Sept. 12 2017 08:00 AM

Our children need our undivided attention and love.

Every night I wonder: How much longer?

How much longer will my role as mother find me snuggling with my children at bedtime?

Each night, no matter how crazy the day was . . . how we rushed through breakfast so the kids wouldn’t miss the bus . . . how the evening was spent running (literally, sometimes) between chores and homework and sports practice and supper. Each night, our crazy days end with 10 minutes of snuggle time.

I set a timer for 10 minutes . . . not because I’m in a hurry . . . because, heaven forbid I spend unequal amounts of time with each child. Also, if I lay still for more than 10 minutes, I doze off myself. One child at a time, I set the timer and crawl into bed next to my children for snuggle time.

In those 10 minutes, in the quiet moments after hugs and kisses and counting our blessings, one wants me to wrap an arm around, one wants to hold my hand, and one wants me to scratch his back. In those moments, I get to hear what’s really on my children’s minds and in their hearts. In those 10 minutes, I get to really be their mom.

Farm children need nurturing, too

Farm kids are known for being tough, independent, and self-sufficient. My three kids are no different. For the most part, they can take care of themselves. But in those 10 minutes each night, I can feel how much they really still need their mother.

I realized the other night that this time might be the most important 30 minutes of my day.

In those 10 minutes with each child, I’m fulfilling my children’s need to know that I’m there for them, regardless of how hectic life is. I’m fulfilling my own need to feel like I’m there for my children. And I’m helping them learn how to voice their feelings in a safe space. But, likely most important of all, I’m giving them my undivided attention and love.

And, still, I wonder: How much longer?

It won’t be long before my oldest children are teenagers and snuggling with mom at bedtime becomes weird. I pray that when that time comes, we’ll find other quiet moments when they can share their thoughts and feelings. And when even talking to mom gets to be too weird, that they’ll have a solid foundation upon which to independently sort through the matters of their hearts and minds.

The author is a dairy farmer and writer from central Minnesota. She farms with her husband, Glen, and their three children. Sadie grew up on a dairy farm in northern Minnesota and graduated from the University of Minnesota with a degree in agricultural communications and marketing. She also blogs at Dairy Good Life.