The Most Important Thing You Can Do Before the Kids Go Back to School

As I slung my bag on my shoulder my eyes caught sight of the kitchen sink overflowing with dirty dishes. A ping of superwoman guilt crept around the edges of my mind, but I pushed it off quickly.

This. This was more important. 

I could hear my children’s excited chatter from a mile away as they climbed eagerly into the minivan for a day at the pool. Our beach towels had barely had a chance to dry from the outing the previous day. We hadn’t gotten home from the splash pad until 7:00 the night before, but when I asked them if they felt like going swimming they were all for it!

As we drove along I looked at the pristine, blue sky. It was perfect, and the way the sunlight beamed in through the window warmed not just my skin, but also my spirit. There was something about sunshine, school being out, and the smell of water on asphalt that just made me feel happy. I loved this time of year, and I guess during this time it was the easiest for me to push off the many responsibilities I felt weighing on my shoulders in favor of fun in the sun. Normally a woman who couldn’t sit still, something about being poolside brought out the beach bum within.

This morning before I left for work I was praying for my daughters. Aside from the usual prayers of protection and health I also prayed that I could be the best I could be at leading my children to Christ.

“Let them see you in me,” I prayed.

I pondered as I prayed. I wondered if most days my kids just saw some woman fixated on cleaning the house. I mean, someone had to keep things picked up, that was a fact, but if asked what was the most important thing to me I hoped they wouldn’t answer, “a clean house.” I hoped they would know how important they were to me, and they would see love in my eyes more than impatience and frustration. I hoped that one day when they looked back on life, and on the memories we had made together, that rather than recalling me as the crazed lady sweeping the kitchen floor again they would reminisce on the fun times we shared.

Trips to the splash pad, and how we dipped our popcorn in the blue slush.

Ice cream cones on a hot day, or popsicles on the porch.

Cool, quiet afternoons picking out books at the library.

Road trips to the water park.

And playing in the rain!

They say there are approximately 7,000 days a child lives in your home before they leave the nest and head out on their own. 7,000 short, fleeting days. It’s true that somewhere in that time I’ll be required to cook, clean, and work to keep things afloat, but I pray that it’s never my main focus while they’re around. It’s easy to forget how fast time flies. I try and remind myself to cherish it more, to spend it in a quality way, and to build the joy, wonder, and hearts of those tiny people of whom I am in charge.

This summer, especially for what remains of it, I vow to play more, and pick up less. I vow to laugh more freely, loosen up the reigns, and simply enjoy the blessings all around me. Amazing the things you see more clearly when you slow down and pay attention. I vow to stop and see, to smile and be, and to lead my children happily.

Who’s with me?


This article originally appeared at

Brie Gowen
Brie Gowen
Brie is a thirty-something (sliding ever closer to forty-something) wife and mother. When she’s not loving on her hubby, chasing after the toddler, or playing princess with her four year old she enjoys cooking, reading, and writing down her thoughts to share with others. Brie is also a huge lover of Jesus. She finds immense joy in the peace a relationship with her Savior provides, and she might just tell you about it sometime. She'd love for you to check out her blog at

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