Wednesday, January 9, 2013

On Being Present

I didn't realize how much work it is just to be present with a little one, or to be present in my days generally, I suppose. To me this means being in the moment, fully committed to what is happening in that moment. Whether it's reading "Brown Bear Brown Bear" for the 10th time in a row, or making toast, or washing the dishes or calming a fussy baby, it takes some effort to keep my mind focused on the task at hand.

Especially when it comes to Aedan, I want to try harder to stay present. I don't want to get into the habit of just checking out: it's a real challenge! I also don't want to be micromanaging his play. I recognize that he is capable of amusing himself, and if he's in that mode, I'm happy to pick up a book or some knitting or get busy in the kitchen. But when he starts throwing the books at me, or pushing me away from the kitchen counter, I try to listen to what he's telling me. 

My biggest problem day to day is internet usage. I find myself drifting towards the computer, often checking out mentally as a I scroll through my Facebook news feed. I'll pull Aedan into my lap if he wants me, and I want to break that habit. He's too young to be learning to stare at a screen (a screen that invariably is full of advertisements of one kind or another). In an attempt to curb my Face-time, I've set it up to be way less interesting, but the habit persists. 

I've decided I want to limit my internet time to when Aedan is sleeping. I think it is my number one time wasting, mindfulness-sabotaging's going to be tough. I tell myself that I keep Facebook open all day because the chat is like my telephone. But if I'm honest about it, it's not like anyone is "calling". And I do have Skype for that. Some days I feel I'm not much different from the person with the smartphone glued to her hand, constantly checking for updates. And I don't want to be that person.

How do you stay present with your kids? How do you manage your internet time (or do you?)


  1. I've totally been there! In the fall I had the same experience where I realized I was getting sucked into the computer/internet time so much. This of course resulted in being less present with our baby and raising her is the whole point I am a work from home mama. I started out setting some boundaries for myself about internet time and it eventually became the norm for me to not be on the computer much. The downside is I don't put as much energy into growing my blog like I used to. It is worth it though since I feel like I am actually really LIVING life now and not spending hours on the computer scrolling through FB. Good luck to you :)

    1. Thank you, Annie! Yesterday I limited my internet time to when Aedan was sleeping, and it felt great!

  2. You are right about the internet stealing time and, in particular, social media. When I returned to a computer, after several months living away in the hills, I found myself once more sucked into the endless scrolling and catching up on Facebook, and also on Tumblr. As I had a novel to write I had to make a conscious decision to stop this. I know no one where I currently live and had certainly been using Facebook to keep in touch but I chose to take a step back, to no longer stay logged in all day. Over time I have been on there less and less – and when I do check in I discover everyone else’s lives are still the same; they are still complaining about their job, or their partner, or their children. I don’t miss it any longer.
    One thing I found immensely helpful when writing is a programme called Macfreedom (it works for windows too), which is worth checking out – I set the timer for 25 minutes of no internet, then have a five minute break before another block of writing.
    Although I have no children to worry about, I think the principal of being present in the day still applies to all – it is something few people truly address though, so by recognising this I think you are already on the way to a solution.
    Good thought-provoking post!

    1. Good for you for taking a step back. Not an easy thing to do!

      That program sounds interesting, I will check it out. Thanks!

  3. I am not on FB so the time I spend on the Internet is on a forum, writing and reading blogs and doing research for home edding. I was given and iPad in the middle of last year and at first found I wanted to spend all my time on there, I soon realised like you that I was not present at all and as a result the behaviour of my children got worse too. I do still go on during the day, but at times when my children are happy and occupied, when they need me I come off. The greatest amount of time I spend on it is in the evening after they have gone to bed. Perhaps it is time to think about why you use the Internet too much for your liking and seeing if you can meet that need in some other way? Good luck with you quest.

    1. Wow, I'm so impressed that you're not on FB! I held out for a long time when it was becoming popular, but eventually caved. I often think of deleting my account.

      I think a big part of my internet use has to do with living where we do. If I could just walk over to my friend's house for a cup of tea and a chat, I could feel that connection I think I'm searching for in my endless news feed scrolling. I've got to find another way to fill that need!

      Thanks for your comment!


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