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Toddling Through the Silicon Valley

By Cheryl Bac

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About this blog: I'm a wife, stay-at-home mom, home cook, marathon runner, and PhD. I recently moved to the Silicon Valley after completing my PhD in Social Psychology and becoming a mother one month apart. Before that, I ran seven marathons incl...  (More)

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The gift of time

Uploaded: Jan 31, 2016
As a parent, sometimes there just don't seem to be enough hours in the day. Food needs to be cooked, dishes need to be cleaned, clothes need to be washed. You want to spend quality time with your spouse and your kids, but it's easy for daily chores to take over.

I recently saw a video on my Facebook feed that reminded me of just how full our lives are as parents. And how our kids can see what our priorities are by how we spend our time. In the commercial a mother was overwhelmed with chores and her son sweetly tried to finish some of them for her so she would have enough time to see his play.

I hope our son never feels overlooked and ignored like the boy in the video, but I've tried to teach him the reality that parents only have a certain amount of time each day. The more he helps me, the more time I'll have to help him.

This can be a challenging concept to teach children. Especially since mom's "extra time" doesn't always appear immediately after children help out. One day our son may help me out a lot, but his sister may be teething or I may be sick. And, of course, the opposite can happen too. Our son may be less than helpful one day, but we've already committed to taking him to a class, game or show that afternoon.

I hope that over time our son learns that I prioritize my day so I can spend as much quality time as possible with him and his sister. And that everyone in the family is better when everyone is doing their best to help out.
What is it worth to you?


Posted by Mother of 4 , a resident of Palo Verde School,
on Feb 1, 2016 at 7:25 am

I think kids doing some chores from the earliest age, there's always something they can do.

But sometimes you just have to check your priorities a bit. When your kids are grown and gone what will you remember - what will they remember? Will you remember a nice tidy house or will you remember the fun you had with your kids. Sometimes you just have to leave the breakfast things on the table and join in with their fun. Is it really worth missing a Kodak moment which is gone in a flash while you just put that away?

Posted by RMH, a resident of Barron Park,
on Feb 1, 2016 at 11:53 am

I have a teenager who expects me to drop my job (the one that pays the bills) at her every whim in the name of 'need'. Not sure if it was because I was willing to leave the dishes in the sink and the laundry pile up to spend time with her. Many a nights I didn't get much sleep because I was cleaning house (much needed) while she slept, then was tired and cranky in the morning. It is a fine balance and also depends on the personality of your child as to how you handle it.

Posted by Cheryl Bac, a Palo Alto Online blogger,
on Feb 1, 2016 at 1:04 pm

Cheryl Bac is a registered user.

Mother of 4- I agree, it's great when you can get the kids involved. Even if the chores end up taking a little longer. Yes, if you wait for the perfect moment to play, read, or talk with your kids, it may never come.

RMH- Yes, it is definitely a challenge to find the right balance. And , I agree, a child's personality can make a big difference.

Posted by Mother of 4 , a resident of Palo Verde School,
on Feb 1, 2016 at 4:38 pm

Thanks for the warning RMH. I think there may be a difference between kids wanting you to stop for them and you choosing to leave chores until later to be with them. I also think that with 4 kids they get used to having to share my time a bit as I can't drop everything for each one of them anyway. It may be something to do with having a singleton child.

Posted by Cheryl Bac, a Palo Alto Online blogger,
on Feb 1, 2016 at 8:03 pm

Cheryl Bac is a registered user.

Mother of 4 - Yes, siblings definitely add a whole new dimension to the struggle of how to balance our time as parents.

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