It feels time is precious more so to a working mom. Secretly I’m always weighing things in my mental time scale – let’s see, this much time for this… is it worth it or not? Will my household be fine and can I make it up to them?
One time-management rule I’ve read about and kept sacred is to spend at least 30 minutes of “floor time” with your kids. Floor time is just that – you stop being so tall and distant, and hunker down and play their way.
There are no rules to floor-time play except to play with your child. Letting them play while you watch doesn’t count. Providing them play activities doesn’t count either, unless you play together. Get on the floor!
Why do I love this rule? Because 30 minutes feels so doable. And I’ve found that, once started, it easily turns into an hour. And then it feels like a working-mom accomplishment to have surpassed the goal. In corporate language, it’s called sandbagging creating a target you can win.
The challenge is getting the energy. One of the memorable moments of the “Hands-on Working Mom” talk was when a fellow-mom shared that sometimes she was too tired to play when she gets home. Everyone was nodding our heads vigorously in understanding.
But let me rephrase: the biggest challenge is getting over the inertia. Sometimes it’s not about finding the time or energy, it’s about finding the things you like to do together.
Here are four simple ways to squeeze in floor time during the workweek:
Most of the time my daughter is ready for bed by the time I get home. So reading became precious floor time. I threw my energies at it, making voices and all (and literally this keeps me alert). I can attest that because of this simple daily ritual, she started reading on her own at 3 years old.
2. Bathe Together.
The ultimate time saver: a chore done with some fun and a good time to check on overall health. Nothing winds you down better than a nice bath and children’s giggles.
3. Have Games On-Hand.
I like making up games, but I’m brain-dead by the time I get home. I buy games for this purpose. A round or two and that’s all you need to reconnect!
4. Play in Bed.
A last-resort since you risk getting them too keyed-up to sleep (inevitably you’ll still need some time for a bedtime story to quiet down). But hey, that’s the price I’m willing to pay.
I think we would all agree that the energy is worth it, but the good news is that the longer you do this, the less inertia it takes everyday. Like exercise but way, way more rewarding. As our time has gotten scarcer, our lives have gotten richer.
Getting home from work may not mean lazy leisure time anymore but it can be the best part of our day. After all, it’s when we come home to our most important job.