I’m three months into my parenting career. I’m not qualified for the job, but who is? It’s a self-hiring job, sought after by young people that often possess a complete lack of experience. When my son was born, I didn’t even know how to hold him, let alone feed him.
One of the few things I did know going into this gig is that, for a short time, my son would be totally reliant on me for survival. And as he grows up and becomes less and less reliant on me, I must then lead by example. How is he going to learn to take care of himself if I’m not taking care of myself? If I want him to be present, thoughtful and generous, I need to be present, thoughtful and generous. My experience as a practitioner and teacher of yoga has taught me that this approach requires less doing and more being.
During pregnancy, I knew there was a chance I would only be pregnant once, so being present was exceptionally important to me. I spent lots of time journaling my day-to-day experiences, eating nourishing foods, practicing pre-natal yoga, resting and soaking up all the love and attention that pregnant ladies get to enjoy.
At my son’s birth, I was fortunate enough to be able to honor my original intention to labor without the use of drugs. This way, I could be fully aware and present with my son during the first few hours of his life.
At this point in motherhood, parenting with presence means taking the time to stare into my baby boy’s deep blue eyes while he breast-feeds. It means taking plenty of time to talk to him, to make him smile, strengthening our already special bond. It means not checking out in the middle of a diaper change, mostly because not being present usually results in me getting peed on, but also because he’ll be potty trained and off to school in the blink of an eye.
In the future, in order to be present, I’ll need to spend less time in front of screens and more time witnessing my son explore how he fits into the world through sports, crafts and art.
I’ll need to continue practicing yoga and meditation, genuinely nurturing myself so I can better serve my child.
I’m learning so much in my new role as “mom” and fully expect to keep learning from my son for as long as I live. Being present with him and watching him learn and grow is such a gift. I wouldn’t trade it for anything.