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Lynda Loveland: Crunch time, down time

Posted November 28, 2012

Lynda Loveland

At my house, the time between 4:30 p.m. and 8 p.m. is crunch time.

My kids get home from school. We catch up and talk about their day. They do homework then go off to play. I make dinner. We eat dinner. They do chores. I clean up. They get ready for bed and I get ready for bed.

There’s no time for anything else, especially DOWN time. It’s a finely tuned machine and if anything else gets thrown into the mix, the wheels come off and I’m in bed late. (Normal for me is 9ish.) That may not sound like a big deal, but when you have to get up at 3:40 a.m., it is.

The other night, I threw a wrench in the machine. It was a little after 7 p.m. and my kids started watching a movie. My son says, “mom, will you sit down and watch the movie with me?”

My answer is always the same and maybe it sounds familiar to you too: “I can’t honey. I have a million things to do. I have to clean, do some work and get ready for tomorrow.” I think I can count on one hand the number of times my butt has hit the sofa on a week night in the last year! I just don’t sit down! Too many things to do! You know how it is, there’s ALWAYS something that needs to be done!

This night was gonna be different though. I stopped in my tracks and said, “you know what Caiden, I AM going to sit down with you!” I don’t know what came over me! Could it be the spirit of “Enjoy the Moment?"

I walked over to the sofa, surprisingly I didn’t need a GPS to find it, and nestled in among my kids. It’s amazing how something so simple can feel so good. Before I knew it, it was 8 p.m., bedtime. I ignored it. 8:30 came. I ignored that too. It was one of those moments I didn’t want to end. It’s awful to say, but I spend so much time doing “stuff” with the kids that I don’t spend time doing “nothing” with them!

Then 8:45 rolled around. I couldn’t ignore it any longer. I got the kids to bed at 9 p.m., an hour late. I didn’t get the dinner mess cleaned up. I didn’t get my work email sent. And I didn’t shower. (Thanks goodness I’m not a sweater.)

But I WAS bathed in kid love for an extended period of time.


Lynda is the mom of three and co-host of Mix 101.5 WRAL-FM's Bill & Lynda in the Morning. Find her here on Thursdays. Click here to like here on Facebook.


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  • lloveland Nov 30, 2012

    Hey "orangeyougladtoseeme", I know who you are! And yes father's do help, a lot! But this one just happened to work late that night so I was on kitchen duty. I'm VERY lucky to have a husband who cleans and gets the kids ready for bed while I get ready. And did I mention he's great at folding laundry? Love you honey! :-)

  • RonnieR Nov 29, 2012

    "Dang. Your husband must not do anything to help you at night. I feel really bad. Lots of dads clean the kitchen and/or get the children ready for bed."
    Click to view my profile orangeyougladtoseeme

    Doesn't he work the evening shift at RAL?

  • kimsstressed Nov 29, 2012

    You may not have gotten the mess cleaned up, or work done, but guess what? The world didn't stop did it?? I'm usually the same way, rush, rush, rush... but I'm trying to stop that... If the house gets a little messy, so what? If kids clothes aren't out, ready and pressed that night, so what?? They're growing up too fast... What you DID make last night was a memory... that warm fuzzy feeling that you can only get when you're cuddling with your kids doing something spontaneous that THEY wanted to do.. So much more important... You'll blink and soon they'll be "too old" for that kind of stuff and regret not doing more of it... I have 3 kids, 20, 11 and 9... I WISH I would have done more stuff like this with the oldest... trying to learn a new way of doing things...

  • klcmomof2 Nov 29, 2012

    We all watched Shrek the Halls last night. It was a rare moment when all of us sat down together! lots of fun!

  • hezzter Nov 29, 2012

    I know exactly what you mean. I have used the phrase "not right now, I have a million things to do" a million times. But, I have do make myself (try at least once a week) to have that snuggle time with my four year old and watch a show or movie with him. And this time of year, with the Christmas specials, it does seem even nicer. We enjoyed watching Rudolph together just the other night and it was a "perfect" night. The other stuff is still waiting for me. I can relate to you in so many ways.

  • backhome Nov 29, 2012

    As a former kid, I wish my Mom had done this more. Few of my memories are of her sitting down and "doing nothing" with us. It seemed there was always something to be done. You're doing a great thing by giving your children undivided physical and mental attention!

  • Life-goes-on. Nov 29, 2012

    Good choice!! My kids are grown and I promise you those offers to sit down with them and do anything will be replace with "going out with friends, see ya" way too soon. Enjoy these times when you know where they are and what they're doing, once it's gone, it doesn't come back.

  • khoggard Nov 29, 2012

    Enjoy it!! My son is 10 & has wanted to cuddle lately while Christmas shows & movies have been on. We have laid in bed or on the sofa at night & watched every Christmas movie or show that has come on that he has wanted to watch. I have loved every minute of it because I know the time will come sooner than I want it to when he doesn't want to do that anymore.

  • katizs Nov 29, 2012

    ENJOY - there will come a day when they won't be little anymore and you will wish for those times back - dishes can wait, other things can too - but children grow up fast enough & they are the most important things you have (next to your husband!)

  • draew Nov 29, 2012

    Try to enjoy the present because it is a gift. Like the saying goes -- we have to stop and smell the roses. Sounds like you found a bouquet.