Updated: Mar 18, 2018
Let’s face it motherhood like everything else takes practice, and the most significant part of the practice is staying present when life and my littles are pulling me in all different directions. The thing about it is, my children show up for me the same every day. Sure stages of childhood bring on new adventures, but for the most part, they are the same smiley, ready for anything kids every morning when they barge into my room. What changes and makes a ‘good’ day or a ‘bad’ is ME and my ability to show up ready for them. Some days I’m there, not just physically, but mentally. I find that makes all the difference. For me, there are two things that take me out of the moment and create chaos immediately with my children. Now, I have young ones, and I think littles are in particular more sensitive to when I am distracted or checked out.
Cellphone and computer use. I’m pretty sure there is enough info out there to back this theory up. Even though I may be connecting with someone online, I’m probably not connecting with the people in front of me. My children get into all sorts of shenanigans when I’m texting with a friend or checking social media. Social media these days is a landmine for conversations and opportunity to turn my mood funky. Unfortunately, this leaves the sweet little person in front of me dealing with the aftermath.
Stress in all forms! Whether I’m mulling over the past, future tripping or merely trying to do too many things at once. Children pick up on it instantly. I have had moments of anxiety about something and poof my child says something remarkably close to what I was just thinking. It’s like they are in my head. It’s a real thing! The thing about it is, our children are very much connected to not just what we do but what we are thinking too! Ha, just when you thought parenting couldn’t get harder.
So, what is a Mama to do? I know life without cell phones and stress is not an option, but I have found ways to manage them that have made it easier to show up with my kids.
I find filling their cup first thing helps. Instead of waking up and hopping on the phone or computer, wait, connect and connect with your littles fully. I have created a rhythm that supports getting out and taking a walk or wake up and do yoga together. Moving our bodies together and shaking off the sleep is a great way to start the day. Involve them in making breakfast; my kids love to cook. Throughout the day I make eye contact with them, really listen to them, watch the ways their sweet faces move when they talk. They glow in my undivided attention! When I do need to jump on the phone or the computer, they feel like they have already gotten a big piece of me and they are not chomping at the bit to get my attention.
Now, as far as stress is concerned, I find meditation to be the most helpful tool in my toolkit. It not only helps me with stress but makes me a more productive and creative person. I also find taking a few deep cleansing breaths throughout the day does wonder. I also keep a notebook around and jot down some of my frustrations, so they aren’t swimming in my head. Anything to keep the clutter in my head to a minimum.
Taking small steps to practice being in the present moment with our children is repaid in a lot more smiles and a lot less chaos. This practice has nothing to do with perfection and all to do with our willingness to try. Our children will feel our striving and at the end that’s what it is all about.