For me, one of the hardest aspects of parenting is “being present.” I’m great at being physically present, but I struggle to settle my impulse to constantly multitask, even when I don’t have to. The upside is that meal planning and cooking happens, laundry gets done, social events get calendared, speech therapy clients get scheduled, and life generally runs smoothly. The downside is that my impulse to plan, coordinate, and anticipate can prevent me from truly connecting with loved ones, being playful, and feeling light. All too often, parenting turns into all of the work and none of the fun.
While the the birth of my second child, Little C, doubled the love, cuddles, and laughter in our house, I found myself taxed with more to do, and connecting less authentically with Little G, our then three-year-old daughter. It was a big loss. A wise friend suggested that if I reflected on what aspects of parenting I like most, and attempted to do more of those activities with Little G, more engagement and connection would follow. When I realized I was most energized by walks to our neighborhood library, reading a great book, playing on beach, and exploring museums, I decided to seek out more of these activities with my family.
I view this blog as an exercise in creativity and parent education. I hope it will be a fun way to journal how I’m continuing to work to build moments of genuine connections with my Littles, particularly in the ways that I’m most engaged as a parent, while also drawing upon my background as a pediatric speech-language pathologist.
In future postings, I’ll be attempting to pair a recommended child’s book with a related family experience. As a primer, I’d recommend What Does it Mean to Be Present? by Rana DiOrio. While the concept is still a bit advanced for five-year-old Little G, I find it’s a helpful reminder of my own intentions.