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When your day is interrupted

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About Tsh

Tsh is the founder of this blog and lives in Bend, Oregon with her husband and 3 kids. Her latest book is Notes From a Blue Bike, and believes a passport is one of the world's greatest textbooks.

Last night, when I tucked in my almost nine-year-old, I saw tears in her eyes. Naturally, I asked her what was on her mind, and her answer really surprised me.

“I feel like we haven’t had much one-on-one time lately,” she said. “I’d really like to have a mother-daughter date with you soon.” This surprised me because we just had a mother-daughter date two weeks ago, when we leisurely sipped tea and chatted about life. We also homeschool, so she pretty much sees me more than anyone else.

But this didn’t change the fact that she still wanted some quality, one-on-one time with me, so I didn’t argue. Even if we’ve had plenty of time together lately, it didn’t mean she doesn’t still feel how she feels. So I just listened. And I mentally put on the calendar a short little afternoon date for later today.

Our conversation reminded me of what I was told several years ago, when our family was only toddler and baby: that their little requests throughout my day aren’t interruptions; they are my day. It’s a season with little ones, for sure, but when you hope to get a few things done but instead find yourself dealing with messes, hurts, tea parties, and snacks all day, it’s discouraging.

But the fact that this little maxim still applies to my day reminded me that it still applies in all sorts of areas, not just parenting. When stuff flies in my day, interrupted, that might mean I need to change course with my agenda. Perhaps that interruption was meant to be my day.

So as you start this week, be available to interruptions. Sure, they may not be important. But they just might be. They might actually turn out to be the most important part of your day.

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Comments

  1. I have a card up in my kitchen that says “Enjoy the little things in life for one day you may look back and realise they were the big things”. Great stuff to remember with little kids about morning noon and night….

  2. I love this philosophy. Interruptions are usually our real life calling!
    Vanessa´s latest post: The Value of Interaction

  3. Love this perspective! Such truth.
    brittnie´s latest post: Camille Elaine

  4. Such a good reminder! My 7yo is always asking for “girl time” with me. I love your comment about how the interruptions ARE our days. It reminds me of the Annie Dillard quote, “How we spend our days, of course, is how we spend our lives.”
    Sarah Rudell Beach´s latest post: Why Mindful Parenting Works For Me

  5. Such a good reminder for this Monday. It’s amazing how the simplest moments often add up to the most significant ones for our kiddos.
    Steph´s latest post: Because I Know Love is not Enough

  6. This seems to be a recurring theme for me…the need to remain “interruptible”. This is especially difficult for me now at the beginning of the year when I’ve set new goals to accomplish “good” things and I wake up to that list AND two pair of brown eyes staring at me every morning. Praying for daily grace and a heart that heeds that gentle nudge to put down the “good” thing and embrace the “best” with both arms.

    Posted by my kitchen sink:

    “…The truth is of course that what one calls the interruptions are precisely one’s real life – the life God is sending one day by day: what one calls one’s ‘real life’ is a phantom of one’s own imagination.” – C.S. Lewis

    I really can’t be reminded enough. Thank you!
    Gina @ Listening in the Litany´s latest post: 35+ Free Printables to Help You Prioritize, Plan, and Simplify in 2014

  7. Not sure I wanted to hear this, but I know I needed it. My January funk has me feeling frustrated and unfocused. Maybe some one-on-one time could help pull us all out of it.

  8. Great reminder for a Monday morning! Thank you!
    Franziska´s latest post: Fairytales, Meaning, and the Question of “When”

  9. Tsh, I literally just wrote about this. Except my 13 yo daughter was wanting some one-on-one attention. The difference was, she wasn’t hurting or in distress (which always stops us in our tracks and makes the priorities clear), she just requested my company. At times like these, I’m always grateful for the reminder and recognizing my primary role right now.
    Beth´s latest post: The Best Excuse for Breaking a Promise to Yourself

  10. Great advice! Regarding interruptions from children, this reminds me of something that a very good older friend once said to me. ”When your children are all grown up, what are they going to remember? How clean your house was, or how much you played with them? This also reminds me of a post I wrote.
    http://redheadmom8.wordpress.com/2014/01/13/some-days-are-tough/
    Shelly´s latest post: An Intimate Glimpse into Life with Ten Kids

  11. That is good advice. Even though we don’t have children at home, I tend to get so frustrated about things that change my schedule for the day. You’re right….I plan my day, and then God plans it better!

  12. Thank you for this article. It is so easy to forget those precious moments and get annoyed with their demands and interruptions.

