I’m a 36 years old working father to a 2 years old son. Both I and my wife are working and rarely do we get to reach home before 9pm. More than often, our son is already fast asleep by the time we get home and he’s still asleep when we left for work the next morning. As you can probably guess already, there’s not much interaction between us and our son.
Weekend is the only time we have to be a proper family. That’s two days a week. It’s short, but we try to spend some quality time together. Quality is the key word. However, it is an effort. But it doesn’t matter how tired we were after working tirelessly for five days, during the weekend, our son is the priority.
We try to avoid spending too much time on our iPads during weekend. Everything that we do, we do it as a family.
We try to cramp as much family activities as we can such as family visits, family meals, shopping, going to the playground.
Can those be considered as quality time? Probably not to some, if not most, parents. But for my wife and me, those are the only time that we have for our son, unfortunately. It is all the time that we have to create as many fond memories as we can before he’s old enough to feel embarrassed to hang out with his old man and dear mum. Luckily for us, despite our busy schedule, we didn’t miss out much on his development. We were there when he said his first word; we were there when he took his first step. Secretly I believed he saved those especially for us because he doesn’t want us to miss out on anything either.
– by Eric Tan, 35, Crisis Communication Consultant
I have two rambunctious little boys, aged five and three. Being boys, they rarely want to stay at home, especially during the weekend. They’ll pester my husband and me to take them out, even if it’s just a short drive to the grocery shop so that they can buy an ice-cream or snacks.
They just love being outdoors; which is why my husband suggested (and I agree) to take them to places during the weekend.
If time and our health permits, we would drive to PD or Malacca over the weekend. We use the time in the car to bond. We play games, sing songs, and tell stories. We make every moment count, because we don’t have much time to spend with one another. If we’re unable to travel, we just go to nearby theme parks or recreational areas where we would jog and play sports together. We do what they love because that’s the only time we have to spend as a family and we just want to see them happy.
– by Kareena Raghu, 33, Accountant
Raising teenagers isn’t easy, especially when they are more interested in the world of social media than the real world. It saddens me when I see a family dining out but they are not talking to each other because they are too absorbed with their gadgets.
So my wife and I made a rule: no gadgets during family meals because family meals equal to family time.
Handphones aren’t allowed at the dinner table, and that includes when we’re eating out. We make sure to have dinner together every night as a family, and talk just about anything and everything. After my wife reach home from work, she’d cook some dinner; nothing lavish, just something simple that we can all enjoy. My teenage daughters would give her a hand in the kitchen, albeit grudgingly so at times. That’s the time when my wife would ask them about school, homework, assignments and friends.
We like to spend the weekend together, but at the same time, we understand our daughters are growing up and have their own circle of friends that they like to spend time with. So we made a deal. They can hang out with their friends during the day, but have to be home before dark because Saturday night is what we like to call our ‘Movie night’. Luckily for us, we’re all movie buffs so we either go to the cinema or just sit in at home and watch whatever movie played on TV, or sometimes we play the DVD if nothing interesting is on.