Life is a whirlwind. The days blur into weeks, and the weeks into years, leaving us wondering where the time has gone. In the blink of an eye, my oldest boys, once tiny tots, have now reached the ripe age of 10. With eight more years until they venture off to college, I find myself acutely aware of the fleeting nature of their childhood. As a mom juggling multiple roleshousehold manager, PTO president, bookkeeper, and the support and sales backbone of my husband’s real estate businesslife often feels like a relentless marathon.

In the midst of this whirlwind, I have occasionally found myself saying those three words that seem harmless but weigh heavily on my heart with guilt, “Not now, kids.” It’s a phrase I utter many times when workloads loom large, deadlines beckon, and the chaos of everyday life threatens to drown out the simple pleasures of parenthood.

But deep within, I have learned that these moments are precious and irreplaceable. I have discovered the key to being a good parent is being presenteven in those snippets of time that seem too short to matter.

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In a world that celebrates multitasking, I’ve learned to embrace it as a parenting superpower. Those few minutes of listening to my child’s day while preparing dinner or assisting with homework may seem small, but they add up to a treasure trove of memories. It’s a way of showing they matter even in the busiest of times.

Some days, it’s about efficiency. Reading before bedtime becomes a dual-purpose activity, serving as both a cherished bonding moment and homework completion. A chair next to my office desk allows my child to color or doodle while I attend to pressing work matters, making me available even during work hours.

Interrupted routines are sometimes the best reminders. Whenever my child tugs at my sleeve during a hectic day, I pause, bend down, and listen. It’s a small interruption, but it’s a potent testament that I’m there when they need me and that they are more important than my work.

I have also found that our family rituals and traditions are the mortar that binds the bricks of our memories. We come together for family meals, take hikes, give compliments, and shower each other with support. These traditions strengthen our connection and create lasting imprints.

A mom once told me that we only have 18 summers with our kids, and that sobering thought was a wake-up call. We plant vegetables and flowers and have embarked on the Epic Summer Playground Tour, strengthening our bond. The mountains, the zoo, and backyard s’mores are all part of our summer family adventures. We seize every opportunity for short trips and celebrate all three November birthdays with gustoyes, also in summer. The radiant smiles and a heartfelt “thank you, Mom” are the treasures that remind me it’s all worth it.

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The truth is life is relentless, and it will always offer excuses to put off these moments. But it’s in these stolen minutes, these brief interruptions, that the essence of motherhood resides. We nurture our children not just with our actions but with our presence, our attention, and our love.

As my boys grow, I’ve come to appreciate that it’s not about the grand gestures but the everyday moments that create a tapestry of memories. It’s in the ordinary that we find the extraordinary. The way their eyes light up when we cook together, the giggles during a family dinner, and the warmth of hugs and kissesthese are the threads that weave the fabric of our family story. And we will have these memories forever.

So, amidst the whirlwind of life, I’ve learned to cherish these moments, no matter how fleeting they may seem. In the end, it’s not the quantity of time but the quality of presence that truly matters. And as I navigate the roles of mom, manager, and partner, I hold onto these precious moments, treasuring each one as a reminder that life’s most important treasures are the people (and dog) who live under my roof.

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Jill Armayor

My life revolves around the joys of motherhood, the beauty of marriage, and the challenges of a multifaceted career. With a heart full of love and a calendar bursting with commitments, I am like any mom, just trying to do my very best. I am the proud mother of three energetic boys and a beloved German Shepherd. I have stood alongside my husband for 26 years as we’ve weathered storms and celebrated triumphs, forming a bond that only grows stronger with time. I am a licensed real estate broker, president of our elementary school PTO, and household manager. Gardening and exercise are my sanctuaries.

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