I was having conversation with a dear friend. We were meeting for prayer and we always try to ask what we can pray for one another specifically. She shared with me that she was struggling with the ever too familiar mom guilt.

Can you identify with mom guilt? Of course, you can. We moms live in mom guilt city! Every once and a while we can convince ourselves to go on a vacation, but the vacations never last very long and are often cut short.

My friend’s mom guilt was coming from her desire to serve in our church yet be a good mom and wife all at the same time. It’s a difficult balance to achieve. She wants to be all-in for Jesus and serve in every way possible. She had just recently added in some new ministries, and she was feeling like she wasn’t giving her kids the time they needed.

This is an issue I’ve struggled with for my entire mom career. I immediately understood exactly what she was feeling, and I identified with her enormously compelling guilt. I told her, “This is great! I also struggle with this, so I know exactly how to pray for you. I’ve been praying about this for seventeen years!”

I went on to share my prayer for this area of my life. I pray that God will show me what is most important for me to do for Him. I ask Him to show me areas I need to cut out. I ask Him to give me a heart for only the ministries in which He wants me to take part. I pray I will have the strongest desire for my first ministry, my children. I pray He will show me how to spend time with my kids. I pray He will show me how to make that time quality.

Being troubled about how we spend our time is a reasonable concern. We can waste much of, if not our entire life, if we’re not careful. Like Ecclesiastes says, All the time and energy spent on building, gathering, and acquiring was vanity in the end. Ecclesiastes 2:11, “Then I turned to all the work that my hands had designed and all the labor that I had toiled to make; and notice, all of it was vanity and chasing the wind.” We should be attempting to spend our time on what counts for eternity. “Redeeming the time because the days are evil.” Spending quality time with our children, who are our first ministry, and our first little mentees, is a valuable use of our time. It is good! However, we do have obligations, we also have other ministries and responsibilities so there must be a balance.

As our conversation continued, I shared the ways I spend time with each of my children. It’s not always in the same way because my children are each very different. Your kids are each very different too. Thank God He is creative and didn’t just make a bunch of cookie cutter people. You are special and unique from all other human beings. Your children are each unique individuals. They each experience joy in different ways, they each feel love in different ways, they each show love in different ways. Therefore, it stands to reason, they will each have a different definition of quality time. Our job as moms is to figure out what is quality to each of them and be sure to be spending that kind of time with each of them.

My oldest daughter Kathryne loves to run errands. Kathryne really enjoys watching medical shows with me. She feels like it’s special if she and I lay in bed watching House even if I’m typing on my laptop. So, you see, quality time with Kathryne doesn’t necessarily have to be my undivided attention, making eye contact, and focused conversation. I can be accomplishing my responsibilities and spend quality time with her.

My youngest daughter, Violet, would feel like I were torturing her if I forced her to watch medical shows while I type. That’s not quality time for her. Violet enjoys bike riding with me, she also likes to run errands together. She is jealous for my time, so she requests errand running alone with no other sisters.

As you can see quality time is defined differently by each child. While you think you have to take each of your children separately and give them time where you’re not doing anything but focusing on them, they may not be requiring such an intense expectation.

Please don’t misunderstand me, I’m not telling you to never give your kids focused special undivided attention. I do believe they need that but not as often as we may think. I’m saying figure out what is quality time to them and deliver that. You may be placing expectations on yourself that are based in your imagination. We as moms can be so hard on ourselves. We create problems that may not even be real.

Take time today to spend quality time with your children in a way that will speak powerfully into their heart.