The phrase "quality time" usually refers to spending meaningful time with someone you love. A time where you are giving your full attention to someone, with no distractions. A time when you are either teaching, learning or making a special memory. While these things are all great (even essential to relationships) I refuse to have quality time with anyone. Here's why.
Labels create pigeon holes
I am all about schedules. And sometimes scheduling a moment of "quality time" in your day (whether it be quality time with your kids, spouse, or even yourself) can help you make sure you can fit quality time in your schedule.
But you should be cautious with scheduling in this type of time. It sets the precedent that the rest of the time spent with your loved ones is not quality. Does that mean you are no longer on your best behavior? Does that mean when a teaching opportunity occurs you do not take advantage of it since it is not during your scheduled time? Why limit yourself so that only a certain period of time is quality? This can do the opposite of what you intended to do - instead of making sure you get in some quality time during the day, you are limiting the quality time you could actually be having organically.
What happens when you miss your allotted time?
If you schedule quality time into your day, you are bound to miss it once in a while. What does it mean when that happens - that you don't spend any meaningful time together that day? Did you fail as a parent or spouse? Do you beat yourself up because you did not spend any dedicated quality time together? See where this is going? Setting up that kind of expectation can lead to some serious consequences if they are not met.
What qualifies as quality time?
Then there is the question of what quality time actually is. There are so many moments during the day that I spend with my family and consider special and memorable. There are also moments when I have to be away from them so I can work or get other things done. The amount of time I can spend with my family varies, but is balanced overall. I value every minute I have with them even if it is just giving them a bath, going grocery shopping or watching a movie at home. These activities are usually not considered quality activities, but we are still spending time together and making memories. Sometimes those lines can blur as to what is quality, and what is not. How do you determine what is and isn't?
Whether you are spending your time playing with your kids, having a meal at the dinner table as a family, doing chores, or even just relaxing, it should all be quality. Take advantage of every minute you have with your loved ones. That doesn't mean you have to be in super mom mode every minute of the day, but rather just pay attention to what's going on.When you're folding clothes talk to your kids as they help. Ask about their day and friendships. If you're working out, do it as a family. By making every moment a moment of quality, it eliminates the need for having to purposely structure it into your day.
Relationships are hard. There are days that are better than others, and days that are worse. But relationships are not something you can micromanage. They are fluid and happen organically. The most important thing you can do is spend time with your loved ones. It does not have to be quality time all the time. In fact, it is those moments that you may not even realize are important, that we can make the most meaningful memories in. Those little daily moments can be more quality then the ones that you plan, schedule and put a lot of effort into. Make every moment count, not just the ones you think should.