I was sitting on the couch with Owen draped across the nursing pillow on my lap, breast feeding him. While he was eating, I was on my phone checking Facebook and texting with a friend. While I was in the middle of typing something to her, Owen's pudgy little baby foot shot up and kicked my phone. I looked down at him and he was smiling (which is hard to do when you're latched on, but oh my goodness is it adorable). I said, "Owen, don't kick Mommy's phone, silly" and picked my phone back up. I began typing my text again when Owen kicked my phone for the second time. I'm a quick learner, so I had a firmer grip on my phone this time and I was able to keep it in my hand. I kept typing and Owen kept pushing my arm with his foot. I ended up holding my arm up and straight out so he couldn't reach it in order to finish my text. That, my friends, is when my three year old son came into the room. He got an eye full of Owen nursing with his leg up in the air, toes wiggling, trying to reach my phone and me with my arm up in the air muttering "phone, please don't fall on my face, please don't fall on my face...".
"Mommy? Uhm...what are you doing?" Liam asked. "Well," I said, "Mommy was trying to tell her friend something." Liam walked over to the couch and looked at his brother, "Owen is playing with you." And that, right there, was when I had my moment of clarity. My three year old felt like he had to point out the fact that his brother was playing with me; trying to get my attention. Liam had this look on his face like "here we go, we get to state the obvious for Mommy...again...". I looked down and Owen was still looking at me, but until that moment I was too wrapped up in my own world to look, and I mean really look, at him.
Cue the guilt trip and water works, please.
Therefore, I've decided to make a big effort to be as mentally/emotionally present in my children's lives as I am physically present. It's not like I started out as a parent with the goal to be as distracted as possible. I adore my children. However, when you spend all day every day with them it can become very difficult to be in the moment all the time. Some times you just need a break. So, I'm going to try to stay up during their nap time when I can be as distracted as I want to be. I can drink coffee, read, watch t.v., or write all without feeling guilty for having too much screen time away from my kids.
So, mommy readers: how do you deal with distraction and being a "present" parent?