Work, extended family, the overloaded schedule of everyone in the household – they should bring back that commercial where the woman shouts, ‘Calgon, take me away!’ because we can all relate. We don’t have the power to add time to our day and so very many things eat at the time that we do have.
So, when we are making dinner and going through backpacks and moving the laundry from the washer to the dryer and suddenly hear, ‘Mommy, listen (look) at this!’, we turn but we don’t see, we don’t hear. We nod and mumble ‘great job’. And keep plowing through the endless tasks.
When I was in my teens, my mom had gone back to college and was also working part time. Her attention was captured by these new experiences. I took to inserting wildly imaginative comments in my attempts to get her feedback on things, which gauged her actual engagement in our conversation. ‘Hmmm, in a minute’ told me that she was not with me, not truly present.
I vowed to be always fully present for my kids, not realizing at the time what a Sisyphean task I was setting for myself. At least this vow helped me to retain the deep sense of frustration that I felt when I could not engage her. It reminded me that these moments come when they come and cannot be planned, and should not be squandered if at all possible.
We have cute sayings and plaques and boards on Pinterest, memes all over social media that attempt to remind us that these moments when our children want our attention are fleeting. But all the to-dos of life are so insistent and constant and never ending that it is easy to forget because our child is there day after day, changing so imperceptibly that we can only tell in retrospect.
Take a moment and breathe, let your mind settle a bit. Open a door back down a darker corridor of memory, into a moment when you were the child with the cool thing that you just had to share with mom. Secure the feeling from that moment. Draw it up when your child interrupts the obligations of that day, sigh and take a moment to be truly present.
© 2013 Practical Business | Reasonable Expectations