Ten minutes

Ten minutes

Mom guilt is a real life thing and I feel like, for me, it’s got worse over the past year since our first lockdown and working from home has become the new normal.  It’s like two worlds have blurred into one and it’s a fine line between working from home and living at work.  We’re at home, where our family spends time together and our kids play in the garden, but we’re not always on mom shift.  It’s definitely better now that they are back at school for the mornings, but still for much of the day we’re actually on work shift and it’s all rather confusing for us all, especially our children, I think.  We’re here but not here.  We’re in the same building but not available to play or chat.  Is it just me that feels the tension here and the guilt that follows?

For a very long time I worked really hard at keeping work at work and family at home.  It didn’t always work out 100% of the time, but for the most part, it did.  There were clear boundaries to separate the two, like the drive to and from the office, when there was a physical action to change gears from one shift to the next.  Now that our new normal is quite different and daily commutes are no longer happening daily, we’ve had to figure out a new rhythm to keep us all happy and sane!  Spending quality, present time with my children is still something that really matters to me, so we’re trying to figure about a few we things that work for us to keep shifting towards this.  One of these things is our ten minutes of play which I first read about on Instagram earlier in the year and have found to be a really good practice for us all.

Each weekday, we aim to spend at least ten minutes playing something together that one of the kids choose to do.  Today it was Uno (and yesterday because I won then and they didn’t like that very much!), last week we had pick up sticks and bike rides.  Ten minutes of dedicated, uninterrupted time with my children doing something fun that they choose to do.  Some of you may raise your eyebrows at ten minutes and think it’s way too short and that’s fine.  It probably is.  But honestly, some days even ten minutes feels like a stretch.  Most days we probably go on a bit longer, sometimes we manage only ten.  The point is, we all know it’s coming at the end of our day and we look forward to it.  It’s not homework time or driving to or from school time or mealtime.  It’s time just for them and nothing and no one else.  They love it.  There’s connection and conversation.  I love it.

Another thing I’ve learnt over the years, that I really find so important now, is to be totally present when I first see them after school.  If I’m picking them up, I leave my phone in the car, I wait for them and greet them as though they are the only thing in the world that matters.  If they arrive home while I’m there, I only go downstairs when I can greet them without being on a call or being distracted.  If I get home and they are already there, I finish off a call I might be on or a message I’m sending before I go through that front door so when I do walk in, it’s to say hello with a fully present body and mind.  It really makes a difference and we can all feel the love.

We can build our careers and be present for our children.  We can invest in ourselves and into their lives.  We need to give ourselves a bit of grace along the way.  A bad day doesn’t make you a bad mom.  I certainly don’t always get it right (a lot of the time I get it very wrong), but our intention is there that for ten minutes our worlds are in one place – no phones, no computers, no tv.  Just us in the moment together and our tanks are filled.

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