Quasi-Indefatigable Xenolith


Getting More Family Time


A lot of people ask me how my family does it: "How do you get family time in such a hectic world?"

First, I want to say that we are not a "superfamily" or anything like that. My wife Lisa works incredibly hard and I spend a lot of time away making money for us. I can say that we do things quite a bit differently than others around us, which is why I am writing this. Perhaps you can find a few things here that your family is willing and able to do to create more time.

Barriers to Family Time

In general, I want to say that most people actually do want more time with their kids. I think the foolishness about "Quality Time vs. Quantity Time" is about dead and, in case you didn't hear about the ending, families need a great Quantity of Time together so that you can find those golden nuggets of Quality Time together. If you want to go looking for time, it helps to know where time is hiding in your life:

Paid and Unpaid Work

I would have to say that the top spot for missing family time is found at the place or places you work for money. A close second is at the kitchen sink, the laundry room, and the garage: places where the work of living in a home happen. We often do these things without including our families, so that time is lost to them.


Just for fun, I will put this next, though it can easily overtake work. We often think of absent parents as the problem, but absent children, occupied by school and after-school athletics and homework can destroy any chance for unobstructed family time.


Everyone decries the fact that we spend too much time watching TV. Even if our family is watching with us, we rarely interact with each other while the "boob tube" is occupying our thoughts. This just proves that knowing what the problem is doesn't mean that we choose to solve it.


Society tells us that having our kids in soccer, ballet, piano lessons, church youth night, and other "enrichment" activities are worth the sacrifice. I am here to say that it often isn't. Unless parents are actively engaged in these activities with their children, it takes away from family time and must be taken into consideration.

There might be others, but I am doing this on the fly, so bear with me.

Tough Talk

I am going to say some painful things that will guilt all of us parents. It has almost become a hard and fast rule that we starve our children by giving them very little family time. Schools are quick to blame us for never-before-seen problems in our kids, and they are right to a degree. Though society can be blamed a bit for providing us with rotten role models for healthy family life, we are just as guilty for actually letting our families become as bad as those of the celebrities we see on the TV.

Typically, our biggest problem is bad priorities: we often put a lot of things before spending time with our children. You might not mean to, but many of us do take care of hobbies or "buddy-time" rather than spending that time with those who are truly depending on having our ears and our attention and love. We often do a lousy job with our kids and we must do better.

The Laundry List

Like I said before, our family is quite different from others, so you probably won't be willing or able to do some of these suggestions. Take what you can use.

An Update

It is a beautiful, beautiful world where good ideas go sour. I must say that I still agree with everything I wrote above, even from the standpoint of ten years in the future. What I can say is that I am an incredible hypocrite and I have done better in the past in the implementation of these ideas than I do now.

Happily, people, even little people, are a pretty hardy bunch and can withstand quite a bit of garbage. I am certainly not advocating a regular diet of neglect and excessive "screen time", but it seems that many, many decent adults are produced from less than stellar home-lives. I am trying not to beat myself up about the fact that, for instance, we put the younger kids back in school and I don't want you beating yourself up either over ideals that you can't seem to pull off. We should certainly try to make some improvements here and there and even our sad efforts will be paid back in spades.