Sometimes I find it challenging to be present. I get caught in the juggle… homemaking, working, mindful parenting, and a strong commitment to take care of myself… I take care of what needs to be done (the Nittya Karmas) – food making, house cleaning, bedtime routines, morning madness, food shopping, and food making again… Not to mention the career stuff – Slow burn on the outside, big passionate fire on the inside. And then there’s the yoga, chanting, meditating, and reading something inspirational and educational daily, even if I only get to it at midnight.
I hear myself saying: “One second. I’m sorry, my love, I can’t play with you right now. Mama’s making dinner right now… Mama’s washing dishes right now… Mama just has to do something on the computer real quick…” a LOT! And I know that it’s OK. I give my daughter attention. She’s not neglected. I’m here for her.
But I’m not as present as I want to be. Even though I’m a three-quarter stay at home mom.
Some days just feel like a race to bedtime.
And I know that her littleness and this precious time that I have with her is flying by.
I want to be more present.
As a mom in this generation of aware, mindful, purposeful parents, I feel both blessed and pressured. I feel lucky to have so many books and blogs and mama-groups to turn to. I feel inspired by being a part of a community that is interested in creating a healthy, empowered, and grounded next-gen. I am so happy to have such a loving relationship and a clear stream of communication with my child. I feel proud of making conscious choices.
And I also struggle with feeling like I’m not good enough. I question myself a lot (which I don’t think is necessarily a bad thing). Am I doing enough? Am I doing too much? Do I disappoint her too much when I can’t play? Am I scarring her for life? Or am I turning her into a spoiled brat? I wonder if she feels how much I love her through my actions, and not just because I say it 108,000 times a day. Is my love too much to handle? When I lose my patience I have a hard time forgiving myself. I expect myself to stay calm and conscious at all times. And I fear her teenage years, and her adulthood… Will she still love me? Will she be full of complaint and criticism? It is inevitable that she will have issues caused by the way we parent her… How am I fucking her up?
Most of all I feel like time is slipping between my fingers like water.
I remember the time after she was born as the deepest meditation experience I have ever had. I was so present with her. I would watch her and feel an immediate connection to the infinite. I breastfed all day and felt like I was the embodiment of Mother Nature herself. I felt the most goddess I have ever felt. I played mantra albums from morning till evening. I danced around the house with her in my arms. It was magical.
She’s three now. Almost three and half. And she doesn’t always want to listen to mantras and dance around the house with me. She has her own preferences. As she should. She calls for my constant engagement and my most earthly attention.
And so our daily routines feel less meditative. Obviously. That’s life.
A few weeks ago, I was rushing, trying get things done. The house was a mess, I had infinite unopened emails, and a really big project to finish. I was trying to work through the mountain of things to do. And she kept trying to get me to do stuff with her. Which of course was what I wanted to do more than anything.
And then she said to me: “To all the good things you say no.”
“What?” I asked, hoping that maybe she doesn’t mean what I think she means.
She looked at me and her magnetic depth pulled me in. She seemed very clear. And a little sad.
“Are you sad?” I asked.
And then she whispered in the most soft and genuine voice: “Because I really want to play with you.”
I dropped everything and sat down on the floor and hugged her. I apologized. And I thanked her for expressing herself. And then we played.
It was profound.
I cried a lot that night. And the next day. And the next.
I need to be more present with her.
I think my practices and my commitment to breath and mindfulness are life saving. Seriously. There are days when I feel like it saves me. I put my mat down. I move my body. I breathe. Or I sit down to chant. Or just to be quiet for a moment. I feel the currents of emotions and thoughts. I allow my experience to unfold. I process my life. I connect to myself so that I can continue to be giving and loving.
But the sacred presence of practice doesn’t always carry into other activities. And my practice time is so limited these days.
AND sometimes I feel like my longing for practice, for me time, for spaciousness, for sacredness, for feeling the high of meditation is actually taking me away from being present with her.
One of the most meaningful things I learned when I first started practicing yoga, was to find the sacred in the mundane. And if I look at my life, there really isn’t anything more deep and holy than my mama role, and my relationship with my child.
Just like being fully present in meditation, being absolutely present with your child is not easy. There’s always something else to do, something else to run and take care of quickly, something else to think about.
I have decided to make my quality time with my munchkin into a sacred space. I want to make sure to set aside time every day, even if limited, in which I dedicate myself to her completely. I want to make an effort to not get up to put the laundry in the dryer, or make another cup of coffee, or check emails or Facebook. When I notice myself thinking about other things, just like in meditation, I will take a breath and bring awareness to my body, and direct my attention back to her, as if she was a mantra.
When I look at her and give her my undivided attention, I can almost see her growing right before my eyes. And I know that in a blink of an eye she will be so big and not want to spend so much time with me. So I slow my breath down and I cherish the moment.
And even though it is the most important thing in my universe, it’s still not easy to be present. But it’s worth it.