I’ve been reading a lot about “being present” as a mother lately. It’s something I strive for and work on but I’ve realized that it’s not something to maintain 24-7.
First of all, my kids have asked me before to “go be on computer” or “go in your room and read.” I don’t know if there is a better cue that, they want time with each other or to themselves. My kids are all (with the exception of William who has a super-extrovert streak) pretty consistent introverts. They need their alone time and their quiet time. (As soon as I wrote that, William came up and asked me to sit and watch a Spongebob episode.) My kids are very much creatures of balance and I respect that.
But what stands out even more, I can’t be a good mother if I am present to my children at every moment of the day and night. It’s because somewhere in that time, I cease to be Kristen and I’m not even really Jeff’s wife, I’m just Shelby, Joey and Will’s mom. And while God did create me to be Shelby, Joey and Will’s mom, He also made me Jeff’s wife before that and long before that I was just Kristen. I cannot be just one of those things because it is the most recent addition. I must be honest and acknowledge all parts. I am a better mother when Jeff is getting from me the support and things he needs. I am a better mother when I take a minute and do what I need to do for myself, whether it’s working out, praying a rosary in solitude or blogging.
All that being said, I do make a concerted effort to be present in my children’s lives. I don’t worry about being “more present” because I’ve found in general they find it annoying and it can interfere with other things that I need to do and be in my life. So being present when we all can stand it is the MO around here. And it works…for us.