My three daughters are really close in age. 27 months separate the older two, and 16 months the younger two. My husband and I were doing the math one day and figured in the first 5 years of our marriage that there were only about 8 months that I wasn’t pregnant or nursing (I got pregnant 5 weeks after we got married). Having 3 girls within 3 ½ years creates a strong bond between them. It can also create some pretty strong competition. They share pretty well and usually divvy up their parent time between both myself and my husband., but sometimes they need a bit more.
I am a huge reader. I usually head upstairs about an hour before I go to sleep and read one of the dozen books on my nightstand (I don’t know how so many get there. I think they multiply like rabbits in my sleep). I usually have at least one girl, if not all three, in the bed reading with me. When they were quite young, at some point we came up the term “Mommy Minute”. If one of the girls asked for a Mommy Minute, it meant that the other two had to respect the space and let them have some alone time with me. The other two are also not allowed to probe on what goes on behind the closed door.
When they were young, it usually meant a cuddle or just some “mom/daughter space”. Now I pay attention to the nuances behind the request. “Can I have a Mommy Minute?” is much different than “I need a Mommy Minute”. Many a time when the word need was involved, the door has closed, and I have had a daughter burst into tears because of something that went on during their day. This dynamic happened organically, but in hindsight it has created an invaluable way for them to place an emotional request without having to struggle with the “ask” part. It is a space that they can go to at anytime (although it usually happens right before bed). It is an intimate, loving space that means so much to me….and them too.
I think of the future and know that when they are grown that I will receive a phone call that says “I need a Mommy Minute”. This will be their connection call – whether they need support, help or just some plain old advice. As they get older they may not always occur in the sanctity of my bedroom, but I know that they know that it is a sacred space. Connection…..That is what it is all about.