Each of us has a certain amount of it. It depends on where we live. How much we can afford. What we do for a living. We have only so much bandwidth.
Not internet bandwidth, of course, although that often depends on the same factors. No, this is about a more personal capacity—a capacity for frivolity, for presence, for doing kid stuff. Some dads can put on a dress and sit at a tea party. Some mom’s can easily muster enthusiasm for their kid’s heavy metal band or love of anime or soft toss batting practice in the backyard. Some parents can get down and wrestle…but only every once in a while. Some parents can drive their kids around to vinyl record stores…but not with much excitement.
While we all have different levels of bandwidth at different moments, due naturally to what we have going on in our lives, the truth is we could also use more of it. And there is only one way to get more of it, and that is through force of will. It’s by ruthlessly eliminating the things that are currently and unnecessarily eating up bandwidth. It’s by training yourself to focus, to put the phone down. It’s by setting a rule: I will jump in the pool anytime they ask.
Just as so much of our professional lives depend on our ability to stream and send quickly over lightning speed internet, a happy family life with well-adjusted kids who understand they are loved also depends on ample bandwidth. Just remember: this bandwidth cannot be ordered. It cannot be upgraded through a provider. You have to make it. You have to make it available. You have to make it a priority.
It’s not always easy, but it’s worth it.