The Gift of My Attention

Today is Mother's Day and the thing that I've been thinking about all day is: how can I be a better mother? I know there are many things I could do to be better and more than I am, but one answer to that question keeps popping into my mind. 

That answer is to say "just a minute" less and to engage my daughter with more fullness of my heart and mind on a regular basis.

The Gift of My Attention 1Too often, I say "mm-hmm" and "wait a second" and "can you hold on?" and "mama's almost finished."  

Instead, I want to say "YES, let's go blow bubbles, read books, take long walks and point out all the things that there are to see, spin in circles until we laugh so hard we collapse on the carpet. YES, let's have fun just you-and-me...without a notepad or my laptop or a book to distract me."

I want my little girl to know - by my actions - that she is so much more important than e-mails or blogs or work or twittering or laundry or any of the little tasks that fill my day. I want her to see that I am 100% focused on her - her little games, her words, her interests, her songs. I want to give her the gift of my attention.  

I realize that I don't have to be fully vested all day long and that other things need to be done, but I want to commit to being proactive about special "you-and-me-and-no-distractions" time.

Harvey Karp, author of The Happiest Toddler on the Block, actually recommends that parents use a timer for this purpose: to set up a few five-minute increments throughout the day as "special times" - times when you give your child what they crave the most - YOU. I like that approach because it is practical, it is specific, and it can easily be added into my day.  

That's my final thought as Mother's Day closes. Less "just-a-minutes" and more "you-mean-more-to-me-than-this-ever-coulds."


Thanks to everyone who participated in my Themed Weekend. Have a very Happy Mother's Day!

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *

24 comments on “The Gift of My Attention”

  1. This is late, but I just wanted to add a comment. It's a blessing to see my daughter so involved and enjoying her own daughter. 'There is no greater calling than raising the children God has entrusted to our care!'

  2. Your post hits home for me. I try to be conscious of my time spent at home with my daughter especially since I work full time & feel like I already don't have enough time with her. I know that when I am folding the laundry & she comes up to me with her Clifford book, the first thing I want to say is "Give me 5 minutes then I will be done the laundry & we can play." However, I have started putting the laundry aside for 5 minutes to read the book (rather than vice versa).

  3. What a lovely post Stephanie! I fully agree, it's nice that instead of wondering what your daughter was going to do for you on Mother's Day, you were looking to see what you can do for her.

    You are such a wonderful mother, and a truely good person!

    Thank you for sharing, I'm sure your daughter will have the fondest memories of you growing up!!!

  4. I am right there with you Stephanie. I feel like I'm always telling my little guy to wait just one more minute. I think you summed up exactly what so many of us feel.

    I tried the timer trick today and I loved it. I think it's safe to say Jayce was pretty thrilled with it too. Very good tip. Thanks for sharing that!

  5. So true. I so often find myself filling my schedule up with commitments, projects, housework, and then being annoyed with my precious kiddos when they "get in the way" of me trying to get accomplish all these "important" things. I must constantly remind myself that time with my children must be my priority, and other commitments should be fit around them, not vice versa.

  6. Happy belated Mother's Day! You are so on point with this topic, and it is something I recognized when my oldest started preschool this year. Suddenly, our leisurely, fluid days of work and play (with work easily interrupted for play) turned into rushed mornings getting ready for school, shuttles back and forth for drop-off and pick-up, and an abbreviated at-home schedule that required more rigid work/play boundaries to get things done.

    I try to take full advantage of my youngest's nap time to spend time with my oldest, because this time goes by so quickly and then they are off to school full-time. Thankfully I have a husband who believes that my primary responsibility is to play with/teach/raise our daughters, not to vacuum/dust/scrub the toilets!

  7. This looks great I am going on vacation at the end of the month and I have nothing to pack in. This would be a lifesaver although I know I probably won't have it for this trip maybe I will for the next one. This time I guess my old bookbag will have to do. Oh well the beach is still the beach.

  8. I love this post! It really hits home for me. I find myself thinking alot about this, as I do alot of what you do too.

    I am off right now to shop for a cutie timer and start that practice.


  9. I think that is the biggest struggle for most busy moms. I have been working on dropping things, to say "yes" for awhile now. It is much harder than I thought to leave a project & go do whatever. But well worth it, my children will only be little & want mommy time for a while, I better soak it in before I am begging them for a second of their time.

  10. This is so true. It is really a challenge for us moms that work out of our home. I have the idea. I am starting it today!! Thanks, Stephanie!

  11. Stephanie,
    I feel the same way! I put my kids "on hold" far too often and have made some changes in my projects to help this stop. It's gone on far too long and it stresses me out. I know if frustrates them as well. My family is the's time I start acting like it!! Good luck with your special time!

  12. I sometimes think the same thing; is what I'm doing right now so important that I can't put it down and play with Blondie for a few minutes? Sometimes yes. But most of the time I need to cut back on my "yes, but in a few minutes" moments and play with her now. It won't be long before I long to go back to the days when she begged to dance with me, play with me, or hold my hand; I need to take advantage of the time we have together while we have it.

  13. Happy Belated Mother's Day!! I love your post...I have always told myself, that no matter what needs to be done..I will not put off playing with my children. Before we know it, they will be in school and these precious days of them wanting us to *play* with them will not always be there. This leads me to my next thought....If I ever thought that I needed to set a timer to make sure that I was *setting* enough time in my day to play with my kiddos, I would really start evaluating my day and how I was spending my time.
    So what happens when the timer goes off?? Do you tell your child, "I am sorry, your five minutes are up,now I have to go back to cleaning,typing,reading..etc." Just my opinion...

  14. Mmmm, great reminder to refocus on my sweet littles. My mom tells the story about when I was 3 or 4 and I wanted her to play with me. She said, "Just a minute, I'm working right now." I replied, " Your work IS to play with me Mommy!"

  15. What a great post. I like that idea of setting a timer. It would be nice if we didn't have to, though, wouldn't it? If we could just ALWAYS devote our attention to our children when they wanted it? It's hard, though, and I find myself often only half engaging.

    Happy (belated) Mother's Day to you!

  16. Love your post. I also find myself constantly saying - just 1 more minute, hold on, be patient etc. When really, I should just jump into the playtime full force and worry about my stuff later!

  17. This is something with which I struggle on a daily basis, especially with three vying for my attention (usually at the same time). I wonder how many times a day I hear some variation of the word "mom."

    I think using a timer is a brilliant idea, and I'll have to try it.

  18. I love this post for so many reasons. I loved reading The Happiest Baby on the Block when I had my baby. I thought that it was so helpful and felt like the perfect book for me. I am really excited about reading The Happiest Toddler on the Block. I also completely agree that a few five minute special play times throughout the day make all the difference. It amazes me how important these are to our children. :) :)
    Happy Mothers Day!
    P.S. I'm glad that you liked Layers Clothing. :)

  19. I love that tip to give 5 minutes increments of "special time". I'm going to give that a try. I'm curious to see how it works with twins, since they are always vying for my attention. I use a timer when they have to share a toy. It makes sense to use it when they have to share Mommy, too.

MetropolitanMama - See The World, One City at a Time
©2023 Metropolitan Mama - All Rights Reserved | Privacy Policy
linkedin facebook pinterest youtube rss twitter instagram facebook-blank rss-blank linkedin-blank pinterest youtube twitter instagram