Carefully utilise the time with your children

In the 90s, I happened to be plying my childhood years and in those days, our parents were not always by our side. That said, they spent weekends and public holidays with us in an undivided manner. We thrived and blossomed in amazing ways.

However, in between the late 90s and the early 2000s, something happened; the internet started digging its claws in society fibre. The way life was lived started taking a different turn, one which tore us apart rather than brought us together inspite of the global village talk. People became absent even when in your midst. Can you imagine that? The chase for money also got real because in 2008, the global economy started to take a nose dive. That had several negative implications on family because parents were away more often than not.

With time, the guilt of barely being there for their children started biting parents. See, with the onset of social media, many children were left to their own devices and the results were often ugly.

Heard of over compensation, that became some of our parents’ coping mechanism. It worked out this way. While they were away for most of the week, leaving as early as 5am and returning somewhere around 11pm, weekends were theirs. That called for bringing out all our class books for inspection. As the errors and mistakes piled up, so did the slaps and pinches. Ohhh, I dreaded the weekends. It was more of a correction time.

How could you enjoy your lunch meal after that session or with the anticipation of what awaited you. That was because you never determined when the books were called for.

The over compensation would also sway to the side of heaping us with junk food, for the ‘kind’ parents to make up for the week of posho and beans at home. Have you heard of increased non-communicable diseases? It could have a tap root deeply imbedded here.

Either way, we were not helped. In the first scenario, where I fell, I developed a resentment for my parents because the reprimand made me cringe and feel sick. In the latter, obesity raked the spheres.

Several years later, I became a parent and the need to work harder with the hope of a better pay caught up with me. Thankfully, I learned to allow my children to share their feelings. One time, when we were in a black out, they shared how happy they were because they could now have their mummy to themselves. It hit a note and made me realised that they needed a piece of me that I was endlessly pouring into my work.

Today, when my son reaches out for a peck or to give me a hug, I am a willing giver and recipient respectively. I love the bright smile he gives me after. When his follower cries out, “mummy ug, mummy ug.” I never act busy but give it to them. When the oldest of them asks for a moment on my laps, I realise it is not too much to ask but filling their heart because in the next 2 minutes, she is gone.

Parents, while you may not have all day to spend with your children, make the most of the time you get with them. They will appreciate it.Joan S, a journalist, blogger, and parenting coach