One of the best gifts you can give your children is to be present. Not just in the same room, but engaged with them.
You may think you are, but I would like to ask you this.
How many times are you on your phone when your child is nearby?
I have seen young mothers at the park who put their babies in a swing and then ignored them, while they engaged with their phone. They can never get that moment back with their child. They wasted it by tuning into their phone? Really?!!!
When my children were little, I watched their television programs.
I saw “Homeward Bound” more times than I can count. I also forced them to watch Winnie the Pooh with me. That was my favorite series of all time. I recommend that series to everyone!
I never watched television for myself though. I remember one time yelling at my kids to be quiet so I could watch a show. They were teenagers. Then I stopped the yelling and had a talk with myself, “If this television show is so important to you that you are screaming at your kids then maybe it is just too important.” I turned the television off and I kept it turned off for many years after that.
Cell phones were just coming on the market when I got my divorce.
They were monstrous contraptions. I didn’t care for them at all but soon got a flip phone. I needed it for work so I used it for that and I would call my friends.
As cell phones developed, so did my selection.
I landed a boyfriend who was a “techy” and he would not allow me to call with a cell phone, which was outdated. I always had the best in cell phones while dating him.
So, you think I would be on the phone with my friends a lot, since by that time my children were teenagers, right?
Well, I called my friends, but I remember one day my daughter came into the living room and I was on the phone with a friend.
My daughter was standing in the corner with a look of anticipation on her face. I said to my friend, “Hey, can I possibly call you back? My daughter just walked in the house.” My friend agreed to end the call.
My daughter’s face exploded into a smile. She said, “Mom, you do that every time I walk in the door. That makes me feel like I am on top of the world.”
I hadn’t even realized that I had done that.
It was such a habit to be present for my children it was second nature.
It is interesting that the last time my daughter was at my home; I got a call from my son. I told her it was her brother calling, and I went to my bedroom to talk with him. Meanwhile, she was doing some touch up painting for me in my home.
I talked to my son for quite a while.
When I got off the phone, I asked her if she wanted to take a break and eat something. She had brought me some yummy tarts from Central Market for Mother’s day and I was going to share.
She had a playful grin on her face when she replied. “I think you had better be getting to work. I have been slaving away while you were talking on the phone.” I giggled and agreed with her and we both worked on different projects in my home. Then after two hours of hard work, I got to share that yummy dessert with her. It was so much fun to spend the afternoon with her.
I appreciated that she allowed me to talk with her brother and did not interrupt me or get mad at me for that. She was working hard in another room while I was gabbing with her brother.
Somehow I think there may be a correlation between being present for your children and them growing up to be exceptional people. Just thinking…
For other ideas on how to be present in parenting, please visit my other blog at https://singleparentssurvivalguide.com