I was busy doing something on the computer when Mazy asked me to help her with something. I told her to wait just a minute and mommy would help her, but she was pretty persistent. I was trying to find some papers we needed for our house loan, but then before I knew it, I was on some other website, and still had not helped her. Though by that time, she had given up.
It all started out as trying to quickly get something done, all out of innocence, but then after she found something else to do, she gave up and I forgot about her asking me. Then I realized what had just happened.
I was there, but was not present anymore.
I got lost in the screen. I got lost in the world of social media. I rarely pick up my computer when Mazy is awake for this very reason because I do not want her to grow up thinking her mom’s face was always looking down at a screen. When she takes a nap, that’s when I try to blog, email, etc., but now I know why I separate that time.
Don’t get me wrong. Our children need to see that there are other things to do and other important things as well. They have to see that life does not always revolve around them! I think there can be a healthy balance with that. I try to exercise in the morning and Mazy always wants to join me, but it always ends up with her in tears, until she finds something to do. She now has learned, when mommy exercises, it’s time to play with stickers.
But I realized that being present, and not just “there” can make a life-changing difference. I know this sounds like a simple thing. Really, it sounds kind of ridiculous because shouldn’t we always be present?
How often in life are we engrossed in something else, that we miss the moment? We forget to soak in the moment and what is going on around us? When Mazy brings me a book to read, I always try to put down whatever I am doing and do it. Those days are going to end. I know she is gaining so much knowledge when I read to her – she has quite a large vocabulary already, and I know she LOVES to learn, so I want to feed into that. When Mazy wants me to show her how to do something, I want to be present and show her. I realize that right now, almost all she learns, she will be learning from Dan and I.
I think about how many children go through life without a parent who is present. I get that we all need a time out in life. What about those children who do not have the gift of a present parent? I think Mazy sometimes intentionally does something wrong, just so she can go sit in her time out chair. I laugh, but I figure why not? She needs a bit of a break – I get it. I do too. But as a parent, I don’t want to go through life only thinking about my agenda, my day, and what I want to do. I want to be present and not just “there” for her. Present enough to make a difference in her life.
Think about what is getting in the way of being “present” in your life. I even look at Dan and I. We have a “no phones at the table” rule because we want to be present. We don’t keep our phones by our bedside either. Those stay out in the kitchen. Taking time away from the screen can be a little change that can make a world of difference! In all of our relationships!