Wednesday, August 07, 2013


Welcome to the Peaceful Parenting Challenge Blog Carnival: Week #4 – Practicing Presence
This post was written for inclusion in the 10 Week Peaceful Parenting Challenge Blog Carnival hosted by Prenatal to Parenting. This week our participants have written about Practicing Presence.. We hope you enjoy this week’s posts and consider joining us next week when we share about a week of Developing Positive Self-Talk. 

Exercise: The next time you are busy doing something that can be done later (ie; not in the midst of making dinner, but maybe while doing dishes) and your child or partner comes to you to talk. Stop what you are doing, put down anything that is in your hands, turn to them and listen. Truly focus all your attention on listening. Listen to the mediation mp3 each day. Journal your experiences practicing presence; how did it feel? What did your child/partner say/do when you gave them your full attention? What have you learned from this week’s exercise

My first journal entry went like this:

Practicing Presence:
Seriously?  This is what I have to do?  It’s ironic that the skills I learned in CPE are what I am being asked to apply to family life.  I agree that active listening and being present are important to connect but when I did it at work, it was work.  It is always work, but something about family makes me think that I shouldn’t have to work so hard.  Even though I know in my head that this is necessary all the time, and that if you are doing it well than it will be second nature and naturally flow from you….

Still… I suppose it is the difference in the intensity of the interaction from the home v. work setting that makes it different.

 Now that the week is done, it has been a good exercise/experience as I have spent a lot of time to make sure that I am present or fully engaged.... no, that's not right.  I was distracted by the "To Do" list, computer, and my anniversary.  I think what this week was about was mindfulness, or being in the moment.  When I was engaged in the moment, I tried to stay there and not worry about the "to do" list, etc.  I think that it is frustrating as a parent to realize that I am not as engaged as I could be with my children because of the whining, crying and general lack of communication ability with my children.  My twins understand what we are saying and certain things are greeted with more enthusiasm than others; going outside, getting in the bath (so much so that the kid is trying to climb in while fully clothed!).  But there are other things that have been frustrating; not taking a nap today (I still have no idea why my son, the good sleeper, refused today!), not wanting to eat dinner, and general lack of me knowing what the kid is trying to tell me in their limited vocabulary/communication ability.  

I have heard from other MoMs (moms of multiples) and parents that after kids (especially multiples, that the communication or connection with the spouse decreases.  Marriage relationships, like any, need to be worked on.  While our friends come and go, or we don't have to see them regularly, we do depend on or tend to see our spouses (and family members) more frequently.  The fact that this was our 7 year anniversary -- oo the 7 year itch -- is a milestone that blows my mind.  It's like the wedding was yesterday, but also like I have been with my husband forever and can't remember life before that.  We have had to work on listening well to each other; I get annoyed when he reads at the table while we have a meal together, he gets annoyed when I assume that he can read my mind.  So I say that the week was more about learning to be in the moment as we went to a day spa for a couples' massage and, new for us, a soak in a Japanese bath.  It was nice to be together, connected and not talking about the kids or the usual family stuff, but getting back to the "interesting stuff" that we used to talk about on dates before we were married, before we had kids.  (Hubby knows weird stuff from Reddit and similar odd news sites, or TV.)  It was nice to be in the moment and feel the moment -- I actually fell asleep during the massage, which is hard for me as I don't usually sit still that long to relax that much.

I think that part of what was hard for me to do this week's exercise right was the distractions of the week; anniversary outing, to do lists that weren't getting done -- my focus wandered.  Also this "listening" exercise reiterates to me that I am not a good listener.  There is listening.. and then there is actually what the person is saying (perhaps that should be written the other way around, there is hearing and then there is actually listening to the content.) I know in my head that I should do this... focus on the person, but I am not good at this. I'm an extrovert, and my mind is going to various things; rebelling if you will.  I'm sure there are more excuses if I go on....

For the times that I was able to engage my children and "listen", I heard that they want to spend time with me, that they like to play with me, that they get frustrated when I leave the room and don't tell them where I am going, that they are scared of the dark, that they love to dance the waltz with Mommy and the list goes on. Just like I need to pay attention to what hubby is saying instead of jumping to conclusions and assuming that I know what he is saying before he says it.  Man, I need a kick in the pants sometimes to remember to do this listening stuff. Thanks for the reminder.

Please take time to read the submissions by the other carnival participants:
Sweet Sleepy Time– Sarah from Prenatal to Parenting realizes that by focusing on all the things that she 'could' be doing she was missing out on what she 'was' doing.
Week 5 Practicing Presence – Jennifer from Children’s Directory finds it’s easier to practice presence when there is no Wi-Fi available.
Being Present – Peaceful Parenting Challenge – Week 5  - Katrina from Kalem Photography learns to listen not only with her ears but also with her heart.
Practicing Presence – Ricky from Daddy Blogger has a wonderful time waiting for the ferry.
Week 5 - Remain present – Amanda from Sticky Hands has got this presence thing nailed.
KICK THE PANTS! - WEEK 5-- LISTEN UP WILL YOU? - Kathryn from Curiosity and the Kat finds it ironic that she’s learned all this before.
Being present can bring great gifts– Lolly from My Journey Home feels she still has some work to do.
Doing One Thing At A Time – Amber from is looking for tips on how to stop multi-tasking.

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