06 April 2011

Being Present

I read this post by A Different Drumbeat tonight and was struck by how true it rang for me.

I am a stay-at-home parent. I do not want to go outside my home to earn a living. I have chosen this life and I love it. The truth of the matter, though, is that while I am home with my kids I am not always present with my kids.

They play and chat to me. While I read.
They jump on the trampoline. While I interact with other parties on my cellphone.
They talk to me. While I websurf.

I am not saying I feel huge guilt here. More awareness, yes. Guilt no. I do not think my children need my undivided attention 3 hours a day. I am entitled to time to do my own thing and engage my own interests, however I am becoming aware that I seldom do ONE thing at a time.

I am beginning to view multi-tasking as a curse. Not a talent.

Tonight I lay with Honey in her bed for almost an hour. I never (okay, very seldom) do that. Tonight I learnt that she loves playing with her sister but doesnt like to admit it out loud too often. Tonight I learnt that sometimes her two best friends gang up on her. Tonight I learnt she said something to a friend that she regretted. Tonight she revealed so much to me because I was fully present.

'Thank you mom, thank you for listening to me.'
she whispered as I left her room.

Tonight I learnt that Being Present is one of the greatest gifts I can give my children.


Elizabeth said...

Hey I enjoyed visiting your blog today. Your post on being fully present really resonated with me. As a mother of three I've learned to constantly adjust the balance between, their time, our time and me time. It's so worth it.

Luke said...

As you know, I battle the time and cyber addiction myself. I think acknowledging it and making sure you check yourself is most of the battle won.
Making sure there is some of 'you' left in your day makes you a more colourful person and parent. It gives you more experience and perspective to offer the kids.
Keep calm... carry on! :D

Debs Daily Doodles said...

Great post Melody. One I struggle with being a mom working from home.

lg said...

Awesome Mel.

Kirsty said...

Eish! Such a true post. I work mornings when my kids are at school/ nursery school and then spend my afternoons with my 3 - ferrying them, watching them, playing etc... Granted - the way I have organised my life doesn't give me much "me" time, I have to say that me working in the mornings, and using my grey matter, makes me a better and more present Mum because I don't feel resentment to my kids when I do spend time with them. This works for ME - everyones different though. I would like some more "me" time tho ... That would make it perfect x

MacNessa said...

I'm not sure why - but you and I are on the same, freaking, creaking, cosmic wheel. Being *THERE* is why I've had to make a few tough decisions in the last few days. I also choose not to leave my home, but I'm trying to earn a living, without having to do that - and finding that balance is next to near impossible. Sometimes it works, sometimes it doens't, but the *pull* of being fully there is very strong at the moment.

Shayne said...

Great post Mel, resonated so with me. I do exactly what you do. But i refuse to feel guilty. I so spend a lot of time with my children - one on one - and heaven forbid I had to spend 24/7 with them. I'd go crazy as would they.

But yes, they open up a lot more when they know it's just you andtthem. xx

Marcelle said...

Mel I feel like this with my relationship as well...I am forever on my phone, talking to others etc etc, looking at FB, and my hubby has said * I'm going to take that phone away from you * and then I feel as if I am being treated like a child...
But agree...with all the gadgets and we love gadgets its so easy to fall into that trap.
Very true words spoken here.

cat said...

Gosh Mel, I need to think about this. One thing I can tell you - and a blogpost is coming, but being without my smart phone has been rather mind blowing in terms of multi tasking.

allie. said...

".. tonight I learnt that Being Present is the greatest gift I can give my children"
I believe that. Fully.

I have to admit to prickling eyes when I read what Honey said to you when you left her room
There is not one thing that can replace moments like those.
For either of you.

blackhuff said...

How sweet of you to lay with your daughter for an hour and listen.
We should all do that but I do know that sometimes life do get busy, too busy, and one tend to not do things like this with your children.
I've sent you an email :)

Karen said...

This brought tears to my eyes - probably because i am overtired, but mostly because it's just so REAL. When we are truly present, truly there, they can sense it, and it means the world to them.
Even though I wrote that post last night i have been 'doing' all day...sigh, it's quite a paradigm shift isn't it?

Karen said...

Big reminder to me as well! That is all our children want: Our undivided attention! Thanks for this!