11.10.10

Being present

I talk about it a lot: being present, living in the moment, cherishing the small moments.


Today, after my sweet girl slept until nearly 10am, I decided to put my time where my mouth was. I closed the laptop, left it in our bedroom behind a shut door, and told myself that today I'd be like the moms who devote themselves to their children.

An hour and a half later, I had unloaded and reloaded the dishwasher (with my mini-me putting away the "tay-ba-wahr" aka tableware); washed down the counter tops, stove, and table (with my mini-me drying behind me); magic erasered the doors, door frames, and walls in the kitchen and living room (with my mini-me using a baby wipe to help); put away all the mini-me's bathing suits (an entire box) until next year; gathered up a bag full of toys to give away ("I onyee wanna keep my monkeys. Okay, mama?"); and changed out both kids' sheets and pillowcases.

Coming back downstairs with my arms full of dirty linens and my girl trailing behind me in her underwear with banana smeared on her chin and her hair matted in the back, I wondered, "Why the hell can't I just chill out and be HERE with her?"

Thanks to that extremely late (and abnormal) wake-up time, there was no nap. Instead, I cleaned the kids' bathroom while Bella took a bath. But she play-acted the entire script of Toy Story 3 with her Buzz, Woody, and Jessie dolls as I scrubbed. And after, we went outside to do some Halloween decorating (as evidenced by the photo above where she's begging me to lift her up), so, technically, I found some balance. Right?

Please tell me how you manage to be "present" with your children. I can't be the only one who (apparently) needs a valium.

***This post is part of the 30-minute blog challenge.***

22 comments:

  • suzannah {so much shouting, so much laughter}

    being present doesn't have to look like playing dolls or whatever. you doing household tasks with bella, showing her how to do things, letting her help--that counts! absolutely. from what little i know of Montessori education, work-as-play is a huge part.

    now take a break with that sweet babe of yours! you're making me feel lazy;)

  • Heidi

    I try to balance investment. I'm like suzannah - my toddler is just along for the ride, much of the day, but in-between my lists and errands I give him my full attention in a few 15-30 minute blocks of what I call 'special time'...

    http://www.wonderwomanwannabe.com/2009/07/special-time.html

    However, that being said -I won't deny that naps are a saving grace! I think I'd need a glass of wine or something after a non napping day with my busy spirited guy!

  • Sandra

    The only way I am able to be "present" with my kids is if I find a television show or a movie that we can watch together. Then I'm sitting. They are usually drapped over me. And nobody is talking (which, for me, is a good thing.) At the end of the movie or tv show I feel like such a successful parent even if I wasn't making crafts or playing board games.

  • Jackie

    It's hard to just *be* there without answering that nagging voice that says, "housework, cooking, doing, accomplishing something." I think it takes small sincere doses instead of trying to change everything all at once. Turning off fr a whole day seems nearly impossible, but setting aside 30 minutes every afternoon - not so daunting.

  • The Drama Mama

    I shut that nagging voice up. Haha. My house is a tornado, but the kids are happy. I just stay centered right where they are and for every "Ge up! ge up! up! UP! i show you" I hear, I'm getting a workout too.

  • Cheri

    My kids are long past the age for tea parties and imagination play. But I've managed to walk away from the computer to watch old home videos with them. Where we giggle and oohhhh over how adorable they were at 2 or 3, and laugh our butts off at how spastic and annoying they were at 10! My girls at 17 are actually embarassed by their 10 year old selves, but in a comfortable way - they just laugh and laugh.

  • Dawn@Finding My Way at Home

    I struggle with this as well. I think we just get caught up in all the things that need to be done to care for our homes and families. However....it sounds like your daughter actually enjoyed helping you with those tasks. I think it's awesome when they do that - especially when we LET them.

    My two are home from school today so I would also like to find some time to just "BE" with them...

