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Quality? Quantity? How Can You Tell?

June 2, 2017

Maybe it was the sappy Hallmark movie on the hotel TV. Maybe it was looking at the calendar and seeing a lot of travel in the summer. Maybe it was missing my kids, and my lovely wife, of course, from being gone for the week. Whatever it was, it got me thinking about the age-old question that all parents suffer with: Am I spending enough time with my kids? If I spend more quality time does it make up for less quantity of time?

First off, I have no idea what the right answer is. For much of my early life, my mom was a single parent. We spent a lot of time with babysitters. And yet, I don’t remember it being particularly neglectful. My wonderful mother may have made it a priority. I know that taking care of her kids was really important to her and she often worked multiple jobs. But, we didn’t miss out. After the time I was about eleven, she married my dad and we were your more or less typical dual parent family. It was great to spend junior high and high school with the same group of friends, the same house, the same family. It was nice.

My lovely wife and I will celebrate 30 years together this winter. And yet, in many ways, my kids have dealt with disruptive issues that I never had to face. Throughout my career I’ve had jobs that travelled a lot and some that didn’t travel at all. My kids, all teenagers now, understand that dad’s job helps pay the bills and travel is part of dad’s job. That understanding doesn’t necessarily help me not feel guilty about being gone.

I guess for me, and my current job, there’s no choice. I can’t do the quanity piece at times, so I have to focus on quality. I just hope it’s enough.

That sounds maudlin even to me. It really is time to go home.

Rodney M Bliss is an author, columnist and IT Consultant. His blog updates every weekday. He lives in Pleasant Grove, UT with his lovely wife, thirteen children and grandchildren. 

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