Last night I laid in the hammock, in our backyard, and breathed in every stunning second of the sun descending. I smiled at myself as I thought of the day’s events and what was to come tomorrow. I was fortunate enough to wake up with my 12 year-old at 6am, help her get ready, make her a school lunch, encourage her for her first day of Junior High. Her nerves were on point and I was trying my best to calm her. She rode the bus, attended her half day of school, and then texted me on her way home. I impatiently waited for her in the kitchen, to hear every detail of her day.
Now this may seem mundane to some of you, but for me it is significant. When I rolled over at 5:40am to start my coffee, I was present, half a sleep but still present. When I woke her up at 6am, I crawled in bed with her and we watched a short Dr. Seuss movie about Sneetches. We laughed, yawned, and I was present. I helped her with her hair, painted her nails, gave her advice, and I was present. When she arrived off the bus, I was home waiting for her, her giant grin as she walked in brought me so much joy. I was there. I was present.
This morning I dragged my yoga mat to the back yard. I watched the sunrise as I stretched and meditated. My heart was full of gratitude and appreciation for where I am in my life. I can’t remember the last time I was able to watch the sun go to bed and arise in a day. After I had found my center, I was able to help my other two children get ready for their first day of school. I even made them watch a YouTube video about how making your bed every morning will help you change the world.
I listened to my first grader as he announced that I would be walking him to the bus stop everyday! I watched as my oldest son walked with his little sister to the bus stop. His job is to protect her today. In every moment I was present and aware.
I have been a stay at home mom before. I have worked nights, part-time and for the last three years I have worked full-time. In every instance I have found ways to distract myself, rather consciously or subconsciously, in different situations involving the kids. The past three years I have given up very precious moments with my children, in order to provide for them. I’m sure you working moms can relate. I’d work a full day, while juggling calls about car-pool, dentist appointments, sick days, forgot my lunch days, and everything in-between.
When I got home, I believed I was spending quality time with them, but honestly I was never present. My mind was always focusing on something else. There was always this level of contention, anxiousness, and last minute projects. I wasn’t aware. I wasn’t listening, in the way I am now. I wasn’t present.
As the silence fills all of our homes with the first day of school, take a moment of gratitude. Remember how precious your children are. Whether you’re a stay at home mom, working from home, working part-time, working full-time or a stay at home dad, be present when your children get home today. Be aware. In the short two weeks that I have been able to work from home, I have been amazed at the connection and love that we (because my children play a role in this) have been able to create. I am beyond grateful.
In another two weeks, I’m sure my daughter will be waking me up. I’ll be ordering my coffee from Starbucks, because I was too lazy to make my own. I’ll skip my meditation, forget to make their lunches. Take an extra long hike, and not be home when they return home from school. I’ll lay in our hammock one night and think “What the hell am I doing wrong?”
I know not everyday will play out like it has the past two days. I know there are times of frustration, but I do know I will be present for all of them. I will listen. I will guide. I will protect. I will be aware.
My only frustration… that I didn’t start sooner! That I let my career get the best part of me and my family get what was left over. Working mamas, I hear you, I see you, I can relate to you, but it is possible to have it all. The career, the family, the “me” time. Find your center, be aware of your emotions, and BE PRESENT!
HOW TO STAY PRESENT:
- Put your phone down. This is obvious right?
- Meditate! I can't say this enough. Start with 5 min and build to 15 min per day. You can thank me later.
- Create To Do Lists for individual days and mark them off as you complete them. This helps me focus on a day at a time and not get caught up on what I have to do tomorrow.
- Eat Together. Conversations happen at the table, even if you're eating take out, take it to the table.
- Be Nice. Sounds simple right? Our words are powerful. Talk nice to your children and your spouse, but most importantly to yourself. Congratulate yourself and encourage yourself like you would a friend.
- Encourage your children to do all of the above.