The Mom Five Minutes

If you, like me, have young kids you’ll understand the “Mom Five Minutes.”  You may not have dubbed it such in your life, but I know it happens in your family just like it does in mine.

I didn’t appreciate the Mom Five Minutes until this summer.  I’ve spent a lot of time sitting by my mother-in-law’s pool with my kids this year.  Often my sister-in-law and her kids are there too.  Luckily all the cousins get along most of the time.  And they enjoy swimming together.  But inevitably the kids want the moms (and the dads) to swim with them.  Sometimes my little niece even pipes up “Auntie Jess!  Come in the pool!”

Mom Five MinutesIt’s nice to be wanted by all these kids.  But some days I just want to sit and visit with other adults (while supervising the swimming, of course!) or maybe read my book.  On those days my sister-in-law and I have been heard saying “I’ll be there in 5 minutes!”  I’m sure every parent is familiar with this delay tactic.

I’m here to tell you the Mom Five Minutes works.  Especially when the kids are small and don’t have a great concept of time.  Unfortunately the success of the Mom Five Minutes starts to fall off when the kids get telling time, and understanding that Mom (or Dad) is really just stalling.

My oldest is almost 8 and if she’s not well entertained by whatever she wants me to join in with she will quickly call my bluff.  She now understands how long 5 minutes really is, and she’s quick to point out that I said “5 minutes” 10 minutes ago.  I’m lucky that she doesn’t mind swimming with the other kids without Mom or Dad actually in the pool with her.

My niece is 3 and she and Rose, who’s 5, have no real care about how long ago we said “5 minutes!”  They ask us to come in and then forget all about it while they play and have fun.  Sometimes 30 minutes go by before they think to ask again.  This is the beauty of small kids and the Mom Five Minutes!

I’ve successfully used the Mom Five Minutes in many situations.  “Mom, are you going to come outside with us?”  “Ya, in 5 minutes!” or “Mom, will you help me clean up?”  “Yes, you start and I’ll be there in 5 minutes.”  Again, the success depends on how interested they are in the activity they’re doing when they ask me to join.

I want to hear when and where you’ve used the Mom (or Dad) Five Minutes successfully in your life.  Or is there a situation when it really didn’t work?  And how old were your kids when they stopped falling for it?  I’m still going okay with it, but I can see the end approaching with Emma very soon!  So share your experiences in the comments please – I love reading your thoughts and stories!

Also, I have to thank Heather, my sister-in-law, for seeding this idea in my mind this summer.  We were chatting about the Mom Five Minutes and it’s been rolling around in my mind for the last few weeks.  I finally sat down and poured all those thoughts out into a post.  I enjoyed writing it, and I hope you enjoyed reading it!


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  1. I’m doing (a version) of the 5 Minutes… mine are still younger (no concept of how long the 5 minutes are) but I usually put them together in a room and they can play together and next to each other beautifully for a while. I have been blessed with a daughter who plays so well by herself, though sometimes she insists on “Mama, come on” 🙂
    I think it’s great when kids can play by themselves – our mom always encouraged us to play by ourselves and now I understand why.
    Great post, thanks for sharing 🙂

    1. I also love it when the kids play well together. My sister and I were always playing together (and outside, unsupervised, somewhere in the neighbourhood) and we didn’t fight too often. It’s nice to see it happening in my household as well. Thanks for the comments!

  2. Every mom needs alone time. I sometimes go into my room and just locked the door for 5-10 minutes to have some quite time. It’s very much needed to stay sane in the summer time.

    1. Very true Charlene! I think as parents in this generation we’re expected to always be available to our kids. When I was a kid I’d be out of the house for hours at a time playing somewhere in the neighbourhood. The idea of pestering my parents to “play with me” was not one I would have. We were expected to play with our siblings and friends around the community.

    1. Yes, I remember allowing myself 5 minutes – like letting the kid nap for 5 more minutes (when you really should have gotten them up 10 minutes ago so bedtime is not a nightmare!) while you finish some other task. Thanks for reminding me of those days Jenn. 😀

  3. It’s funny how often I do this without actually thinking about it. My boy is thankfully young enough that this tactic still works to get me a few minutes of spare time. #EatsleepblogRT

    1. Yes Sarah – this is what I’m talking about! Sometimes you need them to just keep playing for a few minutes so you can finish a job or chore. It’s great when the “Give me 5 minutes” actually works! 😀

  4. Ah yes the 5 minutes – I am often saying this and my son is still young enough to forget how long 5 minutes is! Some times though if I have said it a couple of times during the day I do feel that I need to put away what I am doing and really engage with him. Don’t want him to think I am not interested in his games, it won’t be long before he doesn’t want me to play! #EatSleepBlogRT

    1. I do agree with you – when you find yourself saying it a lot in one day it’s likely time to go play with your kiddo! Sometimes I lose track of that myself. But it drives me nuts when it’s just asking for me every 10 seconds only to just pick up something they dropped (or other trivial thing). Just pick it up yourself kid!! Thanks for the comment!

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