Bringing Mom Into the Moment, or: How I Learned to Stop Worrying and Enjoy the Present
Yesterday I woke up feeling anxious. It was my girls’ last day of Spring break. We had plans to take my car to the dealer for a routine oil change and then spend time with my dad at some point during the day for our weekly Grandpa Day play date. But a cloud of deadlines and upcoming meetings loomed over me. I didn’t know how I could possibly get everything done.
The mechanic at the car dealership informed me that in addition to an oil change, I needed four new tires, a 30,000-mile maintenance service, and a few other repairs. With two girls and two booster seats in hand, I headed over to the car rental office. About an hour later, we were at Target killing time before meeting up with my dad at noon.
Going to Target and shopping by myself can sometimes be a relaxing experience, but Dalia whined that she was hungry and then complained some more when I wouldn't buy her a new leotard. I didn't yell or lose my cool, but I definitely felt uptight and snappy.
When I realized this, I apologized to the girls and explained that I was stressed out by the amount of work I had to do and by the unexpected car-related issues and expenses. They seemed understanding, but I felt ashamed for trying to justify my irritability to a nine- and five-year-old.
When we got to my dad’s house, I excused myself to call my coach (coaches have coaches, too) at our scheduled appointment time. I told her all about my anxiety and right off the bat, she helped me prioritize. She reminded me that worrying about the details of my upcoming meetings was pointless, as I was prepared for them and had little control over anyone else’s actions.
She then asked me what I needed to meet my work deadlines. I said, “I need my girls to be back in school so I can focus for 3-4 hours of uninterrupted time.” Since that wasn’t going to happen until the next day, my coach helped me realize my best course of action — being fully present with my daughters on their last day of Spring break.
When I grasped this, I instantly released the tension in my body. It felt like I was letting the air out of a giant balloon. Some mantras that I use and have referred to on the blog started coming back to me:
What you resist persists.
Be here now.
Accept this moment as it is and not as you want it to be.
I had been so focused on what I “should” be doing (work) that I neglected my reality (being with my kids). I had to stop fighting against myself and start living in the present moment.
We spent the rest of the visit playing and enjoying each other’s company. And now that the girls are back in school, I can focus on meeting those deadlines.
Your challenge for this week is to consciously live in the present moment. Whenever you catch yourself worrying about the future or fretting over the past, acknowledge it, and then gently bring your focus into the present by simply becoming aware of your breathing. When you practice this often, you'll feel so much calmer and your kids will pick up on your energy, too.
Next week, I’ll explain how to apply the principle of accepting the present moment to put an end to power struggles in your family. Stay tuned…
If you’re ready for a change and want to feel calmer and more confident as a parent, I can help. Schedule a FREE 20-minute consultation with me over the phone right here to learn more about my private coaching services.