Sunday, September 28, 2008

Quality Time


This was the view from our back porch this weekend - absolute perfection.

While JP studied on Saturday, Landon and I drove over to New Braunfels to meet my brother, sister, and grandparents for lunch at the historic (and gorgeous) Gristmill restaurant. My grandparents were delightful as always and Landon was most pleased with all the attention showered upon him. My sister was our waitress (eating there was the only way we could include her in our plans) and because we beat the lunch crowd we let Landon run around the place while she chased him. I realized on the drive home that people at the other table were probably thinking two things: (a) what a great waitress for chasing after that adorable toddler, and (2) what terrible parents for just eating and laughing and completely ignoring their child.

On the way home we stopped to run an errand and came across a fabulous playground. Landon had a big time trying to eat the wood chips and climb up the slides.

This evening when JP came home we spent a magical half hour playing with all three of our "kids" outside in the backyard. Some people (especially the ones who try their hardest to make all working moms feel like crap on online message boards) will tell you that quality time can't ever make up for a dearth in quantity of time, and I agree that they are both important; however, I can say that for me, I have never truly enjoyed my time with Landon as much as I have since I started working. When I get home from work I don't answer the phone, check my email, or turn on the TV until he's in bed. I don't make fancy dinners (or, often, any dinner- we live on a lot of cereal and frozen pizza), my floor isn't scrubbed, and Landon's baby book will probably be composed of printed out blog posts. But I am 100% with him- on the floor chasing him, trapping him in corners and watching him fall over laughing, talking to him about his dinner and his day, reading him stories as he crawls around me before bed- and I don't think I was as good about that when I was home with him all day. I felt that because I was home, I should have domestic things accomplished at the end of the day- dinner, laundry, etc., and I worry I spent too much time trying to get Landon to be entertained by something else so I could be productive. Now I'm released from that self-imposed to-do list (though, my house is neat- I can't sleep when things aren't in order, but that's more of a compulsion than an obligation), and I think the little guy derives some benefit from that.

When I think that we were probably outside for less than forty-five minutes, the number seems so small. But it was perfect and like I do so often, I tried to memorize it all in my mind:

Landon climbing up the ladder all by himself after JP showed him how


the dogs chasing after their tennis ball
(actually, Rosie chasing the ball and Tex chasing Rosie)


Landon's squeals of delight on the slide
(especially when he went down head-first on his belly).


The camera doesn't do it justice.


  1. Landon is looking like such a little man! about quality time...i totally understand how it's more enjoyable when you have to balance it with other obligations. when you dont have an endless amount of something you enjoy it and use it more wisely! thats why i do better on exams when i have to crunch and study last minute :)

  2. Really well put. I totally know the feeling of neglecting my kid by cleaning my day away, because well, being home all day makes it "my job". Much better to be working now, and having real downtime with the young 'uns. Besides, I don't think it's all that exciting for the kids to be at home all day in the first place. They have social lives of their own that need to be nurtured.

  3. I could have written the non-Landon portions of this post. I feel EXACTLY the same way. We survive off of crappy food, and laundry is always a bit haphazard. But when I was on maternity leave, I was always praying that the baby would go to sleep so that I could be productive. Now, when I'm with her, it's all about being with her. I turn off my internal to do list and just enjoy her.

  4. OMG, that belly!! SOOO cute I could eat it up. Please pass a spoon.

    I think I need to take a lesson from you on the Quality Time. My husband and I are both very bad about the 5:30-8:30 hour. We DO feel like we have to be productive. Now I will say I value family dinners HIGHLY, and so getting a somewhat healthy meal on the table is important to me, but I find myself too often unable to satisfy AJ's requests to play with him. And that's not good.

    So thanks. I'm going to work on this. Cereal is healthy, too. :)

  5. el-e-e: JP and I were just talking Friday about how we really need to work on family dinners. Right now we both sit down with Landon while he eats and talk to each other and him, but we wait to deal with our own food until after he goes to bed at 7:30. With all the craziness of the post-daycare/work transition, I feel like I can focus on Landon only because I'm not busy making our food - it's going to be much harder to do that too! But I'm vowing to try at least a few nights a week- family dinners are important and I want to get the habit established as he gets older and our schedules only get crazier.

  6. LL...damned if you do work, damned if you don't. Just enjoy what you're doing right now. He is so big! Not big as in chubby but he's so physically capable! He is quite handsome. Actually those cheeks should suffice for your dinner, no? Too cute.

  7. Beautifully put! What a happy little guy ^_^

  8. Staying home with a baby takes a lot of stamina but staying home with a school-aged child is pretty fun.

    You can get a lot done during the six hours kids are at school: sleeping, exercising, coffee with friends, lunch with friends, shopping get the idea.

    Plus, there is plenty of time for kid-related stuff too like having lunch with your kid or volunteering in the classroom.

  9. Establishing a family dinner was also important to me, because I remember growing up, family dinner was non-negotiable. Everyone was there, and it was a time to sit and talk. I have found that planning, planning, planning is the only way that I can get home from work and get dinner on the table and STILL have time to play with my 9-month-old before bedtime. We used to do a lot of ordering out, but, in addition to being unhealthy, it got really expensive. My husband and I now sit down every weekend, plan out a menu for the week, and all go to the grocery store Sunday afternoon to buy everything we will need for the week together. You would be surprised at how fast cooking goes when you don't have to spend all that time staring at your fridge and cupboards, trying to figure out WHAT to make from the things you have. Also, I usually double recipes on Saturday and Sunday, so that Monday and Tuesday can be leftovers. The crockpot is also a lifesaver - just through some stuff in in the morning, set it for 10 hours, and your dinner is ready when you come home.

  10. Oops, that's throw, not through. It's been a long day...

  11. Sigh...Landon is so cute and this post is so sweet.
    I agree with the person who says planning and crockpots are key when you want to have a good family dinner. Save the more elaborate dinners for the weekend when you all have time to hang out in the kitchen as it's being prepared. But when prioritizing (not balancing really) things in your busy schedule, I think the time with family is more important than what you're eating!

  12. I's not all about the quantity of time because like you said, you can spend all day with your kids, but if you're not interacting with them (by choice or otherwise), how is that any different than having them at daycare? Although my kids are often better-off at daycare on days that we need to get stuff done because they have interaction with other kids and their teachers.

    and I'm loving the buddha belly in that last pic!