The Struggles of Being Present

It’s challenging at times being a mom. Trying to figure out if you are making the right choices. Making sure that everyone else is taken care of. It’s so easy to get overwhelmed trying to juggle it all. The thing that I found to be the most challenging was being present. From tackling a full-time job, to marriage, to extended family, I needed to make sure that I was intentional about the time that I was spending with my daughters.

After working all day, there was one thing that I always looked forward to: picking the girls up from school. It was the highlight of my day. Knowing that they were safe and excited to see me waiting brought me pure joy. We also had a really good routine!

I would park three blocks from the school, walk to the front of the school’s gate, greet them with hugs, and then go home. I enjoyed the 3-minute talk that we had about everything that happened throughout the day.

After about a month or so, the girls made friends who would walk home. The questions went from “Hey Mom, how was your day?” to “ Hey mom, can I walk home?”

Now I know that there are always going to be moments where I know that things are going to change, and the kids will slowly want independence, but the question that is always in the back of my head is … “Am I ready for all of this?”

As they get older, one thing remains the same. What can I do to make sure that I am present, and they know that they have my attention? They may remember that time we went to the park, or when I took them to a party. What I want them to remember most, though, is that I showed up and was right where they needed me to be. So, having them simply walk home was scary for me.

I kept a list on my phone as a reminder of things to have in place. Things that would keep me on track.

Creating individual time each day

Three different little girls and three different days. It was important to carve out time to allow them to tell me how things are going for them and not have other voices around to distract them. It builds their confidence. Remembering that I should be aiming for quality over quantity.

Keeping the television off until they go to sleep

Finding time to watch shows together and saving any “adulting” for after bedtime. My attention needed to be focused on family time. Taking moments to cook together, and getting more involved with playtime has tightened the bond.

Slowing down with life

Being in a rush doesn’t change a thing. Rushing to get to the zoo or to get them dressed became more of a burden and something that stresses us all out. Finally realizing that time wasn’t as important as taking a step back and enjoying the “right now.”

It’s okay to put work aside and not feel guilty

I needed to make sure that I was taking charge of my day. I began creating a list, making sure that I was getting things done before they got home. Work will be there tomorrow. I wish someone would have told me that sooner, so I wouldn’t feel so guilty about it. What mattered most were those little moments that I could spend with my kids.

I had to think long and hard about the girls walking home from school. Instead of immediately saying “no, you cannot walk home with your friends,” we have created a new routine. I still park three blocks from the school. I still wait at the school’s gate for them to get out. As they continue walking down the street with their friends, I slowly walk back to my car, drive home, then walk down the street to watch them come down the block. My “Hey mom, how was your day?” may come a little later in the afternoon, but it’s still there. I know that there is still a sense of peace knowing that I am there at the gate waiting “just in case.”

Each day is different, and there are moments that we can’t get back. Making sure that I am still leaving an impact and being that presence that they need will be something that I hope they remember for the rest of their life.


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