I've always been a working mom (we all are!), but I haven't always been the most present mom. For the first year of my daughter LG's life, I stayed home nearly full time and spent every waking moment with her. Once I started my job at Green Piñata, I realized I took some of this time for granted and needed to evaluate how present I was as a Mom.
Whether you're a working mom in the home, outside the home, or in an office, here's what I've learned about being a more present parent.
6 Tips for Being a More Present Mom
1. Be Organized. I work almost half of the hours I worked at my pre-baby job and it's safe to say that I accomplish twice as much. While my passion for Green Piñata certainly plays a part, it's also because I'm organized and plan my weeks on Trello for work and non-work related tasks with ample buffer time for last-minute changes.
2. Schedule Your Meals. I use a meal planner app called MealBoard that my husband and I love. We import recipes during naptime on the weekend (you know, if there is one!), go to the store as a family, and do our best to prep 2-3 meals on Sundays when we have both of us in the house. For the remainder of the week, I try to plan for easy ingredients like frozen vegetables and/or pantry items to minimize the likelihood of anything going bad.
3. Let Them Help! Yes, even the little ones. If your little one can take some kind of simple instruction like putting something in the trash, take advantage of it – you'll teach self-help skills and have more fun! For laundry, I give LG a pile of five things to fold or ask her to bring me items to fold. For meals, I let her dump the dry pasta into a bowl or stir the pancake batter or put the napkins on the table.
4.Turn Off the Phone. Unless there's something absolutely urgent I'm waiting on, I plug in my phone when I get home from picking up LG and don't look at it again until she's asleep. This is a hard one to follow, but when I do it, I am so much more present with her and feel both of us enjoying eachother so much more.
5. Get on the Floor. I work hard to not meddle in LG's creative play but as my only child, I am her playmate and I'm embracing it! Instead of trying to "relax" on the couch (because, let's be honest, she won't let me anyway), I simply sit nearby and wait for her to engage me. At LG's level, I've become her teammate, her puppy, and my absolute favorite, her regular "Pasta and Cheese" customer in her restaurant (which can be anywhere, anytime!).
6. Give 100%. Little minds really aren't capable of playing fully engaged for very long, so why not embrace those 10-minute activities with all you've got. When I chase her, I go at my max speed. When I tickle her, I go with my max effort. And when I read, I pull out all of my crazy characters. She has more fun, I have more fun, and when bedtime arrives, we're BOTH ready!
While I'm not expert on this subject, I've learned so much throughout this journey so thought I'd share my best tips – I'd love to hear from you!
Share your tips for being a present Mom with us in the comments.
Photo credit: Emily O'Brien Photo