Let's Try Living in the Moment

by | Oct 17, 2008 | Parenting | 5 comments

Yesterday I was feeling guilty that I’m not doing things like making spider webs with the kids, or fun tree art, or even educational word rings. And suddenly it hit me, why the hell am I not doing these things? Of course I want to be a mom who does fun crafts with her kids. What happened? Well, part of it is that, when you have three kids, the time allotted for non-kid tasks, or even house maintenance tasks, shrinks dramatically. So I am either reading them books or rushing around vacuuming or cooking or calling roofers. The end result, though, is that I am focusing on exactly nothing and living life as a multitasker (and me, someone who hates multitasking).

So suddenly yesterday afternoon I decided to stop. If I’m going to have Eli home with me, I should at least be teaching him more than how to call contractors or how to watch mom do schoolwork on the computer. I need to remember to Be Here Now. (I’m also hoping the byproduct of this will be better sleep. Maybe they’re not sleeping well because they don’t get good time with us during the day, so they try to get parental time during the night?) Eli and I gathered leaves. Henry, Eli, Miranda and I made cookies (Miranda is Henry’s best friend, not a random extra kid I added) (well, she actually is an extra kid I love to add all the time because she keeps Henry happy, but she’s not my own kid). Henry and I did rubbings with the gathered leaves. And you know what? I got more done. I folded a ton of laundry, made dinner, and picked up more than I usually can.

I’m embarrassed it took me so long to get back to this. I think with three (or even two) kids, you can spend a lot of time running around doing nothing in particular. I’ve heard a million times: “Who cares if your house is a mess? Pay attention to your kids.” The fact is that I care if my house is a mess, and a chaotic house tends to lead to chaotic child behavior. But yesterday’s experiment might mean that if I include the kids, really talk to them, and focus on whatever I’m doing, things will get done. Stay tuned. It’s possible this plan will send me right out of my gourd, but it’s so crazy, it just might work.


  1. Clog

    I remember years ago a friend (who has 4 kids) telling me a story. Her son asked if she would throw a ball with him and she said “No, I have to mop the floor”. That answer haunts her to this day, but she learned from it.

  2. sutswana

    Maybe it’s the current planetary alignment, but I had a similar epiphany last night. Both girls had come unglued. I was banging things around in the kitchen getting dinner ready, cursing under my breath, wishing they’d mellow out and give me some peace, meanwhile calculating in my head whether I could sneak in a load of laundry between preparing and serving dinner. Iris came to the kitchen wailing and my first reaction was to yell and pull my hair out. But I somehow was moved to drop everything (literally; at least it was only a spatula), turn off the burners, pick her up, and go to the living room where I sat with both kids for a while and gave them the time of day. Dinner was maybe fifteen minutes later than it would have been, but the kids COMPLETELY turned around after that, and the rest of the night was calm and content.
    (So the MasterCard ad reads: dinner on time: $10; laundry done: $12; independent kids: $999; family peace and love and taking time out: priceless.)

  3. Sarah

    Julie – remember “leaf stained glass” when you were a kid – arrange a bunch of colorful leaves between wax paper, iron it, and tape it up on the window so the sun comes through. Jaya loves this. Don’t forget to put a kitchen towel between wax paper and leaves 🙂

  4. Beth

    Someone once said to me, “You can have it all, you just can’t have it all at the same time.” (it was during a time in my life when I was trying to do/be everything perfectly–mom, wife, career woman, writer, etc. etc. Yes, I was making myself crazy.) Well, the truth is, I still make myself crazy sometimes, but when I think of that quote I just kind of exhale and get down on the floor with my son. Or dig worms, or play hooky, or go write, or whatever. Living in the moment–that’s the hardest thing, isn’t it? (Especially when you’re vacuuming or cleaning poop off your child’s foot, which is what I just did before I sat down to read your blog. Don’t ask.)

  5. admin

    Today it has definitely been a struggle to put this into practice, since I have a school thing I had to get done today, and Eli was very needy and also doing things like “giving Zuzu a ride” and throwing Legos at her face. But I kept at it and motored through, and we kind of broke through to the other side and then he played happily outside and let me do my school thing.

    And I have totally been wanting to do that leaf-in-wax-paper thing, but I don’t have any wax paper. Need to get some.

    Beth, was it human poop or animal poop? (I know you said not to ask, but I felt the need to ask anyway.)


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