Mom's Video on the Most Important Minutes of Every Child's Day Goes Viral

A mom's video showcasing the "nine minutes that have the greatest impact on a child's day" has sparked widespread discussion on social media and beyond.

Sara Martinez posted the clip to her Instagram and TikTok channels under the respective handles @itsmesaramartine and @iamsaramartinez where it quickly gained traction with viewers. Martinez told Newsweek she was inspired to create the clip after turning to fellow toddler moms for advice about feelings of "mom guilt" which she has been grappling with for several months.

"It's a common thread among parents, from those who stay at home and juggle countless tasks to working parents who face their own unique challenges," she said.

Mom guilt refers to feelings of guilt or shame women can experience when they sense they are not living up to their own or even simply society's expectations of what a parent should be.

It's a widespread feeling, too, with one survey of 900 moms conducted by the website GoodToKnow finding that 78 percent of respondents experienced some form of mom guilt. Having turned to the internet for help, Martinez received "thousands" of insightful tips. One that caught her eye, though, was the "nine-minute theory."

It's a theory widely credited to affective neuroscientist Jaak Panksepp. It posits the idea that parents don't necessarily have to be present 24/7 but should focus on being present at three crucial junctures throughout the day.

Firstly, the three minutes after their child wakes up, Secondly, the three minutes after they get home from either school or daycare, and finally, the three minutes before their child goes to bed for the night.

The idea "deeply resonated" with Martinez.

"It's about making those brief daily reunions with our children special and present," she said. The resulting 17-second video saw her put the theory into practice and drew a variety of responses on social media.

Commenting on TikTok, one user endorsing the approach wrote: "When I think about it I only remember those times from my childhood. waking up, my mom picking me up from kindergarten and night time routines."

A second said: "I live by this! I'm not perfect but I can try to be in those nine minutes."

Others were less convinced though. "These types of videos make me feel like a failure," one critic commented. "He wakes up before me, three minutes gone, I play with him plenty, before bed it's all preparation for bed.. 'how do you lay down what does sleep look like?'"

Another person commented: "Everyone that has kids knows 3 minutes is never enough for them."

Others simply appreciated the acknowledgment that so many out there are suffering from mom guilt.

"As a full time working mama, I needed this," one commenter said. "I carry so much guilt not being there for my babies around the clock."

The clip drew similarly contrasting responses among parenting experts.

Stacy McCann from Present Parent Coaching Services, LLC saw plenty of positives in the approach.

"Routines are incredibly important for children, and the most routine parts of their day are morning, bedtime, and after school," McCann told Newsweek. "These times are also quite vulnerable—children might be tired, overstimulated, or overwhelmed during these times. So when children can depend on their parent to meet their needs during these three key times, guide them through the routines themselves, and be there to support whatever feelings come up, the possibility for connective impact is strong."

Helen Neale, a qualified Therapeutic Counselor and Parenting Expert at KiddyCharts, felt the idea was a little too "vanilla" for her liking.

"The most important time for our kids to have us present is when they need us and want us to listen," she told Newsweek. "Every child is different, whether neurodivergent, neurotypical, or anywhere else in between. The most important thing that we can do for our kids is be empathetic, listen, and allow them autonomy where possible."

Martinez was prepared for the video to spark contrasting opinions. "Navigating the diversity of parenting philosophies means encountering a range of reactions," she said.

But she wants those watching the video to take away a more general message.

"My hope is to convey that, despite these different circumstances, being intentional and present in the moments we share with our children can alleviate some of this guilt," she said. "It's about cherishing the reunions, whether they're after a long day of work or simply a short separation. These moments are opportunities to reinforce our bond, making each reunion special and memorable."


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