Let’s face it motherhood like everything else takes practice and the biggest part of the practice is staying present when life and your littles are pulling you in all different directions. The thing about it is, our children generally show up for us 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 in to 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 and I find that makes all the difference. For me, there are 2 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 senstive to when an parent is distracted or checked out.
- Cellphone and computer. I’m pretty sure there is enough info out there to backup this theory. Even though you are connecting with someone online you’re definitely not connecting with the people in front of you. My children get in to all sorts of shenanigans when I’m texting with a friend or checking social media. Let’s face it social media theses days is land mine for conversations to put you in to a funky mood. Then this little person in front of you is left with the aftermath.
- Stress and worry. If you don’t have any of that in your life, yay for you?Children pick up on it instantly. Have you ever been thinking something and poof your child says something close to what you were just thinking? It’s like they are in your head. It’s a real thing! 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 cellphones and stress is not an option but you can find ways to manage them and hopefully make it easier to show up with your kids.
I find filling their cup first thing helps. Instead of waking up and hopping on the phone or computer, wait, connect with them fully. Create a rhythm that supports you getting out and taking a walk or wake up and do yoga together. Moving your bodies together and shaking off your sleep is a great way to start the day. Involve them in making breakfast, my kids love to cook. Through out the day make eye contact with them, really listen to them, watch the ways their sweet faces move when they talk. They will glow in your undivided attention! When you do need to jump on the phone or the computer they will feel like they have already gotten a big piece of you and they are not chomping at the bit to get your 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. There are so many great resources for meditation, if you don’t have a practice Mind Body Green has a lot of great options. A few deep cleansing breaths through out the day can do wonders. Maybe you keep a notebook around and jot down some of your frustrations so they aren’t swimming in your head. Anything to keep the clutter in your head to a minimum.
Taking small steps to practice being in the present moment with our children will be 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 in the end that’s what it is all about.