Do you ever hear about all the connection and attention your child needs... and think "It's all too hard! I can't give any more!! I don't have the time!!!"? Yep, I admit, I do.
And have you ever read those statistics in the newspaper that talk about how much money you would save over a year if you gave up your cup of store bought coffee each day? How rich you would be at the end of the year?
I had an experience recently where I 'gave up' checking my emails on my phone multiple times a day.....and put the time I saved into connecting with my children. Whenever I had a minute to myself, instead of reaching for my phone, I sat down next to my children playing, or I offered a cuddle, or a story, or ran around the house playing chasies. And what a difference this made - to myself as well as my children!
Children thrive on our offerings of connection, even if these moments feel small and perhaps insignificant to us. Here's a great article by Maggie Dent on how even tiny moments of connection matter.
Turning off the email alert on my phone also helped me realise that I was reaching for it when my own uncomfortable feelings were bubbling up... feelings like, 'I just need a break' or 'I'm overwhelmed right now, I'll just tune out by checking my phone'. By the way, I uninstalled facebook from my phone over a year ago for these reasons, but kept my email alert on, justifying that I needed to be available for my work.....But of course, checking my emails never really did give me a break, as it often filled my head with more things I felt I had to do, and I would end up feeling more overwhelmed and disconnected!
So, with the help of some listening time, I realised I can still be available to my work by checking my emails once a day, after bedtime, or when my children are with someone else. This might seem obvious now, but as parents, we are often full of feelings that can overwhelm us, and we unconsciously do things that prevent us from being present - or prevent us from feeling things fully, often because it's uncomfortable or painful.
I also realised I got the break, and the connection I was searching for, by being present with my children. Being mindful about giving connection to my children allowed me to relax and tune into how I was feeling in that moment too.
In our fast paced lives, I think we can all benefit from slowing down, and opening our minds and hearts to the present moment. My inspiration recently has come from poem by Leunig that I have up in my kitchen:
“God help us to live slowly: To move simply: To look softly: To allow emptiness: To let the heart create for us. Amen.” ― Michael Leunig
I am wondering if there is something in your life that you can 'give up' and replace with connection? I think it will only feel like 'giving up' something up initially, then you will find it feels like you are 'receiving more' for yourself, and your family, by choosing awareness and presence instead of distraction. Remember the brain science - and how accurately our children can 'read us'. They know if we are present or not! They are inviting us to be more of our honest and authentic self every day! What an opportunity.
Here's to slowing down, and being 'here'. Warmly, Lyra