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Lynda Loveland: One on one - easier in basketball than parenting

Posted July 20, 2011

Lynda Loveland

I talked to a local parenting expert recently and she said the key to getting better behavior from your kids is spending more one on one time with them.

Really? No way! I’d never thought of that. That’s the nice way of putting my initial thought.

I KNOW I need to spend more one on one time with my kids. But HOW do I do it? Answer me that!

In families where both parents work, it seems virtually impossible. And when there are multiple children, the odds of winning the lottery seem better!

I lie awake at night thinking that my kids are going to be grown and out of the house before I get to really know them and have an influence and impact on them. That’s the long term stressor. The short term is this: I gotta stop the kids from yelling and not listening.

Monday through Thursday, it’s virtually impossible to do anything other than the necessities. I’m talking homework, dinner, clean up, bath and bed. And right now we’ve got ballet, swim and karate classes. I have to go to bed right after the kids which means I have to get my stuff done early too.

That leaves Friday night, Saturday and Sunday. I don’t know about you, but by Friday night I’m totally pooped and brain fried. OK, maybe I can catch up with each child over the weekend. Fat chance. There’s usually a birthday party or two. Plus household/yard work, errands, laundry and groceries. We go to the pool a lot now, but I don’t consider that one on one.

I think OK, what can I just let go? What can I slack on a little? And than I realize, NOTHING! I let a LOT around the house slide just to get the minimum done. I’ve got a to-do list that stretches from here to the coast!

I grow more stressed every day. I always thought I would take my kids out of daycare once a week to spend the afternoon with them. I’m down to one in daycare and it’s not happening. My heart is pounding just thinking about it.

Something’s gotta change. Or they’ll change, not because of me, but despite me.

Lynda Loveland is the mom of three and co-host of Mix 101.5 WRAL-FM's Bill & Lynda in the Morning. Find her here on Thursdays.


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  • mjade01 Jul 21, 2011

    How about spending 30 minutes at bed time with 1 child a night? The child gets one on one time with 1 parent and the other parent makes sure the other children make it to bed.

  • missparrothead Jul 21, 2011

    I HEAR you, Linda. Its a challenge to balance it all. I also work FT, and have 2 children- ages 9 & 11, and my to do list is very long as well. While we don't have very routine 1 on 1 time with our kids, it sometimes happens spontaneously. For example, if my husband and daughter are at Y Princesses mtg (Sun. nites), my son and I will play a board game while eating dinner. While walking the dog, my daughter might join me while riding her scooter and we talk. All of these short chunks of time add up. I agree with the other posters, that driving with your kids to their sports practice, and chatting or maybe stopping for ice cream as a treat once in a while counts too! All 4 of us will also have family movie/pizza nites or dinner and game nites on occasion, which also counts, albeit its not 1 on 1.

  • fridaynightfamily Jul 21, 2011

    Sorry I exceeded the character count!

  • fridaynightfamily Jul 21, 2011

    Linda, it’s called the “Society Virus”…it’s going around! So many people are going through the same thing, pedaling so fast we’re all burning out. A few months ago I started writing a blog about the way things “used to be” and the blog is based on getting back to those things. We need to get our family life back! I encourage people to hold “FNF Celebrations”. The first entry is in the May archive to the side of the page. It was the beginning of my journey to heal my heart and soul. (It appears you feel the same way) It’s called “The Way Home”. I have combined all the loves of my life, Food, Family and Friends. My 15 year old son, 28 year old daughter and I do the photography with his new camera. My girls and fiancée work in the kitchen with me cooking and I take the kids out on excursions (like strawberry picking etc.) The best part of this is that they have come to look forward to that time and ask “when are we going to do it again?” www.fridaynight

  • MomOfTwins Jul 21, 2011

    It is virtually impossible if you think of one-on-one time as time out of the house eating dinner or strolling the mall. But you're already making dinner- assign them each a night that they have to help with cooking and cleanup, right there you created 1-on-1 time with each of them every week and if you're doing other things there's less pressure on them to talk about "serious stuff" so you may end up actually hearing more.

    Next time you need to run to the grocery store to get a gallon of milk, bring one of them with you and turn off the radio/DVD in the car. Ask them what they ate for lunch, or what the craziest thing that happened at school that day was- yeah, you probably don't care to hear a 10 minute dissertation on how Joe mixed ketchup in his applesauce then added chocolate milk and drank it through a straw, but it's important to them and builds the trust that is the basis of them telling you the important stuff in the future- at least that's my goal!

  • DWH4sure Jul 21, 2011

    Wow, Linda - you just sang my song. I think about this every single day. My daughter's 9, and I see her growing and changing so much, and I worry that I'm missing it. I have to work - not because I want to (I'd love to be a SAHM), not because it makes me a better person, but because my family depends on my income to pay the bills, period. My husband is self-employed and therefore more flexible, so he ends up doing the things that my heart longs to do with her, like taking her to dance and soccer, being home when she gets off the bus in the afternoons, etc. My daughter has never known anything different, but I know. And it hurts. My one-on-one time with her comes each night when I tuck her into bed, and we sit and talk. That's the time I find out about her day, her friends, her troubles, etc, and I just soak it up like a sponge. I tell her I love her every day, I hug her as often as I can, and I have to believe that it's enough. It has to be.

  • Iwasthinkin Jul 21, 2011

    This is a common regret of all parents, myself included. We started having 'dates' with our kids. We would sit down with the calendar and schedule dates with each one of them one on one with mom and do the same with dad. The kids got to choose what to do, and, if it meant a restaurant, they chose the place and got to pay the bill (of course M or D supplied the $$) If it was something really getting their ears pierced, it bacame a lunch date at the mall. does take extra planning and yes, some other things will have to wait but I keep telling myself, the other things will still be there when my babies are's worth the effort and sacrifice for priceless memories....

  • carolinagirl28 Jul 21, 2011

    When my daughter wrote on a Father's Day card that she loved her dad because he was the one who cooked dinner, took her to soccer practice, and stayed home to take care of her when she was sick, I had a tearful realization that work was simply taking up too much of my time. No matter how I justified things to myself, that card made it impossible for me to deny that it wasn't affecting my relationship with my children. It took some financial adjustments and some tough decisions, but I cut back to working part time and it has been completely worth it. The kids are less stressed, I feel less guilt and more happiness, my husband doesn't have to be superman anymore, and we actually do have time to spend with the kids. I love no longer having those moments of panic that I am missing out on my kids' childhoods. Other posters on here are right - time goes by way too fast and you don't get it back. You have to decide what's most important to you. Surprisingly, it's really that simple.

  • asphinctersayswhat Jul 21, 2011 on one, but all the small moments that add up to your children knowing they are loved and are important to you.

  • asphinctersayswhat Jul 21, 2011

    I agree with Amomoftwo, recomboz and Turklette. I have 4, ages 4,6,8 & 10. I quit working when I was pregnant with number 3 and I am a stay at home mom and I STILL don't have time to spend frequent one on one time with them. I do, however, make sure I spend time with them while doing whatever. I often snag my 10 year old and have a little talk time with him while doing the dishes; my 8 year old is great for helping me sort clothes and he and I will talk about stuff and get silly while doing that; my 6 year old loves to help set the table and help with dinner and run his mouth non-stop while doing so and the baby girl, at 4, still loves to climb on my lap while the boys are playing and have a cuddle. I also ALWAYS sit down at the table with them. I don't always eat with them, as I often wait to eat with my husband when he gets home later in the evening, but I ALWAYS sit with them and spend that time with all of them. It's not so much about taking them somewhere fantastic, one on