Avoid the moment

The kids go back to school today; the holidays are officially over. I need a vacation.

Although our holiday went smoothly — meaning I went to work for a few days here and there and my husband stayed home with the kids — I still don’t feel completely rested. Maybe it’s the knowing that this week will be bumpy as we all adjust back to our schedules, or maybe it’s knowing there are now weeks upon weeks where there are no holidays or long weekends in sight.

lights

I went to yoga on the weekend. Our teacher spoke about the choice to do yoga. She said that when you do a practice, you commit (to yourself) to be present for the practice. I find I spend a good deal of time distracted, doing other things as avoidance, or wishing I was elsewhere. I waste a lot of time avoiding but doing nothing. So I chose to be present and it was great. I felt collected and calm and content. Of course, the teacher also mentioned that the test is not to be present just for the class. The real test begins when you get home.

I am an avoider at home too. I wish my kids could just *do* things but they need a firm example to get them started. I burn out from being the example setter after three tries. Plus I am not good with consistency. (You can guess that I was never good at baseball). I can tell one of them to go have a shower and twenty minutes later nothing has happened. I have gotten sucked into reading more blogs and one of the kids has started a three-hour¬†board-game.¬† I don’t reinforce and the kid has no incentive. I worry that when they move out they will not even know how to boil an egg or sort lights from darks.

My point is not to share with you about how I am a crappy parent. If I want my kids to be present, I must also inhabit that space with them. I think that happened more over the holidays. There is more time to do your own thing but to also come together and share.

When things are busy, the space feels too crowded to allow time to just be. I don’t have time to change anything and neither do the kids. But if I can stop and know that this moment is crowded it may give me some breathing room sooner. I can stop and be in that space without being responsible for it. Stopping may be easier than looking for ways to get to the next moment faster.

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24 thoughts on “Avoid the moment

  1. I find it’s often easier to avoid than to do something. You’re right. Just one more blog to read, one more reply to write, one more blog to write, one more something to do to avoid what we should be doing. I do (or don’t do) it all the time. You’re not a bad parent. Kids are particularly adept at finding something else to do besides what they should be doing. They are masters at it. I think we learn from them. Then we spend our time trying to get them to do something and find ourselves not doing something. It’s a vicious cycle.

    • It’s so true that kids can be so easily distracted. You see them doing one more thing and think, “I could be doing something else.” And then everyone gets sidetracked and half an hour has gone by. Not so bad when there is no schedule, but now that things are more rigid and structured, I need to be more on top of it. Vicious cycle indeed.

      Thanks for these comments. :)

    • Frank,
      It certainly IS good when you can get so much out of one thing. Great returns. It can be both simplistic and complex at the same time — it gives you what you need at any given time.

  2. One of the things that makes parenting so challenging is its 24/7 requirement. As you point out, it takes a lot of consistency, and sometimes that’s not so easy to maintain day in and day out. It becomes especially difficult if both parents don’t do it equally–then one bears much of the responsibility. And for those single parents out there, my hat’s off to them, because they are on their own. Hopefully they have good support systems, because it’s asking a lot of one person, for sure.

    • I totally admire and bow down to single parents. They are truly amazing people.

      You really have no idea what you are getting in to before you have kids. And then, when you are in the thick of it, it’s far too late to back out. My husband and I often joke that we need a third person in our relationship to do all the things that either of us are too tired to do. I guess if you can afford it, you call that person the Nanny.

      • Haha. True. But then again, it’s okay for kids to toil on their own a bit. They need to gain their independence, and having parents always signaling them to do this and do that doesn’t allow them enough freedom. I’m not a fan of helicoptering.

      • I’m very anti-helicopter. I want independent kids.

        I think it’s important that kids figure things out on their own a bit, too. They need the experience and the feedback to know what doesn’t work and why. Life is all about choices and decisions — so starting small (and seeing the effects) is a good way to avoid major disappointments later in life.

    • Amy,
      So much easier to avoid than to do, especially if it’s not something you particularly want to do.

      I just wish it would get done, but ignore the fact that it needs my doing.

  3. It is challenging to just ‘be’ – we are taught that we must always being ‘doing’ – and it’s just not true. Just being is nice – and no worries – your kids will learn everything they need to know – and if they are not spotless clean…meh….showering is overrated. Content is where it’s at. Be there – :)

  4. Ugh, I totally identify with this post. My kids are exactly the same way – and there I am on the computer. I try to remember that they grow so fast. They are now 12 and 8 (when did that happen?) My 12 yr old daughter still likes to cuddle with me. I treasure that because I know she’s growing up and will be all teenagery before long. The 8 yr old is always into projects which will be great later but for now can drive you crazy with her stuff and her spread everywhere! I think the most we can be is “good enough” parents. But living in the moment is a good idea too.

    • When you look back at it all –if you can remember that far back when we get to a point we can look back — you will remember what fine people your kids were. The mess, the spread, the delays and distractions, the “get your [damn] pajamas on” will all be a memory.
      I barely remember that my daughter never slept as a baby. Oh, wait. Yes, I do. I am still trying to catch up on sleep 8 years later.
      So true that we can strive to be “good enough” parents. If we could do more, we would be. Thanks for that reassurance. Live for the moment!

  5. Oh, I can really relate to this! For a moment, I wondered if you lived in my city and went to the same yoga class because our teacher said something very similar last weekend. I’ve been thinking a lot about trying to be more present with my kids. When my 7-year old was little, there wasn’t facebook, smart phones, twitter, or blogging. I spent a lot of time reading to her and just playing.
    Now, with my 2-year old, I am constantly drifting to some media device or another, and he copies me. I never feel fully present–I’m always wondering about some comment or response waiting. It’s getting toxic.

    I’ve seen your comments and other bloggers referencing you, and decided to check you out after you were listed for a Liebster Award on The Green Study.

    So…. drat… another great blog to follow ;)

    • Welcome, Hello Kylie,

      Funny how yoga truths are so universal, regardless of teacher or class. Nice.

      Being present is a challenge – especially when you feel you need to multi-task your time. So often I feel busy but am not really “doing” anything. And it’s not that I need to be doing something all the time, I just fill my time with busy-ness and then am overwhelmed with being distracted and busy.

      Thanks for looking me up and commenting. I’ll be sure to pop over to your blog as well.

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