IF YOU GIVE A MOM A MINUTE
I have a confession to make. I steal from my children. Shocking, right? But hey, guess what. You probably steal from your children, too. Oh, the loot is nothing tangible. I mean, I don’t swipe dollars from their piggy banks or cookies off their lunch plates. And if that cute pair of earrings you’re wearing came from your daughter’s jewelry box this morning, well, you won’t see me pointing fingers.
What I’m talking about is more valuable. You and I, we steal time. Under the influence of the Calendar Queen, bit by bit we moms snatch precious time with our children—in increments of
just a minute.
“Mom, can I please have a cup of juice with my breakfast?” my older daughter piped up from the dining table while I closed cereal box flaps and returned peanut butter to the cupboard.“Sure, sweetheart, just give me a minute.”
“Sure, sweetheart, just give me a minute.”“Come see my picture, Momma! I colored it for you!” Little
“Come see my picture, Momma! I colored it for you!” Little sister shrieked from her chair, where she sat grasping a handful of crayons.“Wonderful!” I smiled. “I’ll be there in a minute.”
“Wonderful!” I smiled. “I’ll be there in a minute.”“Mom, I need your help. I can’t pull the cap off my glue stick.”
“Mom, I need your help. I can’t pull the cap off my glue stick.” My older daughter frowned. I glanced up briefly at both girls before wrapping a twist tie around a bread bag.“Okay, just a minute.”
“Okay, just a minute.”“Will you read me this book, Momma? Please?” The little one
“Will you read me this book, Momma? Please?” The little one pattered toward me with a favorite story in her hands. Just a minute, girls—I need to finish emptying the dishwasher. While stacking plates, I noticed crumbs scattered around the toaster, so I wiped the counter. When I hung the dishcloth on the faucet, I saw the sink needed scrubbing, which reminded me we were almost out of paper towels, so I sat down to write the shopping list. Shopping made me think about the checkbook, so I flipped open my laptop and paid a few bills online. And since I was already at the computer, I figured I might as well send a quick e-mail to my sister.
“Mom? Did you forget about my juice?”Oops.
Oops. If you give a mom a minute—she’ll take twenty. Then minutes add up to hours, and hours add up to days spent investing in
If you give a mom a minute—she’ll take twenty. Then minutes add up to hours, and hours add up to days spent investing in our own preoccupations rather than our children. Should a mom be her child’s slave? No. That is not at all what I’m suggesting. We mothers do have responsibilities to attend to, and delayed gratification can teach young ones patience and selflessness.
But I’m not talking about unreasonable demands here. When our kids ask for juice or books, they’re really asking for something else. They want us.
Our attention. Our affirmation. Our love. They want to feel safe. We are their safe place.
“Those who fear the lord are secure; he will be a refuge for their children” (Proverbs 14:26 NLT).
How many times a day do you say, “Just a minute”? For me, the answer used to be too many. It was once my default reply. But not anymore. When I recognized this mantra as the voice of the evil Calendar Queen, I saw how she was cheating me out of a closer relationship with my children. So I became determined to switch it around. Now, instead of stealing minutes, I grant them.Yes, I will bring you that juice—because it’s only going to cost me
Yes, I will bring you that juice—because it’s only going to cost me a minute. Sure, I can help with that glue stick. It’ll interrupt my dishes for just a little minute. I’d love to read that book. My to-do list can pause a minute—or twenty—because that’s all it really takes to make you feel important.
Think this sounds impossible, or even unnecessary? Then the Calendar Queen is whispering lies in your face. It doesn’t matter how crazy busy or important you are—nobody is busier than God. And even He gladly granted minutes to His children. People were bringing little children to Jesus for him to place his hands on them, but the disciples rebuked them. When Jesus saw this, he was indignant. He said to them, “Let the little children come to me, and do not hinder them, for the kingdom of God belongs to such as these.” . . . . And he took the children in his arms, placed his hands on them and blessed them. (Mark 10:13–14, 16)
In this particular passage, Jesus was at the height of His ministry, teaching crowds of people in Judea about the kingdom of God. A big job, right? With so much important work to be done, His disciples took it upon themselves to protect Jesus from petty interruptions from children.
But what did Jesus do? Did He thank them for their help? No way. According to scripture, Jesus was indignant. The Greek word for “indignant” here is aganakteo, which means “much grief.” Jesus was grieved to see His disciples shooing away the children. This was a serious offense in His eyes. So Jesus set the disciples straight. These children are not pestering me. My kingdom is their kingdom. By all means, let them come to me. And He took the time to hold these precious babes in His arms and bless them.
Can we do the same for our own children? They need our attention, and Jesus says they ought to have it. Your kingdom is their kingdom, too. Therefore, more often than we allow, everything else on our schedules can wait just a minute.
Excerpt was taken from The SuperMom Myth by Becky Kopitzke with permission of Barbour Publishing, Inc.”