My daughter used to have a classmate who had a really high-powered mum who had climbed to the pinnacle of her corporate ladder. Needless to say, this ‘super-mum’ is well-known in her field and quite a figure in the elite strata of society, being the head honcho of a prominent blue chip company. During a interview with the local media, she was asked how she kept a good work-life balance and how she managed to find sufficient time and attention for family and especially her children.
Well guess what her response was? You guessed it: I just try to spend Quality Time with my children! Was she telling the truth? Maybe. Did she sincerely believe that Quality Time was all that was needed, no matter how little time she actually spent? Perhaps. Bottom-line is, what do our children actually perceive from our attitude? Do they understand the concept of Quality Time? Most likely not.
Someone once said that in the minds of our children, Quantity Time = Quality Time. I think there is much wisdom in that equation. I can’t even count the number of times I have used that same lame excuse or heard it being used by family members and close friends. I wonder if we have somehow psyched ourselves to believe that we can get away with spending barely any time with family and children. Don’t get me wrong, I do believe in getting to do the right things and to spend meaningful time with our kids. I just think that society has taught us to soothe our conscience with the most well-crafted excuse of all time. And dads, we are definitely way more susceptible than our better halves in this respect.
So is quality time just an excuse for lack of time? If we are honest with ourselves, we know what the answer should be and what we need to do to become better dads.