Investing Time That Counts
The lazy days of summer are finally here. Hopefully you’ve had a chance to catch your breath and play a little bit.
What are you hoping for this summer? I’m sure you and your daughter are expecting different things this summer.
How old is your daughter? Now think of yourself at her age. (I know that’s scary.) What did you love about the summer? My daughter is 18 and so this is what I remember when I was 18. I loved sleeping in. I loved not having any pressure from school. I loved hanging out with my friends. I absolutely loved going to the beach…and other things I can’t mention. 🙂
How about you? Travel back in time to when you were your daughter’s age. What did you hope for? I am pretty sure (at your daughter’s age) you wanted many of the same things as your daughter.
Now you have different expectations. You look forward to the summer for different reasons. You may sleep in a little, but you can’t stop your home-work or outside the home work. You don’t have the luxury to have nothing planned and just live at the beach with your friends or husband.
Still the summer give us a break. There is less pressure on us especially around herding our daughters all over town and especially with the pressures of grades and homework.
In the summer you can be more relaxed about time. You can be more lenient about when your daughter wakes up or goes to bed.
Make This Summer Count
Summer offers us a slower pace. Amazing things can happen when life slows down.
But life for your daughter can’t come to a complete stop. The challenge is to provide just enough structure for your daughter to keep her entertained in constructive ways and not be bored. You don’t want her creating her own excitement.
You need to protect the slower pace with activities. You don’t want to over schedule you or her. Both you and your daughter need some hanging out time. This hanging out time (or downtime) is a great opportunity for your relationship.
Invest In Your Daughter by Hanging Out.
Your daughter loves to ‘hang out’. This is her definition: You are not working or being productive. You are completely relaxed and fully present with the people you are with. You are open to opportunities that may come up. You are primed and ready to be playful and find humor in things.
However moms see it differently. Frequently our definition of our daughters ‘hanging out’ is wasting time and not doing anything.
But there is great value in ‘hanging out’ not just for your daughter but for you too. You can’t imagine the luxury of ‘hanging out’ because of your busy schedule. If you’re honest you would love time to ‘hang out’ with friends or family but it feels frivolous.
“Hanging out” with your daughter can do miracles for your relationship. Because of this I believe it is the best investment of your time. This is better than expensive vacations.
Here is your challenge. Your daughter will approach you at an inconvenient time and you can see it as an opportunity or a nuisance.
Here is what it looks like in my life. It is almost 11 pm and I am sitting in a chair and I’m getting some work done on the computer. My daughter who was busy 30 minutes before plops on my bed with my dog and starts talking nonstop.
I have a choice. I can see this as an opportunity to Invest Time That Counts or see her as getting in my way or being a nuisance.
Here is what’s hard. In that moment my automatic ‘get it done’ self wants to finish the email and tell her to go clean her room and do the dishes.
But my deeper self sees the opportunity. This is the moment to connect with her. This time is precious.
When I let myself relax and let go of my ‘urgent’ work, I start to see what is truly important. I see the gift of my daughter when I am not preoccupied. I see her reaching out to me in her language. It’s all about relationship and my work can wait.
When I choose to close the computer something shifts inside of me. I really enjoy her. She is hilarious. Even though I have to pass through several decades, I still can find my inner playful 18 year old. This doesn’t mean I’ve abandoned my mother job, but ‘hanging out’ is the foundation for connection. These silly, relaxed moments help build a secure attachment with my daughter.
You need these times. The stress will come and so will the conflict. But summer offers a respite from the stressful school year.
Make your time count. Look for opportunities this summer to “hang out” with your daughter.