Like many parents, I have a finely-honed schedule when it comes to leaving the house in the morning.
Up at 6am. Shower and dress myself before the kids wake up. Dress children. Feed everyone breakfast. Let them watch TV while I finish hair and make-up.
If I follow this plan, I will get out the door by 8am. But there is one thing I do almost every morning that I know will always make me late ... and I do it anyway.
The most important part of my day
There are many wonderful pockets of my day that make me smile.
Listening to a podcast on the way to work after dropping off the kids. That first sip of coffee when I sit down at my desk. Walking with a friend at lunch. Tucking my kids into bed at night.
But of all the wonderful things, hug time is both wonderful and important.
Listen to the podcast:
What is 'hug time'?
Hug time is not a hurried cuddle as you leave a child at the school gate. Hug time cannot be rushed, which is why it almost always makes me late.
In my house, hug time happens in the morning. It’s the first act of the day as a sleep-smudged child totters into my bedroom.
Eyes barely open, cheeks soft and flushed, I will hold them in my arms as they slowly wake up.
It can happen snuggled up in bed, or on the lounge with the blinds still down. We are mostly quiet, but if there is talking, it’s in whispers.
It is normally a one-on-one experience, though sometimes (especially on weekends) it can turn into a chaotic family affair.
You could argue that hug time doesn’t have to happen in the morning
After all, there is no deadline for a hug. But for me, it’s the only way to start the day.
It’s a way to connect to each other, without words, before there are too many words. A way to say “I love you” before the endless calls of “eat-your-breakfast”, “put-your-socks-on” and “stop-fighting-with-your-brother/sister”.
It’s a way to be close to each of them, individually, before they’re both fighting for my attention.
It’s also the best way to feel at peace before I’m torn in a million directions by life, work and parenting responsibilities.
The one thing in parenting I can always do right
In the day to come after hug time, I will probably do a thousand things wrong. I’ll forget a drink bottle, let them watch too much TV, and fail to get my daughter to eat vegetables.
We won’t do enough homework, they’ll get to bed late, and the house will be a mess.
But that one moment in the morning, with the house silent around us, the blinds still drawn and the light dim, that is one moment I will always be able to do right.
So, for as long as my children stumble into my arms in the morning, I’m going to keep 'hug time'.
It might make me late, but it’s worth it.
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