It was my son’s birthday a couple of weeks ago and one of his presents was a voucher to spend at a sports store. The moment he opened it he knew exactly what he would spend it on – his very first watch. He’s been wanting one for ages and I have to admit I have been a bit reluctant, does an eight year old really need to know the time every minute of the day?
But now we’re a week into watch ownership it appears telling the time isn’t the main attraction of the timepiece, it’s the stopwatch and the alarm. And to be honest, it’s not reflecting very well on my parenting. I’ve suddenly become very aware of how often I say, “Just three seconds,” or “I’ll be there in two minutes,” or, “This job will only take me four minutes”. Every time I utter one of those phrases, my little clock watcher will tell me, “Actually, Mummy, that took you seven minutes and 44 seconds, not two minutes.” Either that, or I’m treated to the alarm going off when my time is up.
While I don’t believe it’s healthy for any of us if I’m at my children’s beck and call 24/7, I have been aware of how often I can fob them off with a ‘just a minute’. Instead, I’m trying to be more mindful and present in what I say. ‘Yes, I’d love to come and play Lego with you, I just have to finish paying these bills first’. Or even better, “Why don’t you unload the dishwasher while I sweep the floor, then we’ll be able to read the next chapter of your book as soon as we’re done.”