After a few business trips where I'm solo but I have the chance to visit my friends with kids, I made a pretty significant parenting discovery: I'm a pretty cool "parent" to other peoples' kids. I sit on the floor and play with them, I let them climb all over me, heck I even happily feed them their meals.
So when I got home, I tried to figure out why I was so interactive with their kids and not necessarily my own. As much as I love playing with my kids, I don't do it as much as I know I should. Then I realized why, and it's completely changed how I parent my own children.
As it turns out, when you're at someone else's house, you don't have any of the responsibilities that you have at your own. The laundry isn't haunting you, the dishes aren't piling up in the sink, and you don't have to worry about anything but quite frankly, enjoying yourself.
With all that weight lifted off my shoulders, I'm able to just have fun, to be present for whoever I'm with, and to fool around knowing that I'm not going to have to stay up late and finish up all the chores that I often times choose over the straight up interaction with my kids.
It's sad when I think about it, because really, all those responsibilities can wait. But our kids, they grow up so fast and those moments, well, you can't get them back.
Folded laundry? Eh, who really cares.
Of course, we all can't abandon taking care of our home, because in keeping it up in one way or another, we're actually caring for our children and giving them a safe, healthy place to live. But we can make different choices with our time. We can allow ourselves to have a little fun and let a few things go, as much as it might pain some of us.
And we can be more present for our kids, as present as we might be with someone else's when we're not worried about what to cook for dinner.
I'm still working on balancing it all, but I know that over the last few months, when I think about the choices I'm making, I'm able to better prioritize what really needs to get done and what can wait so I can spend some quality time with my children.
How do you balance life's responsibilities and enjoying time with your kids?
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