Friday, August 9, 2013

Being present can bring great gifts.

Welcome to the Peaceful Parenting Challenge Blog Carnival: Week #5 – Practicing Presence
This post was written for inclusion in the 10 Week Peaceful Parenting Challenge Blog Carnival hosted by Prenatal to Parenting. This week our participants have written about Practicing Presence.. We hope you enjoy this week’s posts and consider joining us next week when we share about a week of Developing Positive Self-Talk.

This week was definitely a challenge, being present in the moment was hard for me as this is my last week at home.  As difficult as it was, I can say on several occasions, I successfully stopped thinking about things that I have to get done and faced my partner or children when they were talking to me or wanting my attention but I still have tons of work to do to be present.

I can remember a few months back when Hunter started to become more aware of his surroundings before he could sit up or roll over, I vowed to put the cell phone away while he was awake.  I had gotten into the habit of browsing the internet or Facebook while breastfeeding when he was super little, this habit has been hard to break.  I also played a lot of scrabble on Facebook every chance I could get to play a word or two.  Then, I read an article about children being fascinated in what we are fascinated in, if our faces are always in our phones or computers, then of course the kids are going to want to see and touch them as well.  I didn't want to be that Mom that was so busy watching her phone or computer that she wasn't seeing the greatness in her kids.  So most of the time, I do leave my phone away from me so I am not constantly looking at it but I still have trouble putting it down if someone has texted me or sent me an email and if I open Facebook, well that is 5 to 10 minutes I will never get back.  All of those can wait, especially when the baby is sitting right here in front of me, talking to me, crawling around, pointing at things, making endless facial expressions, standing on his own, etc.  So many things happen so quickly when they are babies, they learn something new everyday and if I am busy in my own little world, I will miss it.  I missed a lot of things with David when he was little because I was so busy trying to make a life for us as well as maintain a social life, I have great memories of when he was a young boy and things we did together but memories from when he was a baby and a toddler are few and far between.  David is a teenager now and chooses when he wants to talk to me.  Often times is when I am busy with his brother but I will stop what I am doing and make time for him because even though he doesn't care to interact with us as often as he used to, what he has to say is important, and its important I pay attention.

One way that we have always managed to do in my family is to sit down together at dinner time and chat about the day we had, what was good about it and what wasn't so good.  Hunter learned to chew early, way before he had teeth, he would sit in his high chair and watch us talk and eat our dinner.  Babies learn a lot from watching us so its important to role model good behaviors.  Sitting down and connecting with one another in our busy lives is super important to me and Clayton, we both come from families where sitting down to eat a meal together is a necessity and definitely an opportunity to be present with your family.  Another way we connect is taking short walks together, without the cell phone, around the neighborhood, enjoying the sights and saying hello to neighbors.  We have no choice but to be present with each other while we walk.

This challenge has taught me that while we do have regular, daily opportunities to be present... I still have some work to do to be present, stay present and enjoy the little things in life especially now that I am going back to work and my time with my family will be cut quite a bit shorter now.  I promise to work hard, especially in the coming weeks during my transition to work; to meditate, to breathe, to be mindful, to be present, to enjoy the little things and not get caught up on the to do list.  A happy home is not judged by the cleanliness of the inside, the mounds of laundry, the dishes in the kitchen or the mess of the endless yard work outside.  It is judged by the happiness of the people who live there.  So why are we worrying about these things that are never ever finished? Get to it when you get to it.  "If only the people who worry about their liabilities would think about the riches they do possess, they would stop worrying."-Dale Carnegie

If we are present, we can enjoy the gifts presence brings us.

Please take time to read the submissions by the other carnival participants:
Sweet Sleepy Time– Sarah from Prenatal to Parenting realizes that by focusing on all the things that she 'could' be doing she was missing out on what she 'was' doing.
Week 5 Practicing Presence – Jennifer from Children’s Directory finds it’s easier to practice presence when there is no Wi-Fi available.
Being Present – Peaceful Parenting Challenge – Week 5  - Katrina from Kalem Photography learns to listen not only with her ears but also with her heart.
Practicing Presence – Ricky from Daddy Blogger has a wonderful time waiting for the ferry.
Week 5 - Remain present – Amanda from Sticky Hands has got this presence thing nailed.
KICK THE PANTS! - WEEK 5-- LISTEN UP WILL YOU? - Kathryn from Curiosity and the Kat finds it ironic that she’s learned all this before.
Doing One Thing At A Time – Amber from is looking for tips on how to stop multi-tasking.

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