The Ten-Minute Mom
By Guest Blogger Elizabeth Williams Bushey (CLICK HERE FOR HER BIO (she is so awesome!))
There exists no parent who isn’t busy. There is no child who wouldn’t love the ability to bring their parent to a screeching halt. The Ten Minute Mom system addresses both these issues, while teaching kids courtesy and self-initiative, and helps busy parents avoid interruptions.
The first time your child says “Mama,” the heavens open, rays of Hollywood light shine upon the whole family, and the Hallelujah chorus plays, while your heart beats with a near-painful joy.
The second time, you memorialize it with your phone and send it to everyone in your contacts, plus Facebook, Instagram, and anywhere else you can think of to publish.
The bazillionth time you hear your little one yelling “MAHM MAHM MAHMMY” — you wonder, from your hiding place in the locked bathroom, why the heck you taught them the word.
Finally you wade out of the guilt pool, and you raise your heavy head out of the large bowl of pudding you made for the two of you to make up for the horrible thoughts you had before.
You see your child say or do something cute, and you hate yourself, wondering what did you do to deserve such a precious being?
There IS an answer. You are allowed to have a (little bit) of a life of your own, and ALSO be a mother. Here’s why:
- Helicopter parenting — that is, hovering too much — doesn’t help them grow and develop independent skills. It teaches them YOU solve everything, and unless you plan on living in a backpack they carry forever, this is a bad strategy for you both.
- Remember “Do as I say, not as I do?” Yeah, it still doesn’t work. Go ahead and read that Real Simple or Better Homes and Gardens magazine. Studies prove that children who SEE their parents read are more likely to BECOME readers. They’ll copy what you DO. By all means, read TO them… but also read for pleasure, so they learn THAT’s a fun thing.
- Studies also demonstrate quality time matters, so if you’re a working mom (or dad), you needn’t stress about a day away at work. If you’re a SAHM trying to freelance, or start a business from home, it’s okay to teach your child boundaries: that’s a critical life lesson also.
When YOUR time is short, try the “Ten Minute-Mom” system. Here’s how it works:
- Your child (or children) get coupons.
- Each is worth ten solid minutes of your uninterrupted time.
- During this time, they get your undivided attention.
- Mobile phones are silent — or, if possible, turned off.
- When presented the coupon, a parent must, as IMMEDIATELY AS POSSIBLE, stop what they are doing to give ten minutes of attention to the child.
- No notice need be given.
- Two coupons cannot be combined for extra time.
- No more than one coupon can be used in a day/hour/etc. (this is negotiable)
- Time is measured with a kitchen timer
NOTE: Ten minutes is a LONG time.
Unused coupons over a period of time (say, a week) could potentially be traded in for TV time, which is what our family did when my girls got older.
The Ten-Minute Mom system proved unbelievably successful for me to teach my children how to find things to do without me; this skill paid off so well later in their lives — they are now 22 and 19 — I myself can hardly believe how well it worked.
If you try it yourselves, I’d be delighted to hear about your own stories.
Since “InklessTales.com” and the “InklessTales.com for Grownups” section is being renovated currently for mobile devices, you can:
Email Elizabeth at email@example.com
Or find her on Twitter and Instagram – @inklesstaless
Thank you Elizabeth for this amazing post! If any of you are interested in being a guest blogger like Elizabeth on hmmhotmessmama.com we would love to hear from you! Send Susan an email at firstname.lastname@example.org. I know you have awesome stuff to share that we can all laugh about and learn from!