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I waited until the holidays to spend quality time with my parents. So about 5 times a year. Christmas, Mother’s Day, Father’s Day, Thanksgiving and Chinese New Year. Sad, isn’t it? I really hope your situation isn’t as bad as mine was.
This is going to sound brutal but I often placed my school work and career above my parents. It’s kind of ironic because they wished for me to be successful in my academics and career. So the very thing that they wanted from me was also what was driving me away from them. Before you call me out for being a terrible daughter, that’s exactly why I’m making this video here. To expose myself.
No, I’m kidding. In celebration of Mother’s Day, I decided to make this post. Our parents care about us a lot. They put up with our annoying crying and whining when we were kids. They lost sleep, lost money and lost their sanity because of us. And they raised us till we were almost well-functioned adults. We’re probably just as insane as them. In a nutshell, without them, there would be no us. So we should show our appreciation.
But when we’re finally ready for adult life, we get so caught up in life and forget to spend quality time with them. In our busy and chaotic world, we often feel trapped in endless work so we have no leftover time for ourselves and our family. So here’s we can start spending more time with them:
1.Plan an activity with them.
My parents and I share common interest in hiking so we reserved it for the weekends. We absolutely love to take those nature walks and savor all kinds of beautiful sceneries. During those hikes, we get to talk A LOT. You’d think my legs would be sore, but it was my vocal chords. But I find myself looking forward to those hiking trips now. I get to look at sceneries I love and spend time with people I love! Cringe, sorry.
So brainstorm some activities that you and your parents could do together. Obviously something that is family-friendly. I don’t imagine taking them to a night club. Unless you have lit parents. Here are some ideas for you:
- Cook or bake a new recipe
- Take a class
- Go shopping
- Take a walk
- Go to the beach
- Go to the movies
- Watch movies at home
- Play board games
- Go camping
- Take a day trip to a park, amusement park, zoo, museum etc…
- Have dinner at a restaurant
2. Schedule family first on your calendar.
My calendar used to be filled with school, work and crying. Family, who? I decided that I would do a fun activity with my parents once a week. Not just a one-time thing. So I reserved Sundays solely for family time. It didn’t matter how much work, stress I had or if my friends offered me a free ticket to a resort (true story), that day would always be a family day.
It’s so important for us to prioritize family first in our schedule above everything else if we really want to make this work. They are NOT allowed to have the leftovers of your schedule. So figure out what day of the week you want to reserve for family day. Or, what time of the day will be time for family without allowing any interruptions or distractions?
But if you live far away from your parents, make it a priority to give them a call. In fact, schedule that too. Talk to them even if you run out of things to say. I can guarantee you that they’ll always feel happy to receive a phone call from their own son or daughter. I’ve worked in a nursing home before and literally all the seniors there had the greatest wish of receiving just a phone call from their kid.
3. Create a family ritual.
Family rituals are defined as something done on a regular basis. My mom and I pretty much established lots of rituals together without even realizing it. My dad, on the other hand, goes with the flow with everything. Here’s what we have:
- Afternoon walks. After lunch, we take a walk outside the neighborhood while leaving our phones at home.
- No-tech dinner time. Once it’s time for dinner, we place our phones away and just enjoy dinner and present moment together.
- Sunday hikes. We research and pick a new location to go hiking every week. We bring our phones in case someone wants to murder us.
- Weekends movie night. We both pick a show we both like to watch and reserve evenings to indulge in that show.
Pretty simple stuff but it makes a huge difference in bringing us closer everyday. So think of any reoccurring activities you could do with your parents. Whether it’s doing a no-tech meal, taking walks, watching a movie or other more. The ideas are endless. You can check out more ideas here. It may also help to talk to your parents about establishing any new rituals to add. Make sure you guys are on the same boat.
4. Cut down or eliminate time wasting activities.
I spent probably almost half the day watching Netflix. It made me realize within that time I wasted, I could have called up some family members or spent some quality time with my parents. Instead, I was watching a show that I don’t even remember now. So why was I sacrificing memorable experiences for unmemorable content? Till this day, I still don’t know. My book of excuses has been used up.
So find out if there is something that you’re doing that is completely wasting time and adding zero value to your life. Think of something that you can replace in exchange for quality time spent with them. Maybe you’ve noticed you’ve spent hours browsing through social media or maybe just like me, you’ve wasted away hours binge-watching some tv show. This is the time to cut down on those time-wasting activities and start to prioritize family time. Less screen time. More family time.
5. Do something nice and special for them. (Bonus!)
I asked myself: When was the last time I did something nice for my parents? Hmm, I couldn’t remember. I assumed by studying and working hard, that was enough. It wasn’t. Honestly, I don’t think anything we do can “repay” the amount of sacrifice our parents they made for us. But there’s always something nice we could do for them. Whether it’s buying a nice present, giving a massage, cooking a meal, or doing chores.
Recently, I’ve added weekend massages for my mom as part of my ritual. I dread it so much and it makes me want to whip out my book of excuses again. But at least it gives my mom something to anticipate. It’s also one way of giving without expecting anything back in order to be a better daughter.
- 1. Plan an activity with them. Find and brainstorm common interests with your parents.
- 2. Schedule family first on your calendar. Prioritize family time on your calendar whether it’s once a week or everyday. Other things come second. Don’t allow for any interruptions during that time. If you live far away from them, make sure to schedule a phone call.
- 3. Create a family ritual. Find activities to do with your parents on a regular basis.
- 4. Cut down or eliminate time-wasting activities. Figure out what time-wasting activities you’re doing that can be replaced with family time.
- 5. Do something nice and special for them. Think of what you can do for them whether it’s buying a gift, giving a massage, doing chores, or cooking a meal.
Don’t get me wrong. I’m still far from being the ideal daughter. Don’t call me goals. I have days when I give my parents tremendous headaches and nightmares. But at least I’m trying my best and I hope you guys are doing the same. Our parents won’t be with us forever in this world so we need to cherish all the time we spend with them. Love you, mom and dad!
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