I am a stay at home working mom. What that means is that I have a spent a good portion of my day tending after my baby (not so baby anymore) so I've always managed to get work done when she is napping or after she's gone to bed. I am her primary caretaker. At around three years old, she started preschool and most recently finished Kindy so I have those hours to work and then if I'm lucky I will have scheduled a play date for her after school so I have those hours to work too.
I never thought much of it and having a smart phone makes it easy to work on the run. However, just lately I've been catching myself sort of..."listening with just one ear". You know, like, I'm on my phone responding to emails and the daughter is talking to me and I'm sort of just nodding my head and half listening while tending to my email and like I said lately I am noticing that you know what? She probably notices too. And I'm pretty sure that's not a nice feeling - to know that you come second fiddle to a phone.
Actually, maybe the one clear moment when it struck me was one day when I was in the kitchen and D is saying something to me from the dining room and I am not answering right away and she says very forcefully, "MOM! I KNOW YOU ARE ON YOUR PHONE!!" To which I had replied, "How do you know?" And she said, "Because you are quiet." Caught me.
So, now I'm hyper-cognizant of the fact that I need to be off my phone when I am with the baby. More than just "off the phone" but really be present when I am with her. Really, being present in everything I do.
Granted this is striking me the summer before she starts grades! So, I have been guilty of being a less than present mother for practically her entire first six years. I have to just chalk it up to learning moments. You live and you learn and at least she is only six. I still have some early years left in her and I can now be more present, hopefully, for the rest of her life.
I do not want to be that mom that is never present for my child. Every day is a learning moment. Sure I seem to alway be behind the ball on all this but I'm thinking better late than never.