Giving Our Children Undivided Attention Isn't Always Easy

BY: - 4 Apr '12 | Parenting

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Ok, guilty mommy here. Yes, I am guilty of being a little too good at multi-tasking. Lately, I have found myself having a conversation with my children, checking email, writing and planning ideas for my business all at the same time. While I feel as though I am being successful and getting most of the things on my to do list done, my children feel the greatest impact. My girls don’t always speak up and demand my full attention, but when they walk away quickly or ask “Mommy, did you even hear me?” it brings me back to reality and helps me to realize I have to get my priorities in order.

There never seems to be enough hours in the day to accomplish everything we have on our plates. I often wonder how our parents made it seem so effortless. My mother always worked full-time, managed our household and still had plenty of time for us. Today’s parents have the same responsibilities, why do ours seem more challenging than those of our parents? Our childhoods are what we always hold on to. We are creating memories for our children and I don’t want my children’s memory of me to be that mommy never made time or was always unavailable.

Children don’t quite understand our being busy. It doesn’t matter that our schedules include working to pay the bills in order to provide for them or time to relax because we are so worn out from working. All our children connect with is their personal needs. One of their major needs is time with their parents. They want us to recognize and acknowledge their talents, pay attention to their stories and travel to their pretend worlds from time to time. If we are unable to make time for those things, their hearts are broken. I personally can’t live with that type of disappointment, so I first have to prioritize. Recognizing what is most important allows me to tailor my schedule to make sure it reflects my priorities, my faith and my family. Being aware of what takes my attention away from my girls helps to correct it also. I am now on the lookout for those behaviors.

My new goal has become working on non-family things after my children’s bedtime. This way my work won’t interfere with my relationships with them. If there is something pressing and I must take care of it, I explain it to my girls and let them know the length of time it will take and when I will be available. They definitely understand that my husband and I have grown up responsibilities, but as long as we carve out special time for them, they don’t miss out on anything. It isn’t always easy, but because it will impact our children forever, we have to give them our undivided attention every chance we get.

What about you? Do you struggle to give your children enough undivided attention?

About the author

Tiya Cunningham-Sumter wrote 635 articles on this blog.

Tiya Cunningham-Sumter is a Certified Life & Relationship Coach, founder of Life Editing and Author of A Conversation Piece: 32 Bold Relationship Lessons for Discussing Marriage, Sex and Conflict Available on Amazon . She helps couples and individuals rewrite their life to reflect their dreams. Tiya has been featured in Essence and Ebony Magazines, and named one of the top blogs to read now by Refinery29. She resides in Chicago with her husband and two daughters. To find out more about Tiya, and her coaching, visit and


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5 WordPress comments on “Giving Our Children Undivided Attention Isn't Always Easy

  1. Larie

    Yes I struggle with this and I appreciate you presenting this subject.   I’ve thought about doing things after my children’s bedtime as well but then I think, well now it’s time for me and hubby to have some time together and before I know it, it’s bedtime for me to ensure I get some rest and be prepared in the morning to get our children ready for school.   It really is hard, (working from home), but it’s also beneficial.


  2. Mrsmcphearson

    Yes indeed I struggle with this a lot and the bad part is when I am ready to go to bed it hits me  and that is the worst feeling I think I have felt. and then I get to feel like I am turning in to my mother something I said I will never do. It’s  sooo good to know  that i am not the only  parent  that  going  through    this . but I am going to work on doing everything when the kids go to bed and at school. thanks for the advice you guys 🙂

  3. Kimberly Goodall

    I struggle with this as well. When I save things until they go to bed, then I don’t get to spend time with my husband and he complains. Plus if I stay up late, I’m a bear the next day – just being honest.
    What I’m working on is trying to do some of my work while they’re doing their homework, so we’re all “doing our work” together. I also try to build some fun family times into the day. They’re a lot less likely to complain if I spend 30 minutes playing Uno with them or Just Dance on the Wii before I get back to work.

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Letter To A New Mom – You Will Find Your Way

BY: - 12 Apr '12 | Parenting

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This past weekend, I took a quick trip with my family to a nearby city to help me get some quality time with my kids away from the pressures of my “office” aka my house. Hard to relax on the couch when you work on the couch too.

So we quickly packed a bag and hit the road. For the drive down, I had four Capri Suns (only to give them during the last 10 minutes or so; I did not want to hit a rest stop restroom), a box of Cheerios, a couple bananas and some pretzels. I packed three outfits for each kid and grabbed my daughter’s inhaler, nebulizer and EpiPen. I loaded up a new movie on the iPad and we were set.

I packed that bag in the same amount of time it would have taken me to pack the diaper bag to take my daughter to Target when she was a baby. I almost amazed myself by how much my “Mommy groove” has improved over the years.

When I laid eyes on my daughter for the first time, I could barely breathe from the fear. In front of me was a real, live baby, with my blood and her daddy’s blood running through her veins. Life just got real. The nurses handed her to me and I got the hold wrong. “No, do it like this,” one of them said, positioning her in my arms so her head was resting in the crook of my elbow. Dang, I thought. I was already making mistakes?

There were a lot of bumps in the road: learning to breastfeed (ouch), postpartum depression (tears), sleep deprivation (yawn). When she was about six weeks old, I sat on the floor in the middle of the living room (really just an open space off the kitchen in the tiny apartment we lived in) and wondered aloud when her mother was coming to pick her up.

She kind of giggled and I had to laugh at the question myself. I was her mother. This was it. No one else was coming for her. She was mine. She always would be.

I wasn’t a baby-wearing co-sleeping mama, but I felt intimately connected to this little girl. She was a chunky baby at birth (almost 9 pounds), so I (not so creatively) called her my little “Chunk-Chunk.”

Chunk-Chunk is 5 now. Five!! I see her running around on a playground and I think, “Who would have known that the little girl I was so scared to hold would have grown up to be this beautiful, confident, talkative 5-year-old?”

People always tell me, “Cherish these moments. They grow up so fast.” And children do inexplicably grow faster than we’re ready for, but slower than we think they will. I’m at the stage where 5 so quickly turns to 6 which so quickly turns to 10 and so on and so on.

It’s hard to believe I’ve been a mommy for five years now. Although I feel like I’m no longer a rookie, I know I’ve learned a lot and will continue to learn a lot about being a mommy to my two. My kids are really, really well taken care of. I’m proud of myself.

If I could go visit my new mommy self in the hospital, I’d kiss her gently on the forehead and tell her how amazing her kids are going to be and how wonderful she’s going to do as their mom.

Were you nervous in your first few months as a parent? What would you say to your new parent self?  

About the author

Tara Pringle Jefferson wrote 277 articles on this blog.

Tara Pringle Jefferson is managing editor of She\'s also the author of Make It Happen: The Young Mommy Guide To Creating The Career You Crave. Follow her on Twitter or check out her blog for her insights on what it means to be a mom, wife, student, writer, and about three other labels she\'s too tired to remember.


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