  • TKW

    I am guilty of the same thing. Because it's hard to focus on CandyLand when the kitchen needs cleaning and there's a pile of laundry and the hamster cage is starting to stink. I *so* understand where you are coming from.

  • Justine

    I stop making myself pick up after her and cringing when the house is disheveled after she combs through it. I try to just let her be her although I have to say, for a multi-tasker like me, it's hard to just sit and play puzzles with her when there is so much to do around the house. But I guess being away from her for long periods of time for work helps. It really makes me try to soak in every moment we have together.

  • Cathy

    Ugh - I wish I had an answer. I cannot let things sit; I cannot sit. I think, however, acknowledging the predicament and taking incremental steps is a good start. Let me know if you find an answer. I could use one.

  • Kristen @ Motherese

    I struggle with this too, Kelly. I struggle with defining "presence" and then with actually doing it. But I think that the day you described - in addition to being very productive (I need some of your house cleaning mojo!) - is what "being present" looks like for a mom with young kids. And I would guess that Bella felt that way too as she spent every moment of her day with you.

  • pamelahutchins

    My kids are teens, and so rarely home, so I find that what is difficult is making my "present and in the moment" time jibe with theirs. Sometimes I am successful, others not. They don't SEEM to notice, but you know they do. It's like when our swimming daughters are up on the blocks before a race -- they haven't spoken to us the entire 2-day swim meet, b/c they're hanging with their teammates -- but they shoot a quick glance at where they know we are sitting, to make sure our eyes are on them. They notice. So, I try. Imperfectly :)
    Sorry it has taken me so long to come visit,
    Your co-adhd.momma, Pamela

  • Corinne

    It's hard.
    My saving grace? I hate cleaning. I refuse to clean half the time. So there's no temptation from that source for me ;)

  • CindyC

    I don't know; I have a very, very attention-demanding toddler (in a cute way, of course) so right now it is not too hard to focus on her when she is underfoot and climbing on me.

  • sadiesmom

    This is such a struggle for me as well! Last week my littlist and I were sick. She crawled into bed an wanted to watch a cartoon. I told her to go grad some books and we could read. She came back to my room with an armful of books and we sat and read. It was wonderful! I thought in the moment, "why don't I do this more often?" I have thinking about that moment every day since. We need to have more mornings reading in bed.

  • Amber

    Um? Present? I think it's a myth. I spend the majority of my time cleaning up, changing diapers, switching laundry, but, at the same time, I laugh at the kid's antics. Take a minute to hold Andrew here, spin Emily around there, and, in general, enjoy how silly they are. The pressures of the household don't disappear, even when we want to hit pause, but they can be turned into something fun. Like you did today. I bet that Bella appreciated how much you let her help you. : )

  • ck

    You're so not alone. I do *exactly* the same thing. I swear to myself I'll spend the morning playing with them, and then clean the playroom while they play. Or, even worse, I try to incorporate cleaning into the "game." I suck. Because when it comes down to it, sometimes I'd rather clean. Barbies make my brain bleed.

    But on the other side of it, you incorporated her into your life today. You invited her in and she was happy being there. If she needed more, she would've told you. Well done.

  • Amber Page Writes

    I don't know, but if you figure it out, let me know. I feel like I'm always at least two places at once.

  • Rudri

    I do the same, wanting to live in the present, but haven't figured out the answer. While I do some activities with my daughter, I am always anticipating what needs to be done during and after. If you ever find a solution, let me know. But really we all struggle with this.

  • Mary @ A Simple Twist of Faith

    "A spoon full of sugar makes the medicine go down", today I listened to my girls play as I cooked and prepped meals for today and tomorrow. Afterwards, we cleaned up their room together and watch Mary Poppins with the three year old on my lap.

  • Life with Kaishon

    She is beautiful.
    I think you are doing a very wonderful job Kelly.

  • Jami

    This one is killing me right now. Ugh. I am trying to force myself away from the computer and back into the world.

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