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My husband and I tuck our children in each and every night.

There is a reason.  

A woman lying in bed holding a little girl.

Several years ago, a friend of the family’s son passed away, while he was sleeping.

A week later, another seven-year-old boy passed away, only one town away, unexpectedly, while he was outside playing.   This is hard for me to think about, talk about and write about.   We have kids close in age to these boys.  (We have four kids: born in ’06, ’08, ’10 and ’12)

Do you know what one of our kids asks me every single night as I am tucking him in… “Mommy, will you lay with me?”  I am sad now thinking that most nights my answer is this:  “Just for a second, sweetie.  I have to make sure that your sister and brothers are all tucked in.  I have to clean up the kitchen.   I have to work on my notes for work.  Daddy and I are going to eat dinner since we didn’t get to eat as early as you tonight….”   whatever the reason, they all say the same thing to him: “Just for a second.  Other things are coming first.”

I know, I know… as parents, we can’t lie there all night.   He would expect this, as would all of our kids.  “You give an inch, they take a mile”.   We think we will lie down for 5 minutes, they want 20.  We give 20, they want 40.

But… Do you know what?   This is when the good stuff comes out.

This is when I hear all of those details that almost-teens don’t tell their moms anymore.

“So & So told me that I was cute today.  How disgusting.  Right, Mom?”

“Today we had a math test and I got them all right… I was really distracted though and thought I might miss one because out in the hallway, the kids were setting up for the play.  Did I tell you about the play?”

“I miss our dog.  Do all dogs die of cancer?   When do you think we can get another one?”

“Mom, you know how you told me that during wrestling practice I should try to help both brothers uplifted?  Cheer them on and run with them?  Today I did.  I ran right beside them, just like you and Dad told me. I think it made them feel better.  B said that his stomach hurt from running and I told him that if he wanted to slow down, I would slow down with him, even though running that slow is REALLY boring, Mom!”

These are the things that happen when we put aside everything else.  These are things that happen when we forget about whatever else we have to do or want to do.

My grandma used to tell me to enjoy our kids when we had them.  She would say that she didn’t know why people would have kids if they didn’t get to spend time with them.  She said that she loved raising her kids and that she knew I would be the same way.

My parents and my husband’s parents remind us that one day, they won’t want to spend so much time with us.   It breaks my heart to think of this, but you know what? …

That day IS NOT TODAY.

A little boy sleeping in a woman\'s arms.

Today, I will lie down with him when he asks me to, and with all four of our children.  I will sing Toora Loora Loora and Que Sera Sera (their favorite songs).

And do you know what?

If it adds ten minutes onto the end of our night, when our patience is low and our exhaustion is high, that is ten more minutes that I was lucky enough to have spent with our children…. listening, encouraging, telling them the unspoken words that say: TODAY, RIGHT NOW, YOU ARE THE MOST IMPORTANT THING TO ME.


And do you know what else?

In ten years, those unspoken words will come back to me when he is a grown boy, getting ready to head off to start his own life and I ask him to stop what he is doing and sit with ME for a moment… and he does.

We only have a few years to really be present in their lives.   Let’s spend these years wisely.


Ps:  I wanted to share these  Swap Chores for Screen Time Cards.  They have been one of the BEST things that we have done with our family – it teaches our children to work hard.  They learn that work comes before play.   I use the time at night to explain things to them, to teach them these little life lessons.
This will drastically cut back on their electronic time without any nagging or yelling from you.
You can find the cards here. 

Cards to swap chores for screen time by yourmodernfamily

ps- A few more posts you might like…

The scary truth about what's hurting our kids

A woman leaning on a kitchen counter with clutter around her as she holds her head in her hands.

chores for screentime cards



Hi there!

I’m Becky, a former elementary school teacher turned certified child development therapist and blogger. I work at home with my husband and together we are raising (and partially homeschooling) our four children in the Carolinas. I love diet coke, ice cream, and spending time with my family.

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