Wednesday, May 16, 2012

One-on-one is the way to go

One evening my husband and I were having dinner with a colleague and his wife and we were talking about parenting. This colleague (a father of two) told me that the best advice he could give me as a parent was to date my child. At the time it was a little surprising to me. Here in front of me sat a senior level executive telling me he has scheduled weekly one-on-one dates with his teenage daughter.  I sat in awe as he described his dates of clothes shopping, museum viewing, and hunting at the farmers’ market. Awesome, I thought!  As my children grow, I now see the importance of this myself. 

My husband has turned our daughter, Lily into quite the horticulturalist. Their bonding time is spent gardening. They recently completed planting of their second vegetable garden and routinely spend Saturday mornings planting flowers or weeding flower beds. Lily has developed a love of nature and has learned quite a bit from her daddy in the process. I appreciate the fact that although she’s quite the girly girl, she’s not afraid to get a little dirty to pitch in and help. Along with hard work, she’s also learned pride in owning and completing a project and benefits from the end result of beautiful of flowers and the bounty of vegetables.

Now that Lily has a little brother it is more important than ever for her to feel special. I accomplish this by taking her with me on errands, dining at her favorite spot for lunch, or completing a craft project.  It’s funny how the simplest things and a small amount of one on one time make the biggest impact. 

Although my son, Logan is still very young, I’ve made a very concerted effort to make sure that both my husband and I take equal part in care giving.  We try to alternate nights on bath and bedtime routine so that Logan is comfortable with both of us.  We also make a point to have Daddy/Logan time and Mommy/Logan time. I’ve observed that this individual attention really allows me to take in Logan’s growth and truly appreciate his personality.

What I’ve realized as a family unit of four is that it’s paramount that we all have equal amounts of one on one time together. Not only do my husband and I strive to date our children but we also make it a priority to date each other. I know it sounds cliché but with two children, two full time jobs, and a house to maintain, it’s easy for the marriage to get put on the backburner. My husband and I are slowly learning to enlist the help of family for a regularly scheduled date night and to branch out and hire a babysitter when the need arises.  We both agree that the investment in time and money for this one on one time benefits our entire family.

At the end of the day we are all individuals who want to be loved and this individual attention really accomplishes that task. One on one time helps us appreciate each other as individuals just like togetherness helps us appreciate our cohesion as a family.

Mindy Seals works in the information technology division at Texas Health Resources and is balancing work, married life and raising two kids.

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