Tuesday, November 12, 2013

Be Here Now

One of the biggest struggles with the life today is that we are constantly busy and constantly multitasking. I maintain that we all have a basic form of ADD in the sense that it is nearly impossible for any of us to sit and do one thing at a time. For example, I have to force myself to focus on watching the TV show I set out to watch instead of half watching TV, half checking Facebook and half doing something else.

Unfortunately this multitasking carries over to parenting. There are never enough hours in the day so I have found myself inclined to try to do multiple things at once, inevitably including divide my attention with Vander.

Back in college, I heard a speaker who talked about the concept of "Be Here Now."  The concept is that whatever you are doing, do just that. He applied it to work, to school, to time with your significant other, time with your children and time to yourself. While multitasking sounds great, and sometimes can work well (I mean, let's be honest, I hardly know how to not multitask), it can not only be inefficient but it can be detrimental to your relationships and the quality of your work and life.

Tonight I went to a parenting seminar called "No Regrets Parenting." It was super interesting and gave me some great insights, tools and ideas to use in the years to come. It also brought up this same concept of being in the moment.

When it comes to parenting, it is so important to just pay attention to your kids. Beyond just the safety factor, you need to interact and listen to your children.

In today's world the biggest time-suck and life-suck is our phones. I am definitely guilty of checking my phone while doing something else. I have done it while hanging out with Vander, while feeding him, while snuggling with him and while playing with him. When I reach for my phone, it is purely out of habit, not boredom from interacting with my child.

When I was home on maternity leave, Vander was significantly less interactive, and while that doesn't mean I shouldn't have been cherishing every second, it meant that I spent a lot of time with a baby nursing or sleeping on me, which meant of lot of time sitting in just one place. So I would check out my phone.

Since going back to work, my time with Vander has shrunk to a depressing 34 hours a week (excluding his nap times on the weekends, which amounts to about another 6 hours total). I definitely spend less time with my phone now. On the 2-3 hours I spend with Vander when he first gets up Saturdays and Sundays while Dylan is still asleep, my absolutely favorite times of the whole week, I rarely even unplug my phone. Even if I think I want to take pictures, I make the effort to just enjoy the moments with Vander.

Since I don't get to feed him nearly as often now, I take the time to relax and snuggle when I do feed him in the evenings and on the weekends. My phone often remains on silent or at least in my purse until after he goes to bed in the evenings. I love feeling more connected to Vander by being less connected to my phone.

Don't get me wrong, I definitely still multitask with Vander around. I will walk around the house with him while I chat with my sister on the phone. We will putter around together while I clean up the house on the weekends. But no one is perfect and at least we are still together.

I am also working to apply the Be Here Now concept to my work, so that I am maximizing my productivity while I am at work so that I am less likely to need to log back on in the evenings.

When Dylan and I have time just the two of us, we both make an effort to talk about things other than Vander and we focus on the moments we have together. When we are on dates or driving places we have discussed the need to keep making the effort to set down our phones and enjoy each others company instead.

While it is definitely easier said than done, I love the concept of Be Here Now. It is such a simple phrase to keep in the back of your mind and it can be applied to all aspects of life.

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