15 MINUTES OF SUMMER

How was your weekend, friends? Another one gone so quickly that I feel like I barely blinked and then it’s Monday again!  How is it that some days and months seem to fly by and then some hours seem to drag on for an eternity? Like the hour before dad gets home from work?!

This summer has been like that.  Just when we’re really rolling along with our lazy days of sleeping in and staying up too late, our summer break is winding down with just two weeks to go.

I was mildly concerned about how this summer was gonna go with James and Jordan at home and no camps or trips or anything really on the agenda.  I’ve learned in summers past that James enjoys staying home and that a camp where “all they do is play all day” isn’t his idea of a good time. #gofigure He wants to be building, creating, getting into characters and most of all, wearing his pjs!  So, I decided to go with the flow, which is becoming more my nature as I’ve gotten older, although there is still plenty of Type-A schedule-oriented blood running through my veins.

We had a crazy busy end of the school year with James in karate, baseball, and theater and it was too much.  For me.  It didn’t seem to bother him, but I was over keeping up with it all. The summer break with “nothing to do” was a welcome change.

So, we’ve taken it easy, stayed home a lot of the days, bought a little pool for the backyard, went to the big pool some, and played at the splash pad.  James’ two cousins came over a lot and they are a fun trio.

kids at pool

My Swimsuit ⋅ Similar Rashguard

pool

Jordan rashguard

Crocs

James splash pad (1)

Similar Swim Trunks

We did ordinary stuff like make chocolate chip cookies,

kids making cookies

Rug (on sale)

play baseball in the backyard,

baseball

and ride in the wagon.

red wagon

Pink Sneakers

We went to a baseball game . . .

Astros Game

and a last-minute weekend vacation for 4th of July to Lost Pines.  One of my favorite parts of that trip was watching a movie with James outside, under the stars.  Blissful!

movie nigh lost pines

bonfire smores lost pines resort

kids at lost pines swimsuit

kids ice cream

Toward the end of the summer, James took a few golf lessons and it turns out he’s got quite the talent for it. They practice and learn for two days and on the third day, play 3 holes.  It was funny when he came home on day two and declared, “my tee time is at 7:15 am tomorrow and I need to be dressed in appropriate golfing attire.”  He was so proud when he made the shot across the pond on his first try!  And then he did made it again on week #2!

kid golf

kid golf course

Eyelet Tank ⋅ Similar Shorts ⋅ Sneakers ⋅ Sunglasses ⋅ James’ Appropriate Golf Shirt 

More importantly though, I’ve loved seeing how he’s taken to the role of big brother.  He adores his little sister and is so good with her. She’s pretty fond of him too.

little sister big brother

I’m so so thankful that we took this summer slow.  It was good for all of us.

In my typically over-scheduled and ambitiously productive life, I have to consciously remind myself to savor the fleeting moments that are my kids’ childhood and my experience of it. I have to stop and sit and just watch Jordan eat her food with her tiny, perfect little toddler fingers.  I have to pause to really hear the joy in their magical laughter.  And I have to remember to look James in the eyes when he’s talking to me.

Awhile ago, my friend told me about her visit with a child psychologist who encouraged her to give her young daughter 15 minutes of undivided attention each day.  At the time, my first reaction was, 15 minutes? That doesn’t sound like that much.

Then I started paying attention to how long I gave my own kids 15 minutes of undivided attention.  I was surprised and ashamed to realize it wasn’t as often as I thought.

Sure, I played a lot with Jordan and read books and went on walks with her and I’m with her way longer than 15 minutes at a time.  But I’m embarrassed to admit that my attention wasn’t always 100% on her, even when I was with her.  After 5 minutes I might be thinking about what I need to make for dinner or about an email I need to respond to.

Yes, those things are part of life and must get done, but there’s a time and a place. A time for planning and preparing and doing and a time for really being with my kids.  There are busy seasons and busy parts of the day of course.  But, surely I could carve out 15 minutes everyday for undivided one-on-one time.

I know it sounds crazy, but I’ve actually set the timer before so that I could make sure I was focused during that time and it was eye-opening to see how quickly my mind could start to wander when playing legos or how I’d just want to organize them! I’m working on it. Now I just try to pay more attention to what we’re creating and how he came up with that idea or watch his boy hands work.

It’s hard to always be focused on your kids when they’re doing something you’re honestly not interested in. Please tell me you’ve been there or I’ll feel like an awful mom!! But, I’ve also been given so many opportunities to engage with them and to do things with them that we both can enjoy.  Or maybe with Jordan, because she’s such a busy bee, I’ll just sit nearby her and observe.  She’s at that age where it’s truly fascinating to watch the connections in her brain and see her figure more things out on a daily basis.

I’ll just say that that conversation with my friend stuck with me and that the intention to be really present for 15 minutes at a time has changed me as a mom for the better.  I want to be the best mom I can be and I know we need to allow ourselves GRACE because we’re doing the best we can!

