It’s bedtime for my Lily, we rush through her bath, make her brush her hair and teeth while having a countdown – “it’s a game”, I say, “let’s see how fast we can brush our teeth and hair and get our night clothes on, ready… set… go!”
This is not a game. Maybe it’s a game for my 6 year old, but for me it’s a multi-tasking tactic. My mind has already moved on to the laundry and the dishes and the prepping for the next day that need to happen after my child goes to bed.
It continues. After she gets ready for bed in record time, I say, “Hey, since we watched TV tonight you don’t get a book.” She protests and I compromise, “maybe one song really quick, and I’ll sing it while tidying up your room,” (in the glow of the nightlite).
Half-way through my rushed version of ‘Oh Danny Boy,’ I stop and look at my sweet Lily-Pie She is hanging onto every musical note as her eyes follow me around the room; in her gaze is yearning for me to just HOLD HER!! Parenting FAIL!
I stop what I am doing, hold her in my arms and lay down with her and sing a guilt-laced version of “Oh Danny Boy” and she slowly drifts to sleep. The moment takes over my mind and I too fall asleep. Before I know it, it’s 10pm and I just lost 2 hours.
Now my plans for preparing for the next day have been foiled, but I did get to snuggle with my daughter who loved that moment more than having clean laundry or a shiny sink.
When I reflect upon this I am mortified! When did TV replace books, when did the wind-down rituals of going to bed get replaced by a race against the clock?
My friend Marika told me about the practice of MINDFULNESS – being in the present moment. Kids seem to be experts at being in the moment. I watch Lily play and she is absolutely invested in being the evil queen who is chasing down the princess in the tower or whatever role play she has herself involved in. She is not thinking for one second about what will happen in 1 hour, or what she needs to do this week or even if she’s hungry or has to go potty. She is in the present moment truly enjoying every single second of that moment. It’s hers and it’s for her!
So this week as I sip my coffee in the morning, kiss my family, pet my dog, talk to a friend, or read my child a book, I challenge myself to be more MINDFUL- being in the moment, enjoying the moment and engaging in the moment!
** This post was my discussion for my parenting column on AOL- PATCH**