Being Present in Motherhood

I knew life would fast forward as soon as I went back to work after maternity leave. Here I am, four months later, wondering where the summer went. Being present in motherhood is important to me, but I definitely have room for improvement.

While I always dread summer’s end, this year I felt especially sentimental about it. Never again will my baby be this small while we sit outside together enjoying a delightful warm breeze. If only moments like this could be frozen in time.

James is seven months old. I think back to his birthday in February and how quickly the time has passed. I’m feeling anxious at the thought of this first summer together passing me by as he grows so quickly. I had no idea the newborn phase would come and go in the blink of an eye!

I try to shift my perspective to something more positive. “Next summer, he will be bigger, and with each new year, we will engage in fun, new ways as mother and son,” I tell myself. The seasons of life I look forward to.

The problem is, I’m a planner. My mind is distracted and consumed with what’s next. I’m always thinking about the future, both short- and long-term, especially for James. My waking moments are spent obsessing over what needs to be done at home and at work. I’m not as present in motherhood as I’d like to be. I may be singing a song or watching James play, but I’m likely drafting work emails in my head at the same time.

I love the idea of being present, so why the heck is it so hard? Like most things, it takes a conscious effort. Because I am who I am, I came up with a “plan” for being more present in motherhood…

  1. Focus on gratitude – I’m going to focus my energy on what I’m grateful for at this stage in my life. For example, I’m thankful that my career allows me to work from home so I can spend time with my son and be here when he needs me. I’m also thankful for clients and colleagues who understand. Focusing on what I’m thankful for now will help me spend less time worrying about what’s next.  
  2. Use time wisely – I’m going to be more conscious of things that waste my time. For example, I never once logged onto Facebook during maternity leave, and it was wonderful. What a time waster! A much better use of my time is reading to James.
  3. Live in the moment every day – While I can’t always live in the moment, I can make a conscious effort to do so every day for at least 15 minutes. The more I do it, the better I’ll get at being present with myself, my husband and James.
  4. Monotask & Unplug – I really love the idea of monotasking. Focusing is good for the soul. The biggest threat to monotasking for me is my phone. I have literally hid my phone in the closet making it inconvenient for me to go get it, and I’m going to do that more often!
  5. Make a to-do list – As silly as it may sound, writing a to-do list for me is security. It allows me to move on. It frees up my brain because I can stop thinking about what’s on the list. It’s on paper, and it will be there when I’m ready to tackle it.

Do you struggle with being present? I’m sure I’m not alone on this one. Here are some fun things that might help you get started on a new, more present path…

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