Present Moment Parenting
Who’s with me here: It’s 5:30pm, you’re just getting home and putting things away. Your youngest is telling you a story in great detail as he follows you from the car to the kitchen and everywhere else. You’re completely focused on the task at hand and haven’t listened to a word he’s said. You answer with “Oh, that sounds fun,” and “Uh-huh.” I’m afraid to admit how often that happens. Not sure I want to know! And how many times has he caught me not listening?
It’s not the bigger events when you have kids that are so time consuming. Things like traveling to the big game, going to school concerts, meeting with teachers, doctor’s appointments: yes they’re a bit chunk of time but you can plan ahead. You knew when you signed up to have kids it was coming. What no one can anticipate and appreciate is the total drain from a one minute encounter when you’re not in the present moment and can’t give your child the attention he’s asking for. It’s where multi tasking gets a bad rap. Not only are you doing your child an injustice by not being clear with your boundaries, “I just need a minute to put this away and I’m all yours,” or in the reverse, stop what you’re doing, focus on him and listen. But you’re setting yourself up for anxiety and added stress. Three strikes: weak boundaries, working twice as hard for half as much, and missing an opportunity to connect.
Those little interruptions are what parenting is all about. How you handle them is an opportunity to teach your children about boundaries, respect, and being in the present moment. It also is a zen moment for you to put your ego aside and engage with someone. And in a few years when your kids are in their teens and all communication ceases, you’ll look back and realize the constant interruption wasn’t so bad. Interruptions = parenting moments.