In-A-Minute Parenting

Life is busy, add children into the equation and it is crazy busy. Careers, house keeping, families, health issues, errands, chores, appointments, school, courses; there is just SO much going on! As a momma I know there is always something that needs doing, always.

There is always a grazed knee that needs kissing, a spillage that needs mopping, a letter that needs opening, a bill that needs paying, a snack that needs preparing, a call that needs making, a coffee that needs drinking, a pee that needs taking, a diaper that needs changing, clothes that need ironing, a lawn that needs mowing, hair that needs washing, a floor that needs sweeping, a car that needs cleaning, a meal that needs preparing, a job that needs attending, a list that needs completing, shopping that needs fetching, laundry that needs washing, laundry that needs drying, a fight that needs refereeing, and a poop that needs scooping (out the bath)!

Life as a parent is a whirlwind of fleeing from one thing to the next. Our time becomes so consumed with ‘doing’ that we rarely just ‘do’. I am a nightmare for this. I will start one job, and then see something else that needs doing so will start that job, and then will see something else that needs doing so will start that job too. This then leaves a trail of half-started jobs, and leaves me feeling more unaccomplished than when I started the very first job. It’s a viscous circle I visit hourly! Anybody else?

Often during the day I will try and catchup on a few chores whilst the children play, they’ll often say “Mummy I want you to play with me!”, and I will say “In a minute, I’m just cleaning first”. They often go away with a sad glint in their eye and I feel like a bad momma. Obviously sometimes there are certain things that I have to do, but there are a lot of other times when my kids matter more.

If I counted how many times I said ‘In a minute’ during one day I think I would be ashamed of myself.

Today my 3yo fetched an interactive puzzle from his toy shelf and asked if I would help him. I had literally just sat down with a cup of tea, so naturally I said “I will do it with you in a minute!”. He didn’t even question me, he just looked sad and went to put the puzzle back on his shelf. An instant wave of guilt and regret surged through my momma bear heart, and I thought ‘Hell no have I just hurt my babies feelings just so I can drink a cup of tea, the tea will be there tomorrow, this moment with my baby boy will not!’ I called my 3yo back and said “Actually no, we will do the puzzle now like you wanted!”. His face lit up. He felt worthwhile. I added another drop of self-esteem to his confidence bucket. I would give up all the tea in the world, infact I’d give up anything in the world to spend time with my boys.

In that moment, seeing my little boy walk away and not even attempt the puzzle alone because he wanted to do something with his momma, I had a big fat slap in the face. How many times did my children hear ‘in a minute’? Too many was the answer. The puzzle took ten minutes, and after we had finished it he happily played with his cooking set alone for thirty minutes, win-win situation there. My tea can be reheated, his little spirit is not so easily fixed, that’s why I had to change my mind.

When my 4yo asks me to read him a story when I am half way through an important email I will no longer say ‘in a minute’. The email recipient will not remember the hour I sent them an email reply, but my 4yo will remember the moment momma was too busy to read him a story. I am busy being a momma, not too busy to be a momma.

From now on I vow to be present, and vow to play.

Dishes can wait, emails can wait, social media can wait, everything can wait, everything but time. Time is precious, and I intend to make our time count. I will be the ever-ready momma, the ever-present momma. No more in-a-minute parenting!

Anybody with me?

4 replies
  1. Kirstie Smith
    Kirstie Smith says:

    Becci, I love your blog. You often seem to know what I am thinking! I have recently read the book ‘Not Now Bernard’ after my two-year-old kept talking about it he was reading it at nursery. What an eye-opener! I realised that, I too, often say ‘in a minute’, or ‘not now’, or ‘please be patient’ and have started saying ‘yes’ and joining in realising that my boys will not be young for long and in a few years I will be drinking (hot) coffee alone. Once again, you have it spot on.

  2. Donna Miglino
    Donna Miglino says:

    ADMD, (Attention Deficit MOM Disorder), is an occupational hazard:) The mess, the tea, the bills…it will all be there tomorrow. You have it right. It flies by much too quickly to miss it.?

  3. Dawn from HardlyBored
    Dawn from HardlyBored says:

    I too am guilty of saying “Just a minute” way too often, my kids are not so little anymore and now they don’t want 10 minutes of my time quite so often. I missed that. It is just gone and can never be reclaimed. Don’t put them off trust me.

  4. rue
    rue says:

    As a mum of 22, 19 and 18 years old’s I am so glad I realised this when they were small. you can hoover another day, and skipping bath time for extra stories works too, my house has been a tip for nearly two decades and finally I am tidying, but the memories and my happy children are worth it. So I dont do dinner parties, so what, I fed my kids and then played board games not did the washing up! I didnt take extra work so money was never easy but I spent every non work day with them, and if I was going somewhere and they couldn’t take the kids then we went somewhere else. Well done and enjoy your children, they grow so fast!


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