Quality vs. Quantity

Want to talk about motherhood?

Ok, great.

If this isn't a great time for a vintage Olivia snap, I don't know what is.

Last week I wrote about how Livia and I sometimes do breakfast in bed or snuggle in the mornings and as I was writing it I had to select and delete this huge rambling paragraph about how special that time is for me.
Why?
Well, it was a Friday and it seemed a little heavy for a day that's usually reserved for Starbucks photos and shoe selfies. Also, I figured I could dedicate a whole post to it. Are you psyched?

I think the breakfast in bed thing got me rambling, because it's one of the only times during the day I feel like I'm as present as I should be. I mean, it seems like we should be doing this kind of stuff (reading together, playing little games, laughing) all day long, since I'm home with her all day, right?


Well, it's not really how our day goes.

After we've grocery shopped, gone to the post office, picked up paper towels because we forgot the first trip, made lunch, made dinner, cleaned goldfish off the floor for the 1,000th time, and used a handy magic eraser to remove the mural from the living room wall, I stop to think about how we haven't had any "quality" time that day. 

Beyond that, I'm often on my phone or the computer in a technology time suck or I'm distracted by a dozen other things that aren't important. I might be trying to respond to Etsy messages or photograph new pieces, or something else so I'm not always "there". I sometimes feel a little guilty that while we have a lot of quantity time together, it's not always quality time. Have I lost you yet?

I was babbling on about this to my mom recently (as I do about so many topics that don't make it on to the blog) and she brought up the quantity vs quality point and reassured me it wasn't some weird thing. The more I think about it,  I think all parents are trying to balance, trying to do your best, and (for me) wondering if you're doing it all right, which I often do.
In a snapshot world of Instagram and brief blog posts by parents who are so crafty, celebrate what seems like every minute of every day, and appear to love every single minute spent with their children, it's easy to feel like I'm falling short. Falling short for not soaking up every minute of the day with her, or not making enough "special" memories with her, not enjoying motherhood enough, just wanting to watch Dr. Phil and paint my nails, whatever. Then I get into the internal debate about what's "enough" which makes me a little crazy and ain't nobody got time for that.

If your Etsy order is messed up, now you know why.

Overthought? Totally.

So back to my point: quantity vs. quality

I'm hoping to use this trip home as a way to reset my thoughts about what I could and should do and just focus on having some more quality times with her. Setting down the phone, turning off the internal dialogue, and enjoying her - whatever that means. It doesn't all have to be Instagram worthy, it doesn't have to be special or celebratory, it can be totally average, boring, stacking blocks. So long as I'm "there".

Now that I think about it, this is heavy for a Thursday...but I'd be willing to bet so many moms feel this way. Right? Please don't leave me on mom island over here.

22 comments:

  1. Megan, I love this post :) We are ALL with you. I think as bloggers, it's hard to peel ourselves away from the online world sometimes. I too feel guilty 95% of my day when Scarlett is happily playing by herself and I'm on my phone or computer doing blog related stuff. Independent play is good though, and there are plenty of times during the day where I give her my undivided attention.

    I also truly feel that comparing myself to other bloggers/Instagramer's isn't fair because we ALL post the best of our lives, it's not all real. The moments are real but how you interpret it isn't :) I've been reading posts a lot like this one lately and it's really nice to know you're not alone.

    Mom guilt is a horrible thing, we all deal with it! You aren't alone :)

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    1. I'm totally with you on the independent play...I know it's good for her, and it's all about the balance! So very glad to have honest blogger friends like you!