Jordan polka dot swimsuit

Jordan tutu

James and Jordan

I love these two to pieces!

And yes, I will welcome that comfortable routine again when the school year starts!

#butfirst,twomoreweeks!

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36 Comments

  1. July 31, 2017 / 6:09 am

    Wow, what a powerful reminder (the 15 minutes thing), I think perhaps especially for the youngest sibling! The first kid gets all of that undivided attention when they’re babies/toddlers and when the second comes along, they have to contend with their older sibling’s schedule, needs and wants, etc. Cue the mom guilt! 😉 I agree that I think it is all about the effort…and grace.

    • July 31, 2017 / 9:19 am

      That is so true, even in our household! I’m glad to see them starting to actually play more together and now there’s things they can enjoy together- like going on those evening walks and playing in the splash pad!

  2. Kate
    July 31, 2017 / 6:44 am

    I am a long time reader and have never commented before but this post truly spoke to me. It is such an important reminder for all of us mothers who can get bogged down in the hustle of day to day life to take those precious minutes with our children. Thank you for this post.

    PS: All of your photos are so beautiful!

    • July 31, 2017 / 9:18 am

      Thanks so much Kate! I loved going through all these summer photos- I’m so glad I got a chance to capture all these moments!

  3. Janine Tuero
    July 31, 2017 / 7:33 am

    James reminds me so much of my son who is 6. He loves building legos, and being home. We also opted out of camp, and our summer still has 6 weeks to go!
    I love your advice of giving 15 mins of attention each day. THat was eye opening!
    Love reading your posts, and following your sweet family. Thanks for sharing!

    • July 31, 2017 / 9:17 am

      I was worried that the 15 minute thing would sound pitiful, but I’m glad you understood my heart on that! Thanks for stopping by Janine, enjoy the rest of your summer!

  4. Melody
    July 31, 2017 / 8:00 am

    I needed to read this today. Our school year starts back on Friday, so my two stepdaughters are back with us for the school year. (They stay with their mom during the breaks.) We have two little boys too, so I’ve always worried I’m not connecting with each kid enough, especially the girls since they are in school during the day. If I can focus on each kid for fifteen minutes a day, that could make a big difference! Thanks for sharing!

    • July 31, 2017 / 9:16 am

      You’re like us and school starts early! I’m glad this post was good for you!

  5. Grechen
    July 31, 2017 / 9:37 am

    By far one of my favorite posts from you. Just this weekend our sermon was focused on “just being simple” in this always on and always busy world we live in.I love how you let him do what he wanted and it was just be home , no schedules, no camp just being a kid at home. Sometimes we need to slow down and remember to just live in the moment, to put the phone down and take it in and not always be “on”
    Always cherish the simple moments.

  6. Katherine
    July 31, 2017 / 9:41 am

    Yes, it’s crazy how long 15 minutes can seem! Ugh… but I have found some common interest things I can do with my kids that I actually enjoy, puzzles, certain games, coloring on sheets I printed (I don’t know why but I really hate coloring book paper) and it makes me feel better that we can enjoy some time together but I don’t have to be playing trains which ranks right up there for me with recycled paper! Hah

  7. Katherine
    July 31, 2017 / 9:42 am

    And also, I get tons of book recommendations from http://everyday-reading.com which has totally transformed my view on reading to my kids, I enjoy the books just as much if not more than them!

  8. Ali
    July 31, 2017 / 10:38 am

    I am a long time reader and have never left a comment. This post is amazing and you are amazing Megan! Thank you for writing this! I love your mothering posts the most. Thank you for sharing your life and your blog. I find it very inspiring. Your family is adorable!

  9. Lee Ann
    July 31, 2017 / 1:21 pm

    Thanks so much for the reminder! 15 minutes is hard for me too! And another one I heard that stuck with me…..when you hug your kids, let them be the first one to let go. I have one that’s not much of a hugger, but another one that will hug for a lOOOOONg time. It’s such a challenge for me to let her end it first, but something I really try to do. 🙂

    • July 31, 2017 / 2:18 pm

      I haven’t heard that one about the hug but I’m gonna do that- James is a big hugger! He’s always trying to hug and kiss Jordan but she doesn’t like it too much so she’s always trying to wiggle away!

  10. Annalee
    July 31, 2017 / 3:21 pm

    Long time reader of your blog, you are amazing and so inspiring! It would be great to see a daily make-up routine post – I can’t get past how perfect your skin looks and how you manage to define your features without looking like you have very much makeup on. I would love to know your tips and favourite products!

  11. July 31, 2017 / 4:21 pm

    Such sweet pictures and wonderful memories being made. And AMEN! That 15 minutes applies to your spouse too!!!

