There are 1440 minutes in a day. Subtract the nine hours or so that my children sleep, and that leaves 900 minutes each day in which I am bombarded with questions, requests, tearful pleas, laughs, kisses, hugs, and messes.
At times, I feel overwhelmed as a mother. I have three small children, and their care is the most important thing in my life. It’s easy to get so caught up with chores that I neglect the most important part of homemaking—love. It was my children who recently reminded me what the best-spent minutes in my day are.
I was rushing around, trying to get the room cleaned before my baby woke up from his nap, when six-year-old Charlotte came with the sweetest smile and asked if I could put together a puzzle with her. I tried to persuade her that she should try and do it on her own, and explained that I really didn’t have time right then. The look of disappointment on her face showed that more than help with the puzzle, she wanted a few minutes with me. I stopped to consider what I was about to do. When Charlotte looks back on her childhood, what do I want her to remember—the clean room, or our times together? I played puzzles with Charlotte, we had some laughs, and I hugged her when we were done. Ten minutes well spent.
“Mommy, Mommy, please read me this book!” Three-year-old Cherise had already had three stories that night, and I was tired and wanted to get some work done before collapsing into bed myself. I tried to sweetly tell her no, but she persisted. What she really wants, I thought, is a little more attention from me, a few more moments to show me she loves me and to be assured of my love. I read her another story as we cuddled beneath my blankets, and she fell asleep on my shoulder. Fifteen minutes well spent.
It had been an especially busy week, as I was helping to prepare for an event for 100 underprivileged children, and today we were having guests over. My to-do list was overwhelming. Then my daughters asked if they could bake some cookies for our guests. I tried to reason with them. We didn’t need to bake cookies, because we had some from the store to offer our guests, plus I was really strapped for time. But I couldn’t resist their sweet, pleading faces. As they served the cookies to our guests, full of satisfaction at having made them almost entirely on their own, I was glad I had given in. Thirty minutes well spent.
My nine-month-old son Jordan can really keep me running around, trying to keep up with his antics, taking things out of his mouth, and keeping him away from our rambunctious pets. When he couldn’t sit still and play with something for one minute before crawling off into trouble, I became exasperated. He was whiny and cranky, and I was getting a headache. Somewhere in all the madness, I realized that maybe he needed some extra love, and so did I! So I took him into my arms and let him put his head on my shoulder while I gently danced with him. He loved it! After a little snack, he played happily by himself long enough for me to help the girls finish their schoolwork. Fifteen more minutes well spent.
In the course of our busy days and adult responsibilities, let us not forget that every minute we give our children is an investment in the future. The rewards will last for eternity.
Excerpted from Activated magazine. Used with permission.