Some moms, it seems, are always hands-on with their kids at all times. They are always present with them. They don’t seem to take time away from their kids to look at their phones, or to work on other things when their kids are around. They seem to give them their full undivided attention — always.
I am not that mom.
I am not sure if it is due to my personality and the need to always be multitasking, or if it’s because I am a grad student and my schedule is always crazy, or because in this day and age, there are numerous distractions at all times and always a demand for us to spread ourselves thin. But being fully present with anyone, including my kids, is an everyday struggle for me.
Sometimes it is due to being distracted by futile time-filling activities, like reading the news or scrolling through various social media platforms, but more often than not is due to trying to plan the next fun thing for my kids, whether it be a fun local activity, somewhere to travel next to, or something fun to try. But sadly, even during these fun activities, I find it difficult to be present and end up taking dozens of photos so that I can relive the memory later on. Even without the physical distractions of the world, there seems to always be a carousel of worries and thoughts running through my head that keeps me from being fully engaged with those around me, especially my kids.
Though in seeing friends with their kids on social media I feel alone in this problem, I am not. There are countless articles and posts online and in print on not only the importance of being more present for your kids, but also tips on how to become more present. These tips often include suggestions such as leaving your phone in another room, setting aside a particular time period for you to just play with and focus on your children, being mindful — including realizing your kids aren’t going to be kids forever and trying to best enjoy their current season now — as well as enjoying routines with them such as bedtime rituals like a story or asking about their day.