I caught myself in a “mother moment” today, and I am not proud of it.
My 13 year old daughter came to me and commented that she was in a crisis. She needed to sell 10 more raffle tickets by tomorrow, or pay the penalty fee to the soccer club. You can imagine how overjoyed I was at this news. First of all, I dread fundraising projects. When you have kids in the household, they are endless. It honestly feels like why should we even bother putting cash in our wallets until they are 18? A vacuum hose tied to “project of the month” would be far more efficient. However, faced with the reality of not wanting to pay the penalty, options ran through my brain.
Today was one of those coveted fall days. Sun shining, crisp air, vibrant colors and a Sunday afternoon, as well. In considering the easiest solution, a walk through the neighborhood seemed to be the smartest choice. As we are living in 2016 and not 1985, that meant I had to go along.
I set up the scene for you intentionally. A beautiful day, a daughter who wants to spend time with me, and a walk. I should have been eager, but, I wasn’t. Her crisis had taken me away from a menial task and inside, I was resenting it. (It’s like we were at Disneyland and I wished I would have stayed in the room to watch Netflix, instead of enjoying the experience.) Our walk began and my daughter was engaging. We met neighbors, we met dogs, we threw sticks, we sold tickets, but, my heart wasn’t in it. Much of her chatter I did not even hear as my own thoughts were drowning her out.
After the return home, I connected to my social world on Facebook and was about to post the selfie we took on the walk and I caught myself. I see a picture of smiles, but, I feel guilty for not valuing the time we shared. The selfie is posted below. I even added the “Love Laugh Love” caption, but again, I failed to act up to those words.
What effected me the most was I started to think about all the times I was not “present in the moment” with my daughter. How many other car rides, grocery store shopping trips and dinners was I too engaged on something else to pay proper attention to her? Time flies so quickly and something about today made me stop, reflect, and vow to change. I only have a few more years with her and I need those years to count. Being respectful and mindful of our time together deserves my effort.
Reader’s Digest has a great article on 10 Steps to Mindfullness. which I will paraphrase:
1. Do one thing at a time (ouch!)
2. Do things with intention.
3. Reduce your “Do” list.
4. Space out your activities.
5. Reward yourself with 5 minutes of nothing.
6. Focus on now and reduce anxiety on future.
7. Be “present” when you are talking to someone. (double ouch!)
8. Eat slowly and savor your food.
9. Live slowly and savor your life.
10. Find meditative time in daily tasks.
These suggestions go far beyond my role as a mother, but apply to all roles that I live: a women, mother, business owner, friend, and a wife. I know I have many roles which all eagerly desire my attention and I expect you experience the same. I know the pressures we all have to accomplish so much each day. Pressures that can make our next 5 minutes more important then the current 5 minutes.
The key for me, and where I am challenging myself, is in being mindful and “present” in each task; especially with my daughter.
The more we focus on what is ahead of us; the more we miss what is directly in front of us. Don’t make tomorrow grand by ignoring today. Pearl Galbraith
As I reflect on the day, I see how I was distracted, not mindful, and I let an afternoon slip away where I had a chance to make great mother daughter memories, instead of settling for average ones. That’s my “mother moment” that I aim to not repeat.