photo by Stuart Miles / FreeDigitalPhotos.net

A couple years ago I bought myself a 2009 car. It was the first car I ever owned and I wanted it to be more reliable than the 1997 Buick I was currently driving. My favorite feature? XM Radio.

But now I’m about to cancel my XM subscription because when I’m bopping my head to my favorite song of the moment, I miss out on the exchanges like this in the backseat:

Ayanna: I want to be a nurse when I grow up, just like Nana.

Thomas: I want to be a doctor when I grow up. I have to go to doctor college.

Ayanna: You can’t go to doctor college until you are much, much taller. Like taller than Mommy.

I’ve found one way to slow down and enjoy the moment is to simply listen to my kids’ chatter in the car. I’m always on the go, it seems. I’m running to pick up my kids, going to the grocery store, sprinting every week to class. I’m always two days behind on schoolwork, or housework, or work-work. And I now realize I don’t give my kids my full attention as often as I should. Yes, as a benefit of working from home, I see my kids much more. I haven’t done the math, but it’s about 70% percent more now. And most of that time is still spent doing other things. When did my life get so busy that my kids have to tug on my shirt to get me to turn around to pay attention to them? Granted, when I do focus on them, my focus is totally on them. My phone stays on the counter, the laptop is closed and I’m not multitasking with any other chore.

But sometimes I wish the laundry did itself and money just appeared in my bank account at will. I love those two kids and my actions need to show them that they are always going to be my priority. So a few changes:

Get back to the one-on-one kid dates. We used to go on two kid dates a month, where my husband and I would each take one kid out and spend a few hours with them. Then we’d switch. It was fun because my kids really turn into different (calmer) versions of themselves when they’re not playing off the energy of their sibling.

Work on a family schedule. I need to know when I’m supposed to be working and when I need to be having family time. Because currently, I’m trying to do both simultaneously and it’s not working. At all.

Find some room in the budget (sigh) to sign the kids up for an activity. Whether it’s swimming lessons or dance classes, it’s something they can do that will boost their self-confidence and it’ll be something that I have to be fully present for.

On a scale of 1-10 (10 being highest), how busy do you feel most days? Am I the only one feeling the time crunch?

This article is reprinted with permission from BlackandMarriedwithKids.com.

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