    Your post has reminded me to ‘listen’ to them and cherish the moments. They grow so quickly and will be off exploring their own worlds before I know it.

  13. Thanks for this good advice Tsh. I always have a to-do list going in my head and am often “interrupted” by my little ones. It’s good to remember that they ARE my life and they’re so much more important than any task I check off my list. So glad for this reminder.

    • I echo this! I can be guilty of putting off the kids’ requests to finish things (they always seem to ask when I’m in the middle of something!). I need to learn how to better involve them in what I’m doing. It’s a hard adjustment to go from being able to accomplish many things by yourself to feeling like you never get anything done with little people around all the time. Thanks for the encouragement!

  14. Thanks for this: “their little requests throughout my day aren’t interruptions; they are my day.”

    I need to write this somewhere so I can remember it.
    Ann´s latest post: Focus: A new perspective

  15. Such a lovely reminder! Thanks for letting me stand still for a moment and remind myself why I am really here. There are 4 little and not so little ones that do ‘interrupt’ all the time, and of late I have felt very interrupted. A fresh new perspective is just what I needed!
    Andrea from ziezo´s latest post: Prototyping

  16. Thanks so much for this post. We’ve always been the kind of family that spend a lot of time together. And I’ve been making more of an effort to be mindful about the time I spend with them. But, there are still times when I’m trying to make dinner, or getting some work done or just not in a great mood and I don’t really respond to them the way I’d like to. So it really hit me when I read “that their little requests throughout my day aren’t interruptions; they are my day”. I will try to keep that in mind the next time I feel myself slipping.

  17. One of my favorite quotes is by CS Lewis, “The truth is, of course, that what one regards as interruptions are precisely one’s life.” Especially when it comes to children:)
    Kimberly´s latest post: Five minute Friday: Encouragement

  18. Thanks so much for a timely reminder. Caring for those who are a planned or unplanned part of day is vitally important.

  19. Oh my word, I just has nearly the exact same discussion, but with my 10.5 year old son. We also home school, and he says, “But, Mom, that’s not you and me time!” Got it! :-) So, guess what just made it’s way to the calendar!:-)
    Thanks for this encouragement, Tsh!
    -Jada

  20. I was outside yesterday tackling some things on a “to-do” list (we were blessed with amazing weather Sunday) and having a conversation with Me, Myself, and I. Suddenly, Me, Myself, and I stopped talking long enough to recognize that we had wasted a beautiful day on the trivial. The important had been there all along next to me playing “red light, green light.” Those moments can break your heart and hopefully make you better for next time. Thank you for the reminder. I think I need to take my little lady and sir out for a date as well;)
    Christine´s latest post: 5 Things to Do in 5 Minutes__to Prevent YOU from Shopping

  21. Learning the ropes as a new mama, I loved reading this tonight! Thank you! It’s a reminder that when I’m not “getting stuff done,” I’m probably being a better mama. Playing with my little one is my job. And I’m SO lucky to have this job. :-)

  22. avatar
    Grace from London says:

    Tsh, I read this during my lunch break in the office yesterday. And you have no idea what the Lord planned for me 6 hours later… when me and my littles were in our kitchen and they were having their evening meal and I was unloading dishes from the dishwasher into the wall unit… the next thing I knew the unit was no longer on the wall and our dishes (wedding pressies mostly) were in smithereens on the tile floor (and inside the dishwasher for good measure).
    Talk about interruption!!!
    Our dinner plans were interrupted, the children’s routine was interrupted, my plan for the evening was interrupted. I had to interrupt my husband at work and ask him to come home straight away, I interrupted a friend’s busy evening and asked him to come over and help us.
    But here’s the weird thing. I didn’t feel angry and I didn’t feel interrupted! For a mama who struggles with yelling, I was shock that there was no yelling! I was just thankful. Thankful that no one got hurt. And it was, afterall, only dishes.
    Tsh, I thank the Lord for using you in preparing me for my day!
    Who knows what’s in-store for today, interruptions? Bring it on!

  23. Oh thank you. Exactly what I needed to hear. My third child, still at home with me while the other two are at school, has been trying today. Really trying. But, to be honest, now I’ve read your post I realise he wasn’t really, it was just me having so many adult things I wanted to do and forgetting that he is my biggest and best ‘to do’ every day. He’s calling me now… I’m off!
    a touch of domesticity´s latest post: Sewing: the Cycle Lane Quilt

  24. I doubt if you didn’t homeschool her she would even be able to voice her longings so clearly. School normally not only dumbs but also dampens down the kids, so you are lucky.

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