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  2. You're not alone! (Get yourself some coffee, this is going to be long.)
    I've struggled with this, more so than ever, since I quit my job and started staying at home! I felt like when I was working full time that giving her my undivided attention when I WAS home was super important...but now that I'm here with her 24/7 I feel guilty if I'm busy doing too much stuff during our days. I know she doesn't need my undivided attention every minute of every day but it's a hard balance to find, especially when you work from home or have a small business. If I'm going to keep my business going, I HAVE to answer emails, take photos, interact with customers and work on orders...and it's just not possible for me to do all that during a 2 hour nap time and the little bit of time I get after she goes to bed. I've found what works best for us is to start our day off with some quality time (like snuggles in bed or a nice little breakfast) and then I'll take a little time to answer some emails or clean the bathroom. Then we'll play blocks or color for awhile and then, if I need to, I can post something on Instagram or package up a few orders. I do tend to be on my phone too much also and I hate that. It's something that I've been actively working on. Sadie turns into a total freaking hellion if I am on it too much and she's needing more attention from me....so rather than getting irritated that she's throwing crap or climbing on the table, I've learned to get my head out of my butt and do a fun activity with her, which is good for both of us! Our method of changing gears and switching back and forth throughout the day does seem to be working well though, as it keeps me from feeling like I'm falling behind on things while still keeping her happy and the mom guilt at bay. As far as the phone thing, I've started trying to pick 1 day a week where I stay off of social and I'm kind of digging it. Hey, it's a baby step, right? ;-) I think it is harder as a small business owner though because, and I'm sure you can vouch for this as well, Instagram is the backbone of my sales. I (theoretically) can't just let my momentum fizzle if I want to keep things growing. Sigh. I'm pretty sure that, as hard as we try, we'll never find the perfect balance but if your heart is where it's showing to be in this post, then you're doing just fine ;-) xoxo

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    1. 1. You know I always have coffee
      2. I'm so glad you get it...Etsy just can't be for into 2 hours a day, so finding the balance is tough! I loved reading everything you said and I'm going to steal your idea of 1 day off social media. It's good to unplug and refocus and I need that :) xoxo

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  3. I love this post. It's so honest and relatable. It's so true what they say about mom-guilt. I think every mom feels guilty about quality time. Time in general is just something we never have enough of. I do often feel guilty of being on the phone or laptop too much even when I'm a SAHM. Whenever I catch myself doing that, I try to unplug immediately and focus on the QT, but it's a recurring theme. I think you're doing a great job - even if we only see slices of your life through the blog or IG. Hope you have a good trip back home!

    xx Viv at JoieDeViv

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    1. Thanks, Viv! I feel like since I'm home with her full time, I don't always maximize my time with her so it's nice to know I'm not the only one feeling that way!!

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  4. You completely took the words out of my mouth. I do think all moms struggle with this and it is by far the hardest part of being a stay at home mom to me. It's when I read other blogs I am reminded and feel guilty or like I'm not doing enough. But this post is a huge breath of fresh air, and it's great to know that you're not alone in these feelings. Thanks for the truth mama! Hope y'all are having a blast on your trip! xo

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    1. Thanks so much! Trying to keep it real because I'm sure I'm not the only one who feels like I'm doing it all wrong some times!

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  5. Girlfriend, I think this is an inner struggle with most moms, especially the stay-at-home variety. I know I for sure struggle with it. After running errands, doing chores, making calls, checking emails, I think, well crap. I've told Lily "in a minute" several hundred times today and probably actually played with her for a few minutes. Those few minutes are soooo joyful though. I think our kiddos will turn out just fine. It's hard not to constantly question if you're doing it right. Especially when we had parents who obviously raised rockstars. ;) Thanks for being raw & honest! You're doing amazing!

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    1. I 100% get you. I say "in a minute" too many times to count. I'm with you, I think they'll be just fine and say we were crazy for being so neurotic.

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  6. I totally understand! I'm also a stay-at-home mom (little one is almost 8 months), and VERY new to the blog/Etsy business life. I decided to give blogging and Etsy a try since it's so very hard to make it work on just one income. It's a very hard balance to try to get everything done around the house, keep up-to-date on the blog/Etsy, and feel like I'm really "there" for our little one all the time. I try to get most of my stuff done during her naps or after she goes to bed, but it's just not possible to do it all then.
    One thing I found that really helped was just turning the push notifications off on my phone. Not seeing my phone light up with "so-and-so posted a picture", "this person sent you a message", etc. every 5 seconds has really helped keep me from checking my phone non-stop - because even when you tell yourself you're just going to check that one thing it always sucks you in for longer ;) Now I check it several times a day and just get everything done at once. It's surprisingly been a huge weight off my shoulders!

