Just You and Me, Kid: The Importance of Mommy Dates

As an entrepreneur, I’m lucky enough to be able to work on my own schedule, so I’m able to work wherever and be around my kids a lot.  But take out all of the driving and cooking and cleaning and telling them to clean up after themselves and practice violin time, take out the times I'm half-talking to them while emailing with customers or the warehouse, and there’s little get-down-on-the-floor, play Uno, have a dance party hang out time.  

With a new baby in the house, Savor's Social Media Manager Kari and her daughter make sure they make time for just the two of them to share walks on the beach.

Yet even though I feel like I don’t have much time to spend with all of them, I’m a firm believer in quality one-on-one time.  We call them “mommy dates,” and my kids clamor for them. We don’t have to do anything very special, although sometimes we do. Sometimes they come with me for something that I want to do, but it feels like a treat for me to take time out to do it, and for them to come along.  My middle daughter, for instance, loves shopping shoe sales with me. We go to lunch at a diner or, if we really want to splurge, one of those fancy “ladies who lunch” restaurants in the department stores. She doesn’t care. She just loves that she has me all to herself and that I engage her in the decision-making, even if I do reject the gold metallic platforms she chooses.  My son and I have recently begun running together.

mom and son reading

Aisha snatches reading time with the youngest of her three boys.

The one-on-one time is particularly important when we’re having one of those periods where one of the kids is in a rough patch.  Freaking out over nothing. Fighting with her siblings. Talking back. They are totally unreachable in the moment, or even the next day there’s only a few minutes to catch up about it.  But we can have a much more reasonable conversation about how they are feeling and how we can work together on the issue when everything is calm, focused on them, and not going to be interrupted by another sibling.  I'm amazed how far a little special mama time can go to alleviating the problem.

Estee Lauder executive Janice makes baking dates with her daughter. 

Like all moms, I'm busy, so taking precious hours away from other siblings or tasks can be challenging.  But I’ve found it more valuable to have an hour or two of individual time than it is to have 6 hours of all together time. Or, at least, it’s just different in quality and is an important part of our rotation.  Even if it’s just a breakfast before school or a walk in the neighborhood in the evening. There are mines that open up when you have quiet time just the two of you. And my kids don’t really get angry when the other one has the time because they know how much they look forward to their own dates.  (It helps, though, to have that next date on the calendar before we leave, so there’s something tangible to point to.)

So this year, for Mother’s Day, I’ll be loving my breakfast in bed.  But what I will really hope is to clear my calendar for a few Mommy dates.

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