You could call it holy time: ‘we-time’, a cocoon of love and attention. Philosopher Anne discovers that these days, it’s the new gold. And if you look closely, it’s there for the taking.
A fixed moment
‘We-time, you have to consciously make time for it,’ says Jan Derksen, clinical psychologist and professor at the Dutch Radboud University. He researches children’s education and their emotional development. ‘Our attention is extremely divided. We-time is time when you talk about what truly matters to you.’
How to make sure there’s we-time
Derksen is very much in favor of eating together. ‘Especially when it’s without a mobile phone! Don’t even put it near the table. Eating is the ultimate time for talking, for sharing what your day was like. Big and small things, just sharing experiences.’ It should be a fixed moment, every day. Because: ‘It’s about making it a habit. If there’s a tradition of we-conversations at the table, there’s trust.’
From ‘me’ to ‘we’
For a long time, we thought me-time was the most important thing. It was important to make time for yourself, in order to get through the week. ‘It doesn’t work,’ Derksen says. ‘Sure, you can make plans to do something for yourself Saturdays at three o’clock, but life gets in between. The phone rings, there’s groceries to be done. Besides: small children tend to want your attention especially when you’re busy. And the other way around: when you’re ready to do something fun together, they just started playing together. Part of we-time is really; being conscious about social media and the smartphone.’
If you see ‘we-time’ as something you have to do, something is off. Somewhere in the back of our minds, there’s the idea that we have to sacrifice ourselves for our children and that children cost us energy. Perhaps we should see them as little buddhas, whose simple presence enables us to gain more chi. You can see we-time as a continuous source of mindfulness, that you can tune into whenever you like. If you do, we-time isn’t an item on your to-do-list, but a place you want to be as often as possible, because it makes you happy.
Text: Anne Wesseling - Photo: Micah Hallanan