The Prompt: Presence

The Prompt 60

Are you present; right here, right now? It’s a loaded question isn’t it? I want to say yes, but the truth is that often I’m not.

I may be physically in the building, but my mind is not: I am not truly present.

Presence is about more than just being there.
Malcolm Forbes

I have a need to be busy, so I fill my mind and days with lists of things to do. I flit from one diversion to another. Whether it be blogging, the book I’m reading or what to cook for dinner.

I half listen to the kids, saying hmmm and yes at appropriate moments. Until I get caught out.

I’m always trying to finish something!

My children say just one second when I ask them to do anything.

And while I can try to console myself with the fact that they are mimicking my attempts to teach them patience, and that their demands cannot always be met immediately; too often I say this to them because I feel that whatever I am doing is more important.

This is unfair and (almost always) untrue.

While I do think that sometimes, just being there is enough. That a comforting presence; for a snuggle on the sofa, or a quick cuddle, or a hand to hold; is enough.

By not giving them my full attention when they ask it of me, and even when they don’t, I will be the one who loses. I will be the one left wondering. I will be the one left standing on the side lines.

Life is busy and chaotic and loud, and it can be hard to remain present through all the noise. But I must be careful of what I filter. What I choose to distance myself from. What I choose to be absent from.

Too often I am distracted. I am elsewhere.

I am missing.

And, I am missing out.


You can find this weeks #ThePrompt linky here. I do hope this week’s prompt inspired you; I look forward to reading your posts.

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17 thoughts on “The Prompt: Presence”

  1. Oh yes, it’s so easy to zone out and miss what is really going on isn’t it? Remembering to be in the moment is so important but life gets in the way sometimes.

  2. Such wise words here, and ones I identify with completely! I find it so hard to truly relax and focus in on the here and now, but in the rarer moments that I do I really feel the difference it brings to my interactions. We’re off on holiday for ten days tomorrow, so I’m really hoping that will be an opportunity for some uninterrupted family time xx

  3. It can be so easy to become distracted with the half a dozen other jobs that your thinking of what needs doing rather then listening to that what seems like a never ending conversation. I have learnt to put down whatever I am doing and look at them when they are talking. This stops me from getting distracted and they know they have my full attention. It’s so important to treasure our time with our children before they’ve grown up and moved on into adult hood.

  4. I think every mom struggles with this. At least I hope other moms struggle with this! If I notice it’s a pattern that I’m always saying “just a minute” I try to correct that, but I also try to remember that kids in general aren’t terribly aware of their parents. Of course I don’t want them to grow up saying, “You know how mom was always on the computer when we were growing up?” but at the same time, they’re not going to remember incidents with the same hyper-awareness that I do. I think my mom did a good job but I’m sure there were thousands of times when she thought otherwise, just because I wasn’t as aware as she was.

  5. I get this. I’m guilty of it too, always thinking about the next thing and forgetting to just chill out. As my children get older, they pull me up on it more often than not. It’s quite funny being told off by your own kids – talk about getting a taste of your own medicine!

  6. I am so guilty of doing this. I think I must say “In a minute sweetheart” or “Mummy is a bit busy at the moment” more often than I say “Yes, of course I can play with you / read to you / listen to you”. Your post has given me a bit of a wake up call if I’m honest so thank you for that!

  7. As I read this my children are in the room, not sure exactly what they’re doing, my attempting to finish dinner and reading your blog… I completely the person you just described! But then there are times when enough is enough, when you can’t divide your brain into any smaller pieces and then you’re back in the room. Present.
    Lovely observation & beautifully written, as always

  8. I don’t think you are missing things, or missing out. I don’t think any of us could give anything our full attention. Even our children. I doubt your kids feel like you are not enough. Us mums are too hard on ourselves.

  9. Such an honest post hon, things that many would have trouble admitting! I often have so many things going on in my head that it feels as if it might explode…although I keep telling myself things will get easier when I’m getting more than four hours broken sleep per night *sigh*. I also think it’s a bit of a curse for us writers, always dreaming up a tale to tell. Hugs, hope you have a lovely weekend xxx

  10. Oh I am SO with you on this! My head is always so full and I often find it difficult to focus because I’ll be trying to work out a rhyme for a picture book or working through an idea for a blog post. I think I glaze over far too often and am not really, truly present with my kids. I worry they are used to a mummy who spends far too much time looking at a screen or just looking through them with her mind on something else. But then I know my kids are happy and loved, just as yours are so I think we shouldn’t beat ourselves up too much. I am going to try to be more ‘with them’ when I’m with them though. Great, through-provoking post as always. xx

  11. This rings so true, we fill our lives with so much and sometimes we forget to dedicate ourselves to what really matters. I’m guilty of being distracted too, and then I remind myself that it’s not many years until they’re teens and won’t be asking for my attention in the same simple way as now. A good reminder for us all x

  12. I guess this is pretty universal for us mums! I got a look at JJ’s first big school ‘learning journal’ the other day and on one of the pages there was a picture he’d done which was a family portrait of sorts (granted we all look a bit like a cross between aliens and Mr Potato Head :-) ) Underneath the pictures was a brief description of us all and under Mummy was “she’s always busy”. I have to say that did give me pause. I can be snappy and irritable about being constantly asked to stop what I’m doing when there seems to be so much to do all the time and I know I should stop and just enjoy the moment more often. We all need to give up our material possessions and go and live out in the woods somewhere with no distractions :-) X

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