Google+ Authentic Parenting: Being In The Moment

Tuesday, October 5, 2010

Being In The Moment

One of the mostprecious gifts a parent can give his child is his undivided attention. To be really there when you are with your child, to be present, physically, yes, but also mentally.
A child knows when you're only playing halfheartedly, when you wish you were somewhere else, when you're thinking about the million things you neet to do.

I think that half a day spent with your child consensually is better than a whole day wishing you were somewhere else (so yes, I do understand parents who seek to pursue other interests next to their parenting).

Now, I have to admit that I am really bad at being in the moment, and not only with my child. I have a very busy mind and I'm always - or at least very often - somewhere else.
This has long frustrated me and I never quite understood where it came from, until I watched my mother when she was with my child.
Every time I gave my daughter into my mother's care during the holiday, she was instantly seeking a way of 'getting out' of that situation. Don't get me wrong, I think my mother loves her grandchild dearly, but she simply can't just sit there and enjoy playing with her. She has to be busy, busy, busy, even if that means she's not really doing anything. Just the bussiness is enough.
And while I don't nescessarily need to be busy, I do think of the many many things I would rather be doing every so often.

To counter these feelings, I have come to be deliberate about being present when I am with my child. I try to play with her for at least half an hour and really be in the game and in the moment.
I also worked on my interruptibleness. If she comes to ask me to play with her, even while I'm doing something else, I will stop and come right away, even if just for mere minutes.
I do not want her to learn that being with her comes next to something silly such as separating laundry (thoughh with such a chore, I mighht ask her if she's like to help first).



  1. So true! I also try being present with my LO while breastfeeding - to know that she sees I am there with her!

  2. I can completely relate to this. If having a child has taught me anything, it's that I need to LET GO, quit worrying about everything else and just play with my daughter. It's so hard for me to do but whenever I do, I love it and so does she.

  3. What a wonderful reminder for all of us busy parents. It can be so easy to want to multi-task entirely just to keep up with everything coming our way. Maybe someone needs to sell shirts like the one in the photo..."you are here, and your kid will only be this age once".

    Great reminder. Thanks!

  4. This is my mother too!

    Lots of women still feel "trapped" to be mothers, Perfect mothers at that. No wonder so many of them internally or externally flee, mentally or physically. Men need to be a part of that solution and work more meaningfully and effectively toward supporting more choices in women's lives, get rid of the wage gap, take responsibility for parenting, do more nurturing for their children, stop looking the other way at sexist language built on shaming women/mothers. Only when we feel free to make a choice can we really make it!

    Thanks for a reminder about being present. I've seen how valuable this is to children.

  5. I very much agree with you, being mentally present and connected with your child when you do something with her is really important.

    However (and sorry for bringing this here, you'll discover in a few months hopefully), the difficulty rises when you have several children and you have to chose between them. Like you play with child #1, a real good play, your mind is 100% with your child's mind. Then child #2 comes and asks you to do something for her. What do you do ? You can favour child #1 (by asking child #2 to wait until your play is over) or favour child #2 (by asking child #1 to wait until you are done with child #2 and immediatly attend to child #2).

    But even if you have to chose between two children, at least, while you are 100% with them, they know you are reliable for everything, even a game.

  6. Some days I have a harder time then others staying in the moment with my kids. I guess it has to do with the amount of things I feel I need to get done, "right now".

    I say "feel" because as you say, what is important laundry or our children.

    Thanks for the reminder to be in the moment with our kids. We can't fool them, they know if we are there just as we know if someone we are talking to is really there.

  7. @Momagain, as they get older, I feel that connecting while breastfeeding gets more difficult, as both you and her get more distracted (now there are even times that my 28 month old doesn't want me to look at her), but I try to connect with her, even if just for an instant, at every feed

    @Murielle, that is indeed a dillemma - one I can't really give my opinion on. I do however have other kids play over occasionally, and then I try to have them all around the same activity. I actually find that with a group of kids centered around the same activity, I myself find it much easier to be present. But of course this cannot work all the time.

    @Smart Kids: I don't think this is something you should bat yourself up about. We live in a fast track society where childrearing is regarded as one of the less important things. If we remind ourselves to be there in the moment every once in a while, if we at least try it sometimes, we are already putting one step in the right direction - and a big one at that.

  8. I could have written this post. This is my story too. I am very comfortable in my head. Perhaps the greatest gift (and challenge) of motherhood has been learning how to be in the present moment. I think I could have lived my entire life not being truly present for any of it.

  9. I could have written this post! I was very comfortable being in my head and perhaps the greatest gift (and challenge) of motherhood has been learning how to be in the present moment. If it weren't for my children, I could have lived my whole life not really being present for any of it.


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