It's Okay to Do Nothing During Your Free Time
Do you ever feel like you have to be productive 100% of the time? In today’s busy world, that’s a common sensation. However, it’s okay to do nothing during your free time at home with your family. That will also generate an emotional connection between you and your loved ones, and it’s important to encourage that.
When parents have days off or more free time to spend with their children, oftentimes they end up organizing a multitude of activities and games, buy ingredients to make recipes as a family, think of crafts to do with their children, experiments, etc…
Perhaps among those productive tasks you’ve also included reorganizing playrooms and dusting off alphabet flashcards and subscribing to dozens of educational apps. But is all of this really necessary? Or even healthy?
Thoughts on your free time
As a parent with more free time, you may have taken it a step further and also wanted to encourage things like puzzles, coloring books, improving your children’s penmanship… Not to mention the goals you set for yourself. Perhaps, some of your thoughts on those days may have been:
- “Maybe now I can commit to a seven-step nightly skin-care regimen.”
- “Where can I create a workout space at home?”
- “Oooh! I can finally organize the thousands of photos on my computer that make it run so slow!”
- “Which book should I read first?”
- “It’s a good time to really concentrate on training the dog to stop barking at our doorbell…”
Really, there’s nothing wrong with this line of thinking. If you’re a goal-oriented person and you do better with structure and boundaries during the week, that’s fine. But, after the first day of being at home with your young children, you’ll feel like you’ve failed at something.
You didn’t do anything extra with your free time. You weren’t able to get through your entire to-do list and you’re already feeling frustrated. Possibly, you’ve come to realize that the little vision you had about starting a high-intensity New Year’s resolution workout was useless. And the goal of keeping the kids entertained and away from the TV didn’t even last half a day.
It’s okay to do nothing during your free time
You have to give yourself permission to relax and enjoy quality time with your family, and put your to-do list on hold. To measure your success, measure your happiness; you don’t need to spend hours and hours with your young children doing homework, recipes, or crafts to feel like you’re doing things right. Sitting on the couch cuddling them and singing songs in their ear is fine, too.
Your worth is measured by simpler things. Are your children safe? Are they loved? If cleaning out your child’s closet is what you want to do, great; but if falling asleep seven minutes after lights out in your baby’s room is all you want to do right now, that’s okay too.
Because, yes, in the end, all you have to show for it is a family that feels safe and loved. Even if crafts and experiments are in short supply or you were on your last nerve when your kids were making those “simple” recipes with you.
And, perhaps, when you no longer have the time off, you’ll miss those moments of doing nothing while you were all together at home.
Your children need you in their free time
Yes, what your kids really need to enjoy their free time is to spend it with you. They don’t need you to run to buy materials to make crafts, because you can make many of them with things you already have around the house.
They don’t need to spend all day doing activities. They may not want to take a nap, but they may be up for watching a movie with you or playing tickling games in bed next to you.
These days with more free time are days to reflect. So, as a parent, don’t feel guilty if you haven’t done everything on your to-do list. Don’t feel bad either if you don’t do them today and want to leave them for tomorrow. Are you happy with your family at home? That’s what really matters.