specifically mention it 🙂

Suze says:

I believe quality time is way more important than quantity because they will always remember the time “we did this” instead of mom home but not really playing with me 🙂

Elaine says:

Oh…and I love the monkey’s too on Etsy…and the jungle animals! Too cute!

Iiona says:

Seriously her learning to jump and all the pictures are awesome! And I agree, that quality time is more important that the number of times you spend with your child. Learning how to “turn off” everything in that moment is hard but so worth it!

The cutest thing in her etsy shop is the Nativity Scene.

Suze says:

Love the Giraffe Finger Puppet…Well, my daughter does!

Loveeee Lil’ J pictures.. she looks sooo happy. regarding the etsy shop, i like the5 Little Monkeys… specially the one with the red bow. .so cute 🙂

Brandie says:

I just love her! Those curls are ridiculous! (In a good way!)
I love the puppets! The santa and rudolph ones are so precious!

Joanna says:

I like the knight and dragon finger puppets. I could see those being good for car seat entertainment!

krzyKT says:

I believe that quality overrides quantity with almost everything we do, especially bringing up our children.

Our children will remember the special times in their life, whether it’s playing with colorful finger puppets or reading them a story at night.

I admire you & the creative projects you do for your daughter. I only hope I have the drive & energy like you when my daughter comes in March.

Thanks!

Joanna says:

I struggle with the quantity vs quality time too, as a fellow working mom. Over Thanksgiving I realized what you did- the ordinary, at-home moments are so precious!

LiciaLee says:

I love when C tries to jump. She can’t leave the ground yet, but she def tries. :D.

I know your quality time struggle resonates with all moms on some level. It does with me some days, for sure.

Those finger puppets are adorable! I bet she had wonderful dreams that night 🙂 Best mom ever!

For some reason I’m partial to the woodland finger puppets, but I also like the story ones {itsy bitsy spider is cute!}.

Have to agree with Mrs. Cox – woodland creatures is adorable!

You are a wonderful mom, Jen! I am dying over the photos of her in the pjs… to die for cute!!!!

Kira =] says:

Excellent post! Even us moms that don’t work outside the home sometimes feel like we are rushing through tasks and projects and forget to spend that quality time with our little ones. I know I do. And since there are 3, I really struggle to make sure I give them each time with just me. But I have learned to just take one on an errand with me and they don’t have to talk over a sibling helps them feel connected to me.

Kira =] says:

I love her ornaments! But also the cute boy puppets like the knight & dragon. My poor boy always gets outnumbered with girl toys and it’s super easy to find girly stuff instead of boy toys.

isabel says:

looks like she had lots of fun learning this new awesome trick lol and yes i think quality time is more important that quantity time, im so blessed to be a stay at home mom but like you said sometimes we are there but our minds are somewhere else.

isabel says:

i loved the nativity set so cute

I believe it’s both but it is so hard to do both. I can have one great day per week giving my children undivided attention, but neglect them the other 6… I would assume that would crush them at the end. I find myself at times doing just that and need to stop and regroup.

Kathy C. says:

What an awesome post! So glad to read that you got a chance to spend so quality time with your daughter. You can tell the two of you made some killer memories. 🙂

this is one of the best posts in a while! I like the heartfelt stuff! Your daughter looks SO adorable jumping on that bed. You’re a great mommy and she knows it!

sherea1981 says:

I love the monkey puppets.

These are so cute! It’s so hard to spend the quality time. I try my best to make sure I do at least one thing a week that is focused on her. Like bouncey place, park or just playing at the house.

Beckie says:

Just was thinking the same thing today- I need to spend more quality time with my Babe!!! The quantity is lacking so quality must make up!!!

Beckie says:

I loved the nativity puppets- i’ve been trying to teach my babe about Baby Jesus- he’d love em!

Lindsey says:

You know, even when you’re home with your kids all the time you have to come up with ideas for quality time because otherwise it’s constant housework (having kids home means cleaning the same messes up over and over) and getting dinner, things like that. I’m glad to be at home with my kids but sometimes I wish I could get out… my brain feels so fried sometimes! I think you do a great job as a working mom. 🙂 You obviously care a lot, and making these memories will be important in the future. She’ll look back and know how much you effort you put out to give her a happy home life. 🙂

Johanna says:

I say this every time I comment, but she is SO CUTE. And you *are* a pretty cool mom!

Heidi says:

I Love the Farm Animals finger puppets (and the nativity finger puppets!)

Quiana says:

Love seeing her jump!

You always have such fun giveaways! 🙂 I mentioned it on my blog too..so hopefully lots of ppl will enter! 🙂 XOXO

Quiana says:

Love the farm animals from her Etsy shop!

PS My favorite item would be her Plush Alphabet Letters! So cute 🙂

I love the reindeer and santa puppets!

YUMMommy says:

I’m firm believer that quality is always better than quantity. My mom worked three jobs but on her days off she made sure to make the best of our time together as a family.

Nichole says:

I totally agree it’s quality over quantity. In fact, I think sometimes if we don’t stop and remember often enough, that quantity can dilute the quality. . .
Thanks for the reminder!
Since it’s Christmas, I love HTN’s plush nativity set. Otherwise I think the tooth fairy pillow is pretty awesome!

This post just made me feel a little bit better about returning to work once my maternity leave is done. I will remember that it’s about the quality not quantity… Thank you.

Christine says:

Yay! Looks like fun
-Christine

Robyn says:

I have been feeling like that with Dylan. Thank goodness we both have long winter breaks!! the puppets are a great idea

Robyn says:

I really like the rudolph and santa finger puppets

Heidi says:

Those finger puppets are the cutest and I am really tempted to get my daughter some of her own…I know she would just love them!!

froggy_luver at hotmail dot com

emily says:

Love the finger puppets…so cute!!

Amanda Kay says:

Quality is certainly what it’s all about…These finger puppets are adorable and time you got to spend with her enjoying HER is priceless!! 🙂

Amanda Kay says:

LOVING the sweet 5 little Monkeys!!!

Jessica says:

i’ve had so much trouble with this very idea lately. after being out of work for a little over a month, it’s been hell trying to get back into full-time work mode. it’s even worse now because i can’t have my babe with me at work all day like i did at my old job. while i’m thankful for my mom’s help and know she enjoys spending time with her granny, i hate that by the time i get home all i want to do is crash after taking care of other people’s kids all day and have almost zero energy for my own (and i also realized i yell a lot out of frustration which makes me very sad). not to mention all the tasks that “must” be accomplished before bedtime, and needing time to unwind myself. your post has inspired me to try to be more aware of the kind of time i’m spending with her (quality vs. non-quality) and conscious of the fact that she just really wants her mommy and couldn’t care less that i’ve had a long day; and she’s not supposed to care! i think we could definitely use some fun time like you and lil j!

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Hi! I’m Jennifer Borget

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I'm a former journalist, and lifelong creator striving to make the world a better place. This is the space where I share my journey in making the most of every day by cherishing our individuality and celebrating our differences.



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