Help me stay in the moment

When I have a moment to myself, usually at the end of the day, I look at the photos I have on my phone. Like every parent on this fragile earth of ours I have millions of photos of my baby. So I start to scroll and find myself already smiling.

I unwind.

I relax.

I reminisce.

At the beginning of the reel, the photos are just of milestones and little snippets of time..a visual diary of sorts; the arrival home from hospital, his first bath, the first time he rolled.

I even have videos of him just sleeping.

As parents, we capture all that sweetness. Little moments caught in time that would otherwise pass by without further thought. Which is perhaps why we tend to forget how hard it is being a parent and have more offspring.

The photo reel then changes and evolves, much like my little one. They start to feature more of the interactions between me or my husband and our child.

Now, rather than just being mere observers with my voice describing what’s happening on screen we’re recording the action as participants to the story.

The photos captured are now of him looking slightly off to the right or left, his gaze is beyond the camera depending on where I am. His mouth or face frozen in time in response to something I’ve said or done.

These moments are now more likely of our conversation about his day, his time at the beach, his first experience of ice-cream or that time we encouraged him to touch the reptiles at a petting zoo.

Turtles and snakes and lizards. Oh my!

While the phone and camera has become incredibly important in helping me remember these moments, I also need to remember to be in the moment.

“When mindfulness embraces those we love they will bloom like flowers”

-Thich Nhat Hanh

Help me stay in the moment

Have you noticed this?

I notice that when I give my son my absolute attention, when I involve myself completely in our play he remains confident and content. If I start our days off like this, then the rest of the day he doesn’t become clingy or whines and when it’s time to prepare lunch or clean up he is happy to continue playing on his own.

I don’t mean to say he needs my undivided attention all the time but rather at concentrated bursts at regular intervals, otherwise it would be exhausting.

There have even been days where I’ve been able to have an adult conversation with a friend for over an hour on the phone or read through a few chapters of a book while he continues to play. Small wins.

The opposite is also true.

That is, when I’m half present; I’m there with him in body but my mind is thinking of other things, errands, reminders, non-essentials that still occupy my thoughts then I find my little guy becomes a little more demanding.

He clings to my leg or he climbs over me to keep me low and accessible and I have to put aside what I’m doing.

I guess old or young, it doesn’t make a difference, everyone wants and deserves proper attention.

You know the kind.

When you’re looking into each other’s eyes, mirroring each other’s body language, acknowledging what’s being said with a nod or a smile or a word.

Body language and facial expressions are how babies communicate so if we’re not responding to them with our own body language then it’s a lost opportunity to bond with them.

I’ve come to appreciate the need to not just be in the moment but embrace the moments. Really commit to them.

And being mindful does that.

Just looking back through the photos is a bittersweet reminder of how quickly they grow up. The collage of the memories is great but it doesn’t beat the warmness of a hug, the radiance of their smile or the touch of their tiny hands wrapped around our fingers.

Being in the moment we find ourselves content to stay there.

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27 responses to “Help me stay in the moment

  1. I am guilty of not being in the moment at times and I hate myself for that. These days, one of the things I’m working on is actually putting down my phone when I’m with my kids. It’s really tempting sometimes.

    Liked by 2 people

    • I was just talking about this with a friend of mine, and what prompted the post was that we both got told by our little boys “no phone mummy”. I’m finding a lot of parents struggle with this and I’m working on it as well! Thanks for sharing your thoughts.

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  2. I like to scroll through my Instagram account to see a condensed photo account of my daughter’s short life, so I can identify with your wind-down technique! My daughter isn’t at the point that she plays by herself long enough for me to read a chapter of a book (but man that sounds so. good.), but I do find we’re both happier when I’m fully with her and playing instead of trying to do other things at the same time.

    Liked by 1 person

      • Being present is huge and because of it, many things will fall into place, but something else I think is important is to give kids choices. I think allowing them to make choices helps them develop a healthy sense of self and agency… Of course the choices offered should be between acceptable things like, “Would you like the apple, pear or orange for a snack?” … And they can’t make all their own choices, because they might choose a steady diet of candy or decide to play in the street. Being present will make it easier for you to know when to allow your kids to be the rulers of their universe and when to let them know Mom’s the boss! A good piece of advice that I got from a mom of four was to pick my battles wisely 🙂 Just my 2 cents for what it’s worth 🙂

        Liked by 1 person

  3. I LOVE this. I’ve recently been trying to put my phone away more and just really BE with my son; watch all he is doing, laugh together, cuddle each other. I still take pictures, but I try to make sure the majority of the time is spent with just me and him. Love between Mother and child is beautiful and I want to experience it first hand, not with a lens in between us. Thank you for this post! 🙂

    Liked by 1 person

  4. I have been thinking about this so much lately. And it’s true, when I give my boys my undivided attention in the morning, truly spend time getting to know them, loving them, the entire day goes better. It’s unfortunately easy to get busy and miss what matters most! Thank you for this!

    Liked by 1 person

    • I’ve been thinking about it a lot too which led me to write a few posts about being mindful and present despite life sometimes presenting us with a long to-do list. I find that reflecting on how good it can be when we are in the moments and writing about it helps me remember and prioritise it in the face of a chaotic day. Thank you for taking the time to share your thoughts with me.

      Like

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