“Mom! Can you come watch me ride my bike?”
Normally, I would respond with, “just a minute”! However, today I’m focusing on being present. I’m doing my very best to live in the moment, to be an attentive mom and wife, so I put the laptop down. I go outside and watch my daughter not only ride her bike, but for the first time with no training wheels and without any help.
This really happened last week. Just as I got out the door, my 6-year-old daughter took off on her bike and rode down the hill, without crashing, using her brakes properly. I’ve never seen her smile with such pride! It was one of the best 10 seconds I’ve had in a LONG time.
I’ll admit that I use the “just a minute” line way too often with my kids. If I’m in the middle of blogging, making a meal, doing other work, or talking on the phone this is my go-to phrase for giving myself at least an extra 5 minutes to finish doing my “important” task. In fact, we have joked that our youngest daughter has told people “1 minute” since she was about 2 years old. I’m ashamed of that and it’s one of my parenting habits that I’m really trying to change.
It is not always easy to live life with intention. Life is messy. We are pulled in many directions and sometimes it’s really hard to focus on anything. I’m sure I’m not the only woman who’s ever burnt garlic bread because I forgot it in the oven when I was distracted by something else going on! Have you ever been driving somewhere and when you arrive you barely remember even driving?
The sad part of living in a society with smart phones, busy schedules, and overworked parents is that many times we miss out on what’s happening right in front of us. This can happen with parenting, marriage, family relationships and friendships. Moments pass in an instant and the question is this- are we embracing life and doing our best to be present and live in the moment, or are we being bystanders letting it slip by?
I realize that there are times when work has to come before spending time doing what we want to do but in many times, that work can happen at a different time. I don’t want to look back at this season of my life and not remember what was going on in my children’s lives, or wonder why my marriage didn’t work when I didn’t make time for my husband, or missed out on spending time with my mother because I had other not-so-important things to do.
When we live in the moment we make ourselves available to those who are most important to us. This is an intentional way to live your life. No one will ever be perfect at doing this but here are a few tips to help:
- Turn off your phone (or at least turn it to silent). Every time we are checking our phone in the presence of someone else, we are telling them that whatever is on that phone is more important that the person standing right in front of us.
- Have family time or a family game night on a regular basis. For those of you who are single- have a friends night out. Maybe it’s Tuesday nights from 5:30-8:00. Guard this time. Other ideas you could try are: family potlucks on Sunday evenings, weekend brunch with a grandparent, or meeting a good friend for lunch every other Friday.
- Do not allow phones at the table and do not answer phone calls during family meals. Period. This is important time. If it’s important the person will leave a message, send you a text, or repeatedly call back. Your time is valuable. Your family is valuable.
- When someone important is talking to you, put down whatever you are doing, look them in the eye and pay attention to what they are saying.
- Kiss your kids and tell them goodbye when you are dropping them off.
- Have conversations in the car. Don’t turn on a DVD, don’t talk on the phone, don’t browse Facebook, don’t crank up the tunes. You might learn something important about the person sitting next to you.
These are just a few suggestions. How do you live in the moment?
Have you enjoyed what you read here today? Do you have friends or other women you know that could benefit from this resource? If so, please do me a favor! I have included the links below to share with other intentional women! They’ll be glad you did!