Staying present

If you look at my bookshelf you will notice the books are overwhelmingly dedicated to two topics: theology and parenting. (At least on my side of the shelves. J’s side has biographies and photography books. He’s much more interesting than me 🙂

But anyway… I tend to buy books in a stack, and then read them as I get to them, sometimes months later. Lately I’ve been trying to catch up on my reading and I have noticed a theme. Both the theology and the parenting books are recommending “being present” as a way to be healthy and whole. These aren’t new concepts. Meditation, mindfulness, and centering prayer have been conversation topics for quite a while.

I’ve tried several times,unsuccessfully, to start a meditation practice. I keep falling asleep.

Then I was reading last night of the importance of staying mindful with your child. Being present, this book theorizes, keeps the relationship strong and conflicts manageable.

I have to say I agree. How many times have I “disappeared” to check my email, update Facebook, or play a quick game of Angry Birds? While I am otherwise occupied the kids get into the most incredible fights with each other. Coincidence? Probably not.

I have a friend who would argue, though, that as  mom who is with her kids from waking to sleeping Every Single Day that I should allow myself some break time.

So how do I stay present and stay sane? I don’t know. But if you come across a book with the answer, let me know. I’ll add it to my collection.


About morelikeaveragemom

I'm a stay home mom with 3 kids. I am simply figuring it out as I go.
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2 Responses to Staying present

  1. Shelly says:

    I think the concept of being present is more important to remember when you are “with” your kids than when you are taking a break.

    Drawing a boundary and taking a break are incredibly important behaviors that kids benefit from seeing in their moms, dads and other loved grown ups — you are modelling self-care when you take the time you need for yourself. Seeing you take care of yourself shows that you love and respect yourself, and encourages them to respect you as an individual, not just as their property. It also encourages them to believe that they themselves deserve self care and should make time for it as they grow up. Critical stuff!

    Too many people, tho, are not present while they are “with” others. If your mind were wandering while your child is talking to you, such that you never provide them your focus or with a thoughtful answer, that’s not being present. If you upon hearing a child’s concerns, you are immediately jumping to “how does this effect me/my emotions/ the future/our finances” or whatever other grown up concern rather than thinking about how it has impacted the kid or addressing/acknowledging their emotions in the moment, then you are not being present.

    And, ironically, if someone is having trouble being present while with others, it probably suggests that person needs more time to themselves! 🙂

  2. kim says:

    I also tend to stock pile books and read them much later. If I ever do read every book I have purchased I might be half way interesting! As far as being present is concerned, I have read some things and thought about it quite a bit. I found the best thing for me in learning how to apply the concept is yoga. But I also found that yoga via a DVD doesn’t do it either. Going to a class with a really quality teacher does wonders. (my preferred style is Bikram because it is so intense) You just have to really focus on what your body is doing to get the most out of the poses and to maintain form and grace. Even though it has been a looooooonnng time since I have gone to one of those classes I still feel the benefit of the lessons regarding focus and awareness. The other thing is of course in those classes there is not an option to distract yourself with a gadget and it’s endless temptations. The only time I have been able to meditate was when I was practicing yoga on a regular basis. Now, being out of practice my mind has fallen to the internet attention span and I am not sure if I could meditate.

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