I’ve read loads of blogs which talk about the importance of living in the moment. They’re great little reminders but do we really take heed? As mums is it really possible to live completely in the moment?
I don’t know about you, but I spend so much time thinking about lunch, dinner, bed time, tomorrow, the weekend, school, college, holidays, Christmas, summer, winter and more.
I also find that when I’m totally focused on the future, it’s a sign that I’m running on empty. I found myself doing it this week, looking forward to the start of school so that I can get some ‘me time’ back. School doesn’t start for another 10 months and I don’t even know if we will send them to school and yet here I was focusing on how my life will look in almost a year. How much better it will be. I’ve done it for lots of my kids childhood, I’ve looked forward to the next stage: the crawling, walking, taking, toileting, because of how much better or easier it will make my life.
I was the same during pregnancy, couldn’t wait for the next trimester and when they would arrive. Believing that life with a baby would be easier than life pregnant (ha!) And therein lies the big lesson: It never get’s easier or better just like it doesn’t really get harder or worse. It is exactly what it is; some days are tough, others a dream. And that’s the way it will continue to be.
Living in the future is really – for me anyway – an escape.
And that’s OK. It’s OK to occasionally dream of a different life, it’s OK to want a phase to pass, it’s OK to not enjoy every minute with our kids. But it’s not OK – for me anyway – to spend my life in the future.
When I’m focused on the next, I’m missing the now. I’m passing up the chance to enjoy the present time with my girls in exchange for a happy thought about what might become. I’m wasting time, precious time.
So here it is, in order to become more present (as ever) I have a plan:
- I will use my phone less. When I’m living in the future I have a tendency to use my phone more, to start planning and diarising. I go from thoughtful to completely distracted and unavailable. This doesn’t help me. No more phone when I’m with the kids.
- I’m going to observe my thoughts and be more aware of when they are in 2018, then bring them right back to today.
- I’m going to watch my kids more. I don’t do a great deal of housework anyway but I do try and get things done and then get frustrated when I can’t do them because I have to “race with a dolly in a buggy”. From now on I will be willing to drop what I’m doing and play, and when I’m not playing I’ll watch them, talk to them, be with them. So no more tackling house work or other (often pointless) jobs. Oh my, the hubby will be pleased…
- I’m going to give less of a crap about what I will be doing next month or next year. It doesn’t really matter which Santa we will visit or which pantomime we will go to. I will see which lands in my lap and if nothing does I will put Elf on and grab some popcorn.
- I will remember that my kids don’t need to be entertained. They just want me there. Kids don’t mind what we do, they mind that our mind is on them and what they are doing right now. Children also don’t care about the future. The only futuristic questions my 3 year old asks me are “can we stay at Nanny’s later?” and “can I watch Sarah & Duck when I get out the bath?”
- Finally I will try better to appreciate the gifts that my children are. I will remind myself that though it is hard, it is amazing, a privilege. And that this time will soon be in the past, no longer the present and nowhere near the future. The future really is over-rated, it has nothing on what we have right now.
And there it is, my plan to stop living in the future and to start enjoying the present moment, which is all we ever have.
Must dash, my house is a tip xx