Parenting and that Vague Minute

“Mom, look at the picture I just finished”.

I was unloading the dishwasher at the time, and out of the corner of my eye I could see Sophia holding up a piece of paper.

“Just a minute, sweetie”.

“You always say that, it’s never a minute!”, Sophia screamed as she stomped out of the kitchen.

It was then that I realized that these three words easily escape my mouth, far too often. In fact, these words are said all the time, and they really are an outright lie.

I could be engrossed in writing, rummaging through a drawer looking for something, cooking … the situations leading up to needing that minute alone really are endless.

‘In a minute’, ‘just a minute’ or ‘just a second’ {whichever phrase you’ve gotten into the habit of saying} could very well be the worst words to come out of a parents mouth and to a kids ears, and it took a harsh slap in the face by a 7 year old to realize that.

My daughter was totally right in her upset statement, why do I say this all the time? I use the phrase so much that it’s lost it’s meaning, and the length of time that passes between my request and attention given, is never consistent.

This phrase is only telling children that they are not as important as what has your attention at that moment in time. It squashes their self-esteem, makes them feel insignificant, and breaks the bond between child and parent.

Was unloading the dishwasher that important?

At this realization, I vowed to make more of an effort to take the time. I might be completing a task that does need to be done, but instead of requesting for my child to leave me alone for ‘a minute’ or ‘a second’, I’ll instead take that stated time and focus on them.

“Such a nice picture, Sophia. I love the blue colour you chose for the hat”, kiss on the cheek and smile proudly. She grins from ear to ear and skips away to make another masterpiece and I turn and finish the dishes.

Is diverting attention where it’s truly needed, really that hard? Even just for a minute?

Parents, when is the last time that you dropped what you were doing, to fulfill your childs’ request?

“The Recital” video by Quaker touches on this very topic, it has a great message that hits home and is making a difference in family dynamics. If you haven’t already done so, please watch:

At one point in the video, the Father is at his computer, and the daughter Lauren is hovering over him obviously with a request. It’s a situation that we’ve all been in, many times. You cannot hear the Father talk, but with a raised finger I spot his lips forming to that all too familiar phrase, “just one second”.

There it is.

It’s the easily recognizable face of chaos that is the additional member of every family, it’s the background noise of life that pulls us in every direction possible. It’s the force that easily makes it hard to make decision.


The turning point in this video is when the Father and Daughter get the chance to do something which Lauren has always wanted to do with her Dad.

Lauren requests to dance with her Dad on stage, yet the deal was, it all had to start that day. Everything must be dropped, to focus on fulfilling Lauren’s wish.


In the video you see that moment of panic in the Fathers eyes, most likely thinking of schedule and the dread that something else wouldn’t get done in place of this request.

Yet, he made the choice to focus attention on Lauren, and they danced. It’s truly a touching moment between them and their Mother, that is life-changing.


If we parents cannot divert attention at the simplest of requests, right then and there, will we ever go out of our comfort zone and make that incredible memory that would last a lifetime?

Perhaps there’s been a great request from your child that completely passed us by because we are too pre-occupied with having our ‘minute’.


It might take conscious effort for us to decide that Goodness Starts Today, yet it’s a crucial decision to make. Like the video says, we’ll blink and the kids will be grown, and at that time, our chances are completely gone.

Are you guilty of relying on that vague minute as well? What incredible thing would you do with your child, if given the chance?

Disclosure: I was compensated for this post, yet as always, all opinions are my own.



  1. You know, this is a good point in general, because it’s easy to do this with everyone (not just kids) – oh, I’ll look at this later, I’ll stop and talk to that person next week. You shouldn’t feel bad, because with all the stress and demands on our shoulders it’s very, very easy and understandable to feel this way. You’re obviously a very caring and thoughtful mommy to be reflecting on this. 🙂

  2. That is such a sweet video! It is important to make sure that your children feel like you are there for them.

  3. I have done this many times as well. However, I was lucky to have a few Moms with older kids mention this topic. Being more attentive to my son has made a huge difference in how happy he is!

  4. I love this video. So great to see them dance together and it really does make you think about spending more quality time together.

  5. This is such a relevant story for today’s times as we are constantly pressed for real time interaction as well a a buzzing phone for responsive texts. Kids are small only one time, it is our job to pay attention, interact as needed and provide that undivided attention thanks for such a great post

  6. Yes, I am guilty of doing the same thing. I usually say five minutes and then it is much longer. I am trying to slow down and enjoy this age though. It know it goes by so fast…

  7. Wow… what a great reminder! I’m definitely guilty of the “one second” phrase. I need to make an honest attempt to set aside times to be more present.

  8. I do the vague “minute” thing to my husband!! I am totally guilty of this–working from home and balancing that with my personal life can get difficult, and that’s when I usually brush him off. I am so guilty of this. I have gotta try to do that less.

  9. I too have been guilty of asking the kids to wait another minute. I try to remind myself nothing is so important that I cannot stop and pay attention to them.

  10. I find myself saying that to my kids too often. Also often because they always pick the most inopportune time to try to talk to me… so we are all working on this. I’ve told them I really want to pay attention and focus on them but sometimes I just can’t stop to look and listen…like when driving in the car. Seriously this is like my daughter’s favorite time to say “Look mom!” Yeah, I really can’t when I’m driving.
    So my kids are learning to recognize OK and safe times to interrupt me and I’m learning to stop when it’s not a dangerous time and pay more attention.

  11. I am definitely bad for saying “just one sec,”or something similar. I am definitely trying to do better about it.

  12. Yes, I am very guilty of the vague minute and hold one phrases. I need to stop it because time is just flying by too much.

  13. Yup, I think we all do it sometimes. Sometimes life just gets crazy. My thing is saying ‘maybe’ too much… and the kids all feel that is me saying no…

  14. This is such an important message. I think I’ve used those words too, so often that they’ve probably lost their meaning.

  15. Ugh, this is so me. And it’s never just a minute. I need to get better at dropping things to pay attention. I love this sweet video.

  16. Sometimes I have to tell my kids to wait a minute just so I can finish something I’m working on, but I always make sure to stop as soon as I can to come see what it is they want to share with me. You can use it sparingly as long as you make sure to follow up!

  17. So true. I find I say these things too often as well. I’ve learned to take a deep breathe and give my daughter the attention she needs and keep in mind that whatever I was doing will still be there when I’m done

  18. Oh my goodness. I say those three words too often, too. From now on, I will start paying attention to what my kids are saying. Thanks you for this reminder.

  19. I agree about the vague minute, but I also think that we are effectively teaching our children that we are going to drop everything and cater to their whims. They need to be respectful of others as well. It’s a fine line.

  20. I think that perhaps all of the parents I know, including myself, have put off that moment because of perceived business. I try harder with my grandchildren and great grands. It is so important to validate their activities and them.

  21. I do say that from time to time, but I really make a conscious effort to really take the time to listen to whatever my kids have to say.

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