8 ways I make the most of my time with my child—and how you can, too

Balancing work with a child at home is difficult for any parent to manage.

As a working dad, I look forward to weekends with my son since I never feel like I have enough time to spend with him during the week. I usually leave for the office either before or soon after my son wakes up in the morning and return close to his bedtime.

But as a pediatrician, I know how important the bond between parent and child truly is to the healthy development of kids and families.

So here’s what I do to maximize one-on-one time with my child—and how you can, too:

1. Talk to your child while getting ready for work activities.

I typically have about 15 minutes each day from the time my son wakes up until I have to leave for work. I try to use this time to talk to him by asking him to help me choose my socks (which I wear even if they don’t always match!) and, at 19-months old, he even enjoys helping me find and gather my wallet, keys and everything I need to get out (almost) in time.


I also try to have breakfast with him whenever I can, even if it means occasionally having an unexpected smear of oatmeal on me when I arrive to work.

2. Come home early when you can.

Although this is not always possible when I have meetings or patients scheduled all day, on days when there is anything I can do at home after my son is asleep, I do. Leaving early gives me some extra time to see him at night and I can catch up on unfinished work after I put him to bed.

3. Put the phone away (or at least on vibrate.)

I have a tendency to take a lot of pictures of my son, which can often be distracting since he becomes more interested in touching the screen than with the activity we are doing together. I try to turn my phone off or leave it in another room altogether during this time I have with him, so I am never tempted to check emails or return texts that can wait until later.

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4. Leave your work day at the door.

This one is a hard one for me especially after a stressful day at the office. Be in the moment, try to leave work at work and focus on the time you do have with your child. Just last week, we spent time in the backyard and he helped me water the garden. He loved blocking the flow of water from the hose as it caused the two of us to get wet. I only had 20 minutes to spend with him and it was a great way for us to have fun together before bath time.

5. Prepare dinner with your child.

When I have time to prepare dinner after work, I put my son in a highchair so he can help out and be included. He has his pot and spatula in his hand and plays along. I also find this helps him eat what we make—helping to forge good eating habits.

6. Bath time can be quality time.

Even bath time can be quality time. My son loves choosing a

bathtub crayon to draw with. I use it to draw letters and animals on the tiles and make up a silly story. My son loves to draw with them and they wipe off the tub and tiles easily.

7. Make bedtime a daddy and me routine.

After his bath, my son and I sit in his room. He chooses a book that I read to him while he drinks milk. He often wants to read the book again and again. We end the night by brushing his teeth and turning out the lights in the house. I find that he loves having a set routine which helps him wind down and know it’s bed time.

8. Include them in every day activities.

I have my son help me with daily activities including putting away the dishes, the laundry, or groceries, and cleaning up his toys. It’s a win-win situation because he loves to be dada’s helper and I get what I need done, while still spending quality time with him.

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I felt lost as a new mother, but babywearing helped me find myself again

I wish someone had told me before how special wearing your baby can be, even when you have no idea how to do it.

My first baby and I were alone in our Brooklyn apartment during a particularly cold spring with yet another day of no plans. My husband was back at work after a mere three weeks of parental leave (what a joke!) and all my friends were busy with their childless lives—which kept them too busy to stop by or check in (making me, at times, feel jealous).

It was another day in which I would wait for baby to fall asleep for nap number one so I could shower and get ready to attempt to get out of the house together to do something, anything really, so I wouldn't feel the walls of the apartment close in on me by the time the second nap rolled around. I would pack all the diapers and toys and pacifiers and pump and bottles into a ginormous stroller that was already too heavy to push without a baby in it .

Then I would spend so much time figuring out where we could go with said stroller, because I wanted to avoid places with steps or narrow doors (I couldn't lift the stroller by myself and I was too embarrassed to ask strangers for help—also hi, New Yorkers, please help new moms when you see them huffing and puffing up the subway stairs, okay?). Then I would obsess about the weather, was it too cold to bring the baby out? And by the time I thought I had our adventure planned, the baby would wake up, I would still be in my PJs and it was time to pump yet again.

Slowly, but surely, and mostly thanks to sleep deprivation and isolation, I began to detest this whole new mom life. I've always been a social butterfly. I moved to New York because I craved that non-stop energy the city has and in the years before having my baby I amassed new friends I made through my daily adventures. I would never stop. I would walk everywhere just to take in the scenery and was always on the move.

Now I had this ball and chain attached to me, I thought, that didn't even allow me to make it out of the door to walk the dog. This sucks, I would think regularly, followed by maybe I'm not meant to be a mom after all.

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Every week, we stock the Motherly Shop with innovative and fresh products from brands we feel good about. We want to be certain you don't miss anything, so to keep you in the loop, we're providing a cheat sheet.

So, what's new this week?

Meri Meri: Decor and gifts that bring the wonder of childhood to life

We could not be more excited to bring the magic of Meri Meri to the Motherly Shop. For over 30 years, their playful line of party products, decorations, children's toys and stationery have brought magic to celebrations and spaces all over the world. Staring as a kitchen table endeavor with some scissors, pens and glitter in Los Angeles in 1985, Meri Meri (founder Meredithe Stuart-Smith's childhood nickname) has evolved from a little network of mamas working from home to a team of 200 dreaming up beautiful, well-crafted products that make any day feel special.

We've stocked The Motherly Shop with everything from Halloween must-haves to instant-heirloom gifts kiddos will adore. Whether you're throwing a party or just trying to make the everyday feel a little more special, we've got you covered.

Not sure where to start? Here's what we're adding to our cart:

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Becoming a mother has been life-changing. It's been hard, tiring, gratifying, beautiful, challenging, scary and a thousand other things that only a parent would ever understand.

It is these life-changing experiences that have inspired me to draw my everyday life as a stay at home mom. Whether it's the mundane tasks like doing laundry or the exciting moments of James', my baby boy's, first steps, I want to put it down on paper so that I can better cherish these fleeting moments that are often overlooked.

Being a stay-at-home-mom can be incredibly lonely. I like to think that by drawing life's simple moments, I can connect with other mothers and help them feel less alone. By doing this, I feel less alone, too. It's a win-win situation and I have been able to connect with many lovely parents and fellow parent-illustrators through my Instagram account.

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