It Only Takes 30 Minutes to Be A Great Mom

Be a great mom in 30 minutes? Read on…
My wife and I recently hung out with some women friends at a weekend getaway on Vashon Island, just outside of Seattle. While having lunch, we talked about a project they were working on and our afternoon quickly evolved into a work party for the project.
A bit later, Amanda (one of the women) looked at the clock in her van and commented that her son’s first basketball game was about to start. She was so proud of him yet she’d decided that she’d be “working” instead of going to see his game.
We protested; after all, the little dude was five minutes away.
She told us it was okay for her to miss his game because she was at so many of his other things.
We protested again. But we had to get to work, she responded.
Finally, we made our last successful protest: it was only going to take 20 minutes and it would mean a lot to all of us, including her son.
At his game, we cheered, encouraged, and celebrated as fictive aunts and uncles do. I don’t know if we added anything to his game, but he was on fire.
We left at halftime but I highly doubt he’ll remember us not being there. When he looks back, his mom and her friends saw him rock his first basketball game.
All because we took an extra thirty minutes that we more than made up later. To think, we almost missed such a great opportunity to her son that he was loved, supported, and had fans.

Motherhood Is Made Of These Moments

Think back on your childhood: do you remember the long stretches of monotony or The Moments? The Moments could be good or bad, but they’re what stick in our brains.
Like my dad letting me drive his orange truck back from his parents’ house when I was twelve because he thought that I was mature enough to start learning to drive. Or my mom dropping everything and driving three hours to pick me up from my sister’s house because I was ready to be home – even though I was supposed to be there for another few days.  
Or my dad taking me hunting with two beagles and a weenie dog. Or my mom sitting on the beach with us in Chesapeake Bay, which was a huge deal for a bunch of poor folk from Arkansas. (Oh man, now I’m having one of those Cats In The Cradle moments.)
I could flesh out in detail many scenes like this, but I won’t because I don’t need to here to get my point across.

You’ve got your own Moments that I just triggered.

In between the cooking, the cleaning, the sick-tending, the ferrying, the homework supervising, the chores, the hushed conversations with partners, and running around, it’s easy to forget to take the time to pause and make it about spending time with our children *directly and intentionally*. Be specific about your “open time”, too.

But all it really takes is thirty minutes of presence and experience-sharing with them to create one of Those Moments.

Thirty minutes of Facebook, the Desperate Housewives of… Whatever, or some other inconsequential thing that you do that you won’t be missing. (Hey, no judgment here: I’ve got my own useless timetraps that I fall into, as well.)

How Are You Using Your “Freedom”?

One of the reasons so many of us start our own businesses is so that we can choose to spend our time on the stuff that matters to us. Yet, in my experience, so many entrepreneurs and business-owners don’t reap this benefit.
As I’ve said before, being a great parent is being productive.
While it’s not healthy for your kids to always trump everything else – yes, I know I just ruffled some feathers there – they can and should trump some things some times. Especially when we’re just talking about thirty minutes here and there. (Don’t go all supermom on me here and read this as “all mom all the time” – that’s not the message.)
What’s true of business is true of life: spending thirty minutes here and there on the truly important things makes all the difference.
Gandhi once said “action expresses priorities.” Your move.


Charlie Gilkey

Charlie Gilkey helps creative people thrive in life and business at Productive Flourishing. Follow him on Twitter or Facebook to get bit-sized slices of mojo, inspiration, and biz advice.

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  1. Amyli McDaniel

    Hi Charley- Loved your post- when it comes to loved ones, any amount of time to be engaged and connected with them is priceless.

    I became a parent entrepreneur because I wanted to have the ability to have more time with my daughter when she was born. With this intent, I worked hard to build a successful but stressful consulting business. Three years later I found myself working way too hard and being too stressed and distracted. Then, my father got very sick and he died a few months later.

    In the months before he died, I was blessed to be able to spend time with him- we did normal things like take short walks, eat at his favorite restaurants and run errands. But, for me, that time was no longer normal. They were the everyday moments of life – the ones that bring true meaning and connection.

    It was because of this experience that I restructured by business life to support but not take priority over other parts of my life and I now live my life differently prioritizing time for presence and engagement every single day with my family.

  2. Special-Ism

    Great article! Our kids are only young once. It sounds like a cliche, but it is so true. Before you know it, they are off on their own, with their friends, and you’ll wish you had spent more time with them. There’s no going back, so do it now. Thanks so much for the reminder!

  3. dali


    I loved this post. I felt like it was talking to me and I didn’t mind it at all. I do have the problem of being too focused on my business, or house chores, school work or other things and not spending enough time playing with my kids. I think all mompreneurs have had this problem at one point or another and we need the reminder once in a while that though we run our businesses in order to be able to provide better for our kids, we should also provide them with our personal one-on-one time.

    • Heather Allard

      Glad you enjoyed it, Dali. Somehow Charlie always knows how to hit home the important stuff. 🙂

      • Charlie

        Thanks for keeping me around, Heather. 🙂

        • Heather Allard

          It’s my absolute pleasure, Charlie. We love you! 🙂

    • Charlie

      @Dali: You’re right in that it’s not just you. The moms I work with have taught me so much about priorities, both in how they assert theirs and when they’re acting out of alignment. 30 minutes goes a long way – it can just be hard to make it happen.

  4. Nicole

    LOVED this post! Thanks for the reminder!

    • Charlie

      You’re welcome, Nicole. Thanks for letting me know it worked for you.

  5. Briana Pierce

    This is far too easy to lose sight of, and I find myself telling my kids far too often some version of, “I can’t; I’m too busy!”. I am working to take pointed time out for interaction with intention. I have a “date” with one of my daughters this weekend, and have similar “dates” with each of the kids lined up. Realistically, it’s a couple hours a month out of my schedule, but it means the world to them – and reminds me of what’s really important. Thank you for the beautiful article. 🙂

    • Charlie

      I’m glad you liked it, Briana. And I love the ideas of setting dates with your kids.

      I’m curious: did you put these dates and commitments on your calendar?

  6. Prerna @ The Mom Writes

    Spot on, Charlie!! LOVE this.. 30 minutes seems nothing BUT it can be the world to a kid.. LOVE!

    • Charlie

      Thanks for letting me know it landed, Prerna!


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