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    1. I really like that idea of turning all the push notifications off - because they constantly suck me in! Etsy is a lot of work, and I can't always get it done during naps, so maybe having less time on the phone will help me stay focused and get things done a little more quickly :)

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  7. very thoughtful post. i'm not a mom yet, but i have a lot of mom friends who struggle with this. i think you have a huge advantage by being able to stay at home with her. i don't envy the moms that have to leave their little ones (not saying that being a working mom is wrong, at all. i absolutely respect those women). i think we judge ourselves the most, she will be so thankful for all of these moments that you do share!!!

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    1. I hope she thinks I did a good job and you're right, we totally judge ourselves the most no matter what we do :)

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  8. it's a very hard balance...i work FT, and therefore, I "try" to make the most out of our evenings...between the time we get home from preschool, play a bit, get dinner ready, play a bit more/go for a walk.... all before bed...and then the day starts over. I switched my hours at work to actualy have more after work time (7-4 instead of 8-5) and it's nice! and on the weekends, i really try to do fun things with him...vs the mondane, cleaning house/errands/grocery shopping that has to happen.... it's hard. but you have a very valid concern and i think it's a constant WIP (work in progress).

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    1. I'm convinced all of parenting is a work in progress, am I right? It seems like as soon as I get one thing figured out, another thing pops up!

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  9. I totally get it and have felt like this so many times! Its a hard balance to strike. I always think about our moms and how when we were kids there was no instagram or etsy or even a smart phone to get sucked into period. Sometimes I wish it was still like that but then we wouldn't have blogs like this and ways to figure out other moms feel exactly like us and that actually, were all on that mom island together. :)

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    1. I feel that way too! The internet is such a time suck, but such a blessing in that we get to connect with other ladies who can relate!

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  10. We talked about this last night but I'm adding it here too- all moms feel this guilt whether they work outside of the home or stay home. We always question our decisions, how we
    Spend our time and I think we all worry about what others think of us. I felt incredibly guilty driving to my bar method class last night because I would miss bath time, but I also have to remind myself, like you said, that I'm a better mom if I take the time to take care
    Of my body and mind. You're an awesome mama and so are
    All of the moms working to find that balance no matter what their situation is. I just wish more of us worked together to support and lift up one another. I can truly say that as a friend you have never made me feel judged because we chose different things for our families and I appreciate that :) it can be hard to come by these days!

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    1. you are the best, and I love our chats - they set my mind right! xoxo

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  11. I completely agree with everything you said here. As much as I love a break here and there something as small as going to the grocery store solo can bring on feelings of guilt. I'm constantly questioning my decisions, wondering if she's getting enough attention, play time outside, worrying if she's getting too much screen time, etc. I'm glad to know that I'm not alone.

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  12. I'm right there with you. I'm a SAHM with an Etsy business/blog and it's so hard not to spend half the day looking forward to nap time/bed time/when the husband comes home time so I can work on my own stuff. Or attempt the precarious balance of trying to work on stuff on the computer while my 11 month old plays independently (which only happens in like 5 minute increments). It's a weird feeling to be home all day with your baby and still feel guilty about not really being fully present a lot of the time, but it happens and I'm sure every mom deals with it to some degree. I think it's even harder for the moms trying to run a business or get an idea off the ground. You have something you're really excited and passionate about and you want to see this idea grow but you only have naptimes to really be able to dedicate to it (and cleaning, cooking, everything else). Okay, that was a ramble, but you get it. Hang in there mama! At the end of the day we are all just trying to be the best mamas we can be. I know our kiddies are only benefiting from the time we spend with them.

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