My mind was racing as bedtime approached, thoughts flooded my mind about how far behind I was with work and how many deadlines were fast approaching. “I never have any time to get things done during the day, and I don’t see how I will get caught up,” I mumbled to myself.

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Lost in my thoughts and knowing that Daddy would be putting the kids to sleep, I audibly let out a big sigh when my son came into the room. Then I saw his face, tears welling up in his big brown eyes. His feelings were hurt, and though I knew I had a mountain of tasks waiting for my attention, I heard his heart’s cry, “Mama, stay with me a little while.”

I sat down in the rocking chair and beckoned him to come curl up in my lap.

He poured out his worries as I rocked, cuddled, kissed, and soothed his insecurities away. I waited until he let go first, to be sure he had received all the love and reassurance he needed, to be able to fall asleep in peace.

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As I moved on from one bedroom to the next, I caught sight of my daughter sitting on her bed, waiting for me to tuck her in. A prayer, a kiss, some giggles and hugs later . . . I can see there’s something she isn’t telling me, and she’s building up her courage to speak up. Her eyes plead with me, “Mama, stay with me a little while.”

I know she’s growing up so fast and the words she wants to share don’t always come easily. I sense she needs to get something off her chest, so I wait and stay a little while.

The words finally flow like a river, “Mama, I’m worried I’m not a good enough girl . . . Mama, I’m worried she doesn’t like me . . . Mama, school is so hard.”

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I see the value in staying, in waiting, in putting my work aside for a much deeper purposeto raise children who feel acknowledged, to hear secrets they will only share with me, to heal hurts by reassuring them of their place in this world . . . their place in my world.

Work will always be there tomorrow. So, today . . . I will stay a little while.

Tabitha Yates

The Redeemed Mama is a published writer, certified life coach, and busy homeschooling mama. She resides in southern Arizona with her three children and loves writing about parenting, life, and growth! Come join her social media community for a healthy dose of hope, healing, and humor!