When you're juggling ALL THE THINGS, it can be difficult to truly be present in the moment as a mom. And as high-achieving women, I know that this can be very frustrating because while you may have the INTENTION to be present with your family, there's always variables at play that are disrupting or distracting you.
But if we can understand the main challenges that are the underlying issues to lack of presence, we can work to overcome them by being more aware and intentional.
Challenge #1: There are too many MENTAL distractions.
As busy, ambitious women, we have a bazillion things going on and are constantly creating to-do lists in our mind, making mental notes, and wondering when/if we will get A, B, and C done. It's a constant rat race going in our heads, whether we're consciously aware of it or not. Fortunately, we are always two steps ahead of everyone else, but UNfortunately, this means we are always looking into the future which is obviously counterintuitive to being in the present moment.
The most helpful thing you can do for yourself in order to get your mind clear of the clutter is a continuous brain dump. Ideally, frequent journaling will help contribute to a decluttered mind for longevity purposes, but at a bare minimum, having a notepad handy for those swirling thoughts will help clear the mind. Literally imagine your thoughts being released out of your mind as you bring them to life on paper. Most importantly, asking yourself, “What's important RIGHT NOW?” will give you perspective and encouragement to hold on the things that don't matter as much as the time you have with your family. If you're like me, you ALWAYS get things done, so don't fret too much about the evolving list of to-do's.
Challenge #2: There are too many PHYSICAL distractions.
If you take a look at the space around you, where you're trying to be present (whether business or family related), does it promote creativity, focus and clarity? Women often don't consider how the clutter and mess around them are impacting their ability to stay focused and stress-free while being in the moment. It's easily one of the things that's most overlooked.
Clear the clutter and keep things organized in the entire house. Get rid of things that you do not use, develop a filing or organizational system for the things you keep, and for everything else laying around or creating clutter, ask yourself “Do I LOVE this and does it bring VALUE to my life?”. Make sure to periodically declutter your home, your drawers, closets and desk spaces. Create a space for you and your family that fosters relaxation and free space (mentally and physically).
Challenge #3: There's a lack of gratitude.
It can be difficult to stay present if we aren't ENJOYING it. And often, lack of joy comes from a lack of gratitude. Finding happiness in the small moments goes a long way, but the challenge is understanding what it FEELS like to be grateful (and not just saying it).
Being and feeling grateful requires daily practice. It's a learned skill and something that requires frequent intentionality. To gain traction in this realm, start by writing down three things you're grateful for (big or small) every day. Close your eyes, take a few deep breaths, and consider all of the things around you that you've dreamt for at some point in your life. Don't fall victim to needing more things to be grateful for — what you have now is all that you need.
Challenge #4: Always being connected.
It's a byproduct of the era we live in, we are ALWAYS connected to something; phone, computer, watch, etc. Even if you aren't actively plugged into something, it's usually in the vicinity, causing some of those mental distractions as noted above. It goes without saying that social media is the main culprit for this, especially as it relates to comparison and gratitude. It's difficult to stay present on ourselves and our families when we are so in tune to everyone else's lives.
Limit the time you spend on social media and avoid endless scrolling. If you aren't engaging with others, don't scroll. Put your phone in another room when you are trying to be present with your family and remove any other disruptor that's causing your mind to wonder. Have periods of “detox”, ideally an entire weekend, when you stay off of social media completely. And looking long-term, plan adventures or trips as a family where you unplug entirely.
Finally, I'll leave you with this quote;