  12. Pam B.
    July 31, 2017 / 5:49 pm

    I have been doing the 15 minute “rule” for all of my kids for years and it you don’t realize how hard it is until you do it! When you hear 15 minutes, you think ‘easy’, but your mind starts wandering pretty quickly. To make it easier to start the 15 minutes, we started (and still do this) at dinnertime asking “what was the best part of the day, what was the worst part of the day, did anything make you smile, did anything make you sad, did anything make you belly laugh”. Even very young kiddos can answer these questions and these questions are so much better than “how was your day?”, prompting better answers than ‘fine’. Even if you are with them all day, you get a better sense of what is going on in their minds.

    • August 1, 2017 / 9:00 am

      Isn’t that true! We do something similar at bedtime and share our favorite, least favorite and funniest part of the day!

  13. Leah
    July 31, 2017 / 6:51 pm

    Thanks Megan for your post. You are doing a wonderful job with those beautiful kids!! I have a 10 year old son and I am a Child Therapist and work with kids and families all day long. One thing that really sticks out for me is how busy every parent feels they must keep their child. I am amazed by the late sport and club schedules during the school year…especially for the little ones! Of course, if the child has a strong desire or skill it should be nurtured but mostly what I hear from the kids is that it is “okay” but in the meantime they are exhausted, cranky, and not getting enough down time, which in turn means their parent is also busy managing all of this and are also exhausted and cranky! This does not equal any quality time together and often a lot of family conflict. I have had to work to not get caught up in thinking I’m failing as a mom if my son isn’t in every activity. One day when a friend was expressing her displeasure in all the scheduling of the kids as we were trying to set up a time to get together, I let her know most times were fine with me because “we don’t really do busy” and the look on her face really had me realizing this is a foreign concept! Although my son isn’t perfect, and there are many things I could do better as a mom, I will say that I have a well rested child with more than enough time for homework and I love finding him reading or working quietly on something after the business of his school day. He does do an hour of piano lessons and two hours total of tennis each week but this appears to be things he enjoys and can handle and I try to monitor this and check in with him. Thanks to your readers for all their wonderful tips in comments and thank you for the reminder of the 15 minutes…..I am going to also work on this mindfulness at home. Have a great week!
    Leah

    • August 1, 2017 / 8:59 am

      I totally understand what you’re saying! We need unscheduled time too and also, it gives that breathing room for when things do come up.

  14. Jamie
    July 31, 2017 / 8:52 pm

    I’ve been a long time reader and this is my first comment. A beautiful reminder and a new challenge for me. I also have millions of things running through my mind and need to focus on those fifteen minutes. Thank you thank you from myself and my 8 yr old Evie Paige. I’m implementing tomorrow!!!

    • August 1, 2017 / 8:56 am

      Sending you good wishes from Houston Jamie! 🙂

  15. Nancy
    July 31, 2017 / 11:07 pm

    Five simple words for parents: Put The Cell Phone Down!

      • August 1, 2017 / 3:41 pm

        There is a great book regarding just that called Hands Free Momma. Worth reading.

        • August 1, 2017 / 10:22 pm

          Thanks Lauren, I’m always looking for another book! I want to say I’ve heard of that one, so good to have a friend’s recommendation.

  16. Katy
    August 1, 2017 / 2:38 pm

    Hi! I’ve read your blog for years but never commented. This post was so heartfelt. I have two little girls and they keep me busy! So many time a day I just want to be alone for one minute. But when I think about how quickly the time goes, it refocuses me on enjoying them today. Every night when I tell my girls good night I say “I enjoyed spending my day with you.” I know the investment I’m making in them and I want them to know that it’s my joy to do so.

    • August 1, 2017 / 10:23 pm

      We sound very similar in that way! I always tell James, “I love who you are. I love spending time with you.”

  17. Beth
    August 2, 2017 / 6:27 am

    This is so relevant to me. With three kids under 10, carving out 15 minutes *seems* easy, but I agree the mind drifts. I’m wish I could hire someone to do all the mundane “momming” duties while I snuggle and play these last two weeks. It’s going to be way too quiet here soon.

  18. Joan S
    August 2, 2017 / 8:43 am

    I really loved this post. My daughter is 13, and getting to the age where she likes her alone time, but I believe we can both handle 15 minutes–also the hugs and making it a point to let her know I enjoy spending time with her.

    • August 3, 2017 / 12:04 pm

      James is only 7 and he likes alone time too! 😉

  19. Stephanie
    August 2, 2017 / 9:43 am

    Love this post, Megan. What a great reminder!!

  20. August 2, 2017 / 8:40 pm

    I just found your blog and am so glad I did! So so eye-opening! Also, I recently saw your swimsuit on a boutique I follow and fell in love. You totally rock it too!

    http://www.therookiewife.com

  21. Susie
    August 4, 2017 / 5:49 am

    Megan, Great post and eye opener. I multitask all the time and I know that I’m guilty of not being in the moment a lot of time. Thank you for the post. I will be using your timer idea for sure.

    • August 7, 2017 / 8:28 am

      I’m guilty of trying to multitask too!

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