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Grandmotherly wisdom led Jake Frost to trade in his planned professional productivity for productive parenting.

Many years ago I received a great tip which I’ve been grateful for ever since, so I thought I’d pass it along in case it could be helpful to others.

The tip came in the autumn as I was preparing to send three of my kids off to school: two kids to primary grades for a full day of school, and one to pre-school for a half-day two mornings a week. Those two mornings of pre-school were very exciting to me because they meant that for a few hours each week I would have just Davey, my last and youngest child, at home -- and he still took a nap.

Not quite that early, true, but if nap time could be nudged a bit, possibilities abounded: if Davey’s nap could be brought into alignment with at least part of pre-school, I might get an hour or two of uninterrupted time two mornings each week.

Time that I could schedule and count on (more or less).

Dreams of a bygone linear life and visions of prodigious productivity began to dance in my head.

I told Mom my grand designs. And it was Mom who then gave me the great tip: “This is the only chance the two of you will have for one-on-one time together. You should take advantage of it while you can.”

I hadn’t thought of it that way, but as soon as she said it struck me how true it was. I went back to the calendar and this time instead of totaling up hours of potential work-time I counted the number of days Davey and I could have together. With school breaks and holidays and teacher-in-service-training and what-not, it wasn’t really that many. And I knew we’d lose other days to the unforeseen contingencies that always accompany life with young kids.

Suddenly those mornings where we could set aside a few hours of dedicated time together seemed rare and precious. I decided I’d better use them for a different sort of productivity: making memories.

And now, looking back years later, I’m so glad I did. I called them “Davey Days,” when Davey and I would have adventures together. The adventures were never anything huge, we still had to get everyone to school in the morning and the pre-school pick-up was never far away. But they were always something together. Mostly we’d just ramble around our own yard and neighborhood and have fun.


little boy in the back of a bike trailer in autumn


One of our favorite jaunts was bike riding through the autumn leaves. Davey would climb in the bike trailer with a juice box and a snack and the two of us would talk as I pedaled us through piles of crunchy, colorful leaves. We’d meander here and there, making stops along the way to climb and romp, and occasionally to pick-up a donut at the little corner grocery store.

They were great times.

And looking back I’ve never felt a pang of regret or “what if” at the loss of linearity or the potential work time foregone.

Just the opposite.


I see how close I came to letting a treasure slip through my fingers because I couldn’t see far enough ahead in that moment to recognize it for what it was. #catholicmom

As those days recede farther and farther into the past, I’m more and more grateful for them. I see how close I came to letting a treasure slip through my fingers because I couldn’t see far enough ahead in that moment to recognize it for what it was. Fortunately, Mom could. And she shared the tip so I could grab hold of a fleeting moment before it was gone.

I’ve been thankful for it ever since, so I thought I’d share, too. I hope everyone has a great autumn! Fall is still best of all!

Copyright 2021 Jake Frost
Images: (top) Canva Pro; copyright 2021 Jake Frost, all rights reserved.