Admittedly, I haven’t always been super realistic with my New Year’s resolutions. I’d make these lofty promises like “wine only on weekends” or “cut out gluten.” This year, however, I’m choosing to be more realistic. I mean, why set myself up for failure?
My 2018 resolution is to be be more present…particularly with my daughter.
A few months ago, I went to a mama event titled “The Honesty Hour” at WMN’s Space in Los Angeles. There was about 20 of us there, and we participated in an “intention setting” ceremony (it sounds crunchy, and it was, but it was also pretty therapeutic). When asked to share our intentions, one mama said she wants to be “more present” with her child.
“I can’t remember the last time I played with my kid for more than 20 minutes,” she said, through a stream of tears. “I mean, really played with him.” She confessed that she couldn’t even recall the last time she sat down on the floor with her son, and engaged with him in a meaningful way (whether it was building blocks or playing dress-up) without the help of a cellphone, an iPad or a television.
It obviously wasn’t an easy confession for her to make. It was brutally honest and it was brave to do in front of a bunch of strangers, because as a fulltime working mom time wasn’t always easily found. And that’s something I think so many of us can relate to, whether you’re a working mom or a SAHM. If I’m being brutally honest with myself, when’s the last time I engaged with Tallulah for more than 20 minutes without getting up to check my phone or load the dishwasher or open an Amazon box?
To be fair, I’m with my daughter every single day. Since she’s been born, I’ve spent less than 15 nights away from her (which I don’t say in a boastful way; it’s more of a “Sweet Jesus, I need an adult vacation” kind of way). I work from home, with the support of a wonderful caregiver, and have the luxury of dropping in on Lu’s park time or impromptu lunch dates or calling it early to take her to tumbling class. But I started to ask myself, how often do I spend actual quality time with her?
I began checking off boxes in my head to assure myself that I’m as hands on as I can be…but even that felt icky. Like, who was I proving it too? If I felt like there was a chance I wasn’t doing as much as I could, wasn’t it my job to remedy it?
My daughter is cool AF (which is a 2016-ism that I vow to bring back in 2018). She’s smart, silly and super funny. Not only do I love her, obviously, because she came out my body, but I actually really like her too. I want to spend time with her. And I’m becoming increasingly aware of just how quickly time flies, but the days often come and go in such a blur of commotion that they’re often over before I can get my feet underneath me.Before I know it, she’ll be clawing out of her skin to get away from me, so I want take advantage of these years while I have them. But being knocked up hasn’t much helped the situation…
This pregnancy has been pretty challenging, and I spent the weeks between Halloween and Christmas on either moderate or total bed rest. I couldn’t walk to the park or lift Lu into her car seat; I wasn’t even allowed to stand in my kitchen long enough to make a meal. Needless to say, I wasn’t really spending a ton of quality time with the people in my life—and also why most of my insta-stories showed me sitting in bed.
Now that my pregnancy has gotten to a stable place, I’m wanting to make an extra effort with Lu…especially since we’re just a few months away from the wheels coming off this shitshow train. That being said, I’m also trying to be realistic. Quality time doesn’t mean my handcrafting Montessori-inspired art activities, but rather my spending time talking to Tallulah and doing things with her that she likes to do. I recently read some study (because I’m a giant loser who reads studies), and it said that a family who spends 25 uninterrupted minutes together each day will produce more successful, well-rounded, healthier children. And since she’s my offspring, I need to give her a fighting chance at some kind of normalcy.
Before my pregnancy, my husband and I started incorporating a mandatory, tech free family dinner during the week. We’d eat, talk about our day (our roses and thorns) and then we’d clear the table and all do a puzzle. (I’m not gonna lie, I sort of love how “together” this makes us sound, but for the record, we’re not). It became something we all looked forward to, and gave us a way to reconnect before the day was over. Obviously the bed rest tossed a wrench in those plans, but it’s something I intend to start again in the New Year.
Our nightly dinners and puzzle time was totally manageable, and made us all feel a little bit better about our day. I’ll probably start to enjoy them even more once I can drink wine again.
Even if dinner gets cancelled one night, or life gets in the way—as it often does—I think carving out 25 uninterrupted minutes a day, anyway I can, to spend with my daughter is an awesome way to start the New Year.
I’d love to hear your resolutions!!! Share in comments or on IG! Happy New Year, Mamas and Friends! xoxo