Pratical tips to practice presence with your child

I’m not gonna lie, this is hard for me to write right now. I have tips and tools for mindfulness because I’ve been a certified yoga instructor for years, gone to therapy for years, and I’ve read up on the subject. In some seasons of my life I have been more disciplined in my mindfulness practice, in other seasons I totally struggle with this. in motherhood the last almost 3 years (pregnancy included), I’ve had days where I was really intentional about being wholly available to my daughter, and other days where I was mentally somewhere other than wherever I was standing, for like the whole day pretty much.

In hard seasons in particular it requires more effort to face reality and whatever we’d like to run away from. In a busy season, our children can feel like distractions requiring too much of our attention. In smooth seasons, motherhood can feel easy breezy until a tire goes flat or your kid sticks a bead up their nose (obviously my toddler:) and you have to reconfigure your whole day unexpectedly.

Life is messy and full with children.

In my opinion, the best part of motherhood is how our little ones in all their smallness and neediness and simplicity call us to an abundant and awake life. They are closer to the earth (literally). They remind of us of how to stay interested in life with all their “why mama"?” curiosity and their poking around in everything to see how it all works.

They are also whole beings. We come into the world whole, unbroken. All of us. Life dings us up and breaks us up a little over time. But they ask us to become whole again… with them and for them. That means we have to go back and restore and rebuild the parts of ourselves that have been damaged over the years. To be fully present we have to be willing to address those parts of ourselves that are easier to hide.

And sooooooo, out comes the phone, the laptop, Netflix, social media, an extra glass of wine, junk food… we all have our vices to check out. Now let me say we all need to check out sometimes. For real...Motherhood is so freaking exhausting, we need breaks! I love me some Netflix and chocolate chips and I support you having some social media time girl!

What I want to talk about today is our lack of boundaries when it comes to when and where and how much we utilize these mechanisms to avoid discomfort which leads to us avoiding our children, because they too dredge up discomfort for us.

The goal is to have time set apart to rest, and enjoy alone time and treats without disconnecting from our families when they need us. My daughter calls me higher in that she asks me for my whole heart. Every single day she needs to know that I love her, I see her, and I hear her. She needs to feel more important than any device or task. So how do I create space for my relationship with her while still managing my life? How do I make sure she’s getting her emotional needs met?

I designate time every day to different things. For help with creating rhythms you can subscribe to The New Mom Circle in July 2019 for the summer rhythms guide. It will also be available for purchase in the shop after July:) I create daily rhythms and routines that allow me to get done what I need to get done, while also protecting space to show up for her and for myself. I set aside time every week for therapy and yoga, and I recently set aside time every day to do something just for me (read, scrapbook, write, etc.)

I am also committed to dealing with my hard stuff, and I ask for support. This enables me to fill up my cup so I have more to offer her in the space I set aside to focus on her. I’m working on doing this for my husband as well. Our partners still need us after the baby comes it turns out. Who knew? Not me… oops.

So to summarize:

  1. Make time to look at your own wounds, and create safe space to look inwardly to reflect and heal.

  2. Make space for you to do something you enjoy every day. Maybe for 20 minutes of your kiddos nap time watch a favorite show or do a craft for yourself!

  3. Create rhythms in your life in order to have healthy boundaries around your time without all the stress and rigidity. Click here for a link to the Summer Rhythms Guide relating July 5th for The New Mom Circles.

  4. Make eye contact with your child. Get down on their level and figure out how you can spend time taking care of their hearts, every day. (Check out the 5 love languages book and apply it to your kid as well as your partner.)

  5. Give yourself grace because you cannot be a perfect mom, and they don’t need a perfect mom. They need a mom that is not too pre-occupied to engage with them every day.

  6. Create a boundary for whatever is taking you away from your family the most. (Maybe limit social media to 30 minutes while the kids are sleeping.

  7. Commit to self-care. Something simple and manageable every day. The more you fill your cup, the more you have to give. For July I’m going to start taking care of my skin. A few minutes every day, super manageable.

  8. Build reading to your kiddos into the daytime as well as into bedtime routine. I like to read to her after breakfast and sometimes even during lunch, as well as before bed. That guarantees me 2-3 time slots where I am simply sitting with her, engaging her and nothing else.

  9. Ask yourself, “Can it wait?” If your kid is asking for your attention but you’re in the middle of laundry, or cooking, or working from home, pause to ask if the other task can wait so you can give your kiddo 5-10 minutes of your attention in that moment. I have found that my tasks can usually wait so that I can demonstrate to my daughter that she is more important than productivity.

  10. Do less. Find a way to take something off of your plate that is just not a priority today so that you can spend more time with your family.

How we spend our time will teach our children what matters to us. Show them that you matter to yourself, your partner matters to you, and your children matter more than all the other million things asking for your attention. In 20 years, what do you want your child to remember about your relationship with them?

Press restart at any time. I have to press restart at least once a week. And that’s ok mama! We’re not aiming for perfection, we’re aiming for intentional. You got this. And we’re in it with you.