“Mummy, please play with me!”

Those pleads happen everyday – it usually starts out in a sweet manner, a simple invitation to connect… but when she doesn’t get an answer, her voice starts to sound exasperated.

“Mummy, play with me…. pleeeaaaaasseeeee….”

There are a million and one excuses I could churn out about why this is not the right time to play.

“I have work to do right now, sweetie. Can we play later?”
“I need some time to do house chores.”
“I am about to go into a call…”

But one look at her little face, and I am sold. “Just 15 minutes ok? We’ll play again after my call.”

During this season when I am home all day trying to balance between work and family, I realise that it takes even more effort to connect with my child daily. After all, she’s home in her room, in her online class for half a day, and I’m in another room trying to do some work. It’s easy to mistake physical closeness for emotional closeness, but they are both very different.

Deep down, I know when I need to make that extra effort to reconnect. One day, she might not be the one pleading for attention, it might be me, trying to get the attention of a teenager or a young adult, too busy for her mother. Family habits start young, even if it is just 15 minutes a day to love and connect.