Recently I made a trip with my four children to my childhood home in Phoenix, AZ. I relived many memories of my life on this trip—driving past my childhood home, visiting my 19 year-old-daughter at my alma mater Grand Canyon University, spending hours in our dear friend’s backyard pool with kids splashing (and 6 year old Annie learning to swim on this trip), eating at my old favorite restaurants, visiting the church that Greg and I were married in 21 years ago, and having lunch with my college roommates. I embraced each season that was represented and shared it with my own children. However, there was something that prominently stood out to me—the impact my mom had on each of these seasons.
You see, my mom passed away almost seven years ago. What an enormous loss that was for our family. My mom was the cornerstone, the “rock” of our family. My mom was a strong, resourceful woman who impacted many—but especially me. As I relived each of these experiences on this trip, I realized that my mom was not only resourceful in life, but in her relationships. She used the simple daily moments to invest in me and others.
I began pondering this question “What am I teaching my kids in those ordinary moments?” I am confident that you and I share something in common as moms—feeling stretched and sometimes even overwhelmed in our daily duties both inside and outside of the home. We share the mundane minutes of life. Don’t stop reading here. This isn’t a moment to add one more thing to do in the day. I’m like you I’m right there with you you—balancing many different “plates” and longing to be the best mom I can be. But think for a minute about how many mundane minutes each day holds that could be… repurposed. Those minutes could be used intentionally to impact your relationships with your children, and the rest of your significant relationships. It’s not about having yet another thing to check off on the list, but simply keeping in mind that we can also be resourceful, much like my mom was, with our time to impact those we love.
We have 1440 minutes in each day. Here are some thoughts on different minutes during the day and ways to repurpose them.
Beginning of the day
While you’re making breakfast, you can start your day off by sharing a compliment or encouraging word. You can show a little affection—hugs cause a surge of the “feel good” hormone better known as oxytocin. This can set a positive tone for the day ahead.
While They’re away:
If you have children or a husband leaving the house to school or work, use this time away to build your relationship. I like to put a note in my kids’ lunchboxes—often on the napkin. They tell me it’s “corny,” but I know that they are getting the message that their mom loves them and is thinking of them. Text your spouse encouraging words while he’s gone to let him know you’re thinking of him. This let’s loved ones know that they’re on your mind and that they matter to you.
As your kids arrive home from school or daycare or your spouse returns home from work, take time to notice and reconnect. Let your actions speak loudly to communicate that you are thrilled they are walking in your front door.
Ending the Day
Use bedtime to connect. Say a bedtime prayer with your child or spouse and thank them for something specific from the day. It can be as simple as “Thank you for listening to Mommy when I asked you to clean up your toys.” These are the last words they will hear from you as they drift off to sleep.
As you live your days out with your children and loved ones – the laundry, dishes, and driving to dance lessons – let those be heartfelt moments.
Hello, Darling, welcome to the moments of everyday motherhood.
Erin Smalley is the mom to three girls, ages 6, 16, and 19, and one son, age 12. Originally, Erin was a labor and delivery nurse and then returned to school to earn a Master’s in Clinical Psychology. Although Erin thought she had sent her last child off to kindergarten, she and her husband, Greg, were blessed with their youngest child through the gift of adoption (something Erin dreamed of doing her whole life after being an adopted child herself). She works very part-time at Focus on the Family in the Marriage and Family Division, while attempting to balance life at home with four kids. She has co-authored three books, her favorite being Grown-Up Girlfriends—Real Friends in the Real World. When she isn’t in the car distributing children to activities, she can be found writing, running or tackling the laundry and dinner. You can reach Erin at www.smalleymarriage.com or firstname.lastname@example.org .