the gift of being present.

In an age where each of us has multiple social media accounts, laptops, iPads, and iPhones, it can be incredibly easy to always live in the virtual and never in the present. Obviously, I love social media and am thankful for it in many ways. It was Facebook and text messages with my friends in the wee hours of the night while nursing my babies that helped me get through some very dark and lonely times. Social media is also a great way to keep in general touch with all of our friends and family, even when miles make us far apart.

My boys get to have me all day, everyday, since I don't work outside the home and so my days pretty much always revolve around them. I love to watch them do imaginative and independent play and consider it a double bonus when they play with each other without me having to break up a toy argument. 

Today on our way to swim lessons I was listening to a Christian radio station that talked about an article focusing on the gift of being present, and I was convicted hard. It made me think about how there are many times throughout the day where I think I am being present with my kids but my heart, mind, and focus are on other things. When I was growing up, my mom always made sure that we gave her eye contact and respect while speaking to her and I think it played a big role in why I loved communication since childhood. I can see now how I am not always demonstrating the same focus to my kids but at the same time I am constantly asking for it back. Calvin even confronted me today and said, while grabbing my face, "Mom, can you talk to me!?" It broke my heart to hear these words. I never want my kids to feel like they need to compete for my attention with a device and here Calvin was competing for my attention.

So now I need to focus on balance when I am with them. I am not glued to my phone or laptop and do not need these things 24/7 to feel connected or anything. But I am trying to see how I can better be 100% present with my kids and when I can be fully present with my husband and then also have time to be present in my interests (blogging, reading, etc.) instead of partially giving myself here and there. I have found that putting my phone on airplane mode so that I am not tempted with notifications has been helpful in being fully present. I do not want to always feel guilty while reading a blog, news article, or streaming through Instagram, but the fact that I do feel guilty tells me I probably spend too much time on these things.

God's mercies are new each morning, so I pray that tomorrow I can focus on balancing my interests, my boys interests, and my responsibilities to take care of matters in our home. If you are like me at all and find yourself having some mom guilt, then join me in putting the phone and laptop down while the kids are playing. I want to notice and be alert whenever my boys show each other kindness. I want to see their reactions when they learn something new. I am more convinced that the world will look a lot more beautiful through my own eyes than through the glass (or whatever material it's made out of now) of my iPhone.

Tomorrow I hope I can give Calvin and Max the gift of me being present. I may think I do not have enough time in a day and therefore need to do 20 things at once, but truly I do have time. I just need to learn how to use it wisely. 

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Kind of contradicts my post but her are some pics of the boys playing well together. A time and place for everything. 

Kind of contradicts my post but her are some pics of the boys playing well together. A time and place for everything. 

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extra hours.

I have been telling myself for a few years now that if I only had a few extra hours a day I would be a much better wife and mom. 24 hours is not enough time to complete all the tasks I give myself and the time to fulfill all my families needs. But when I take a step back to see how I do spend all my time I can see where my sinfulness and selfishness get in the way of being productive but also intentional with my day.

At any given time I have a running list in my head of ideas, lists, to-do's, tasks, and goals. I once heard that guys are like waffles and girls are like spaghetti. Women tend to make all areas of our lives to be on equal playing fields and equally urgent and guys are better at categorizing.  While this might not be true for everyone it is true with Nick and I. My family definitely has needs that need to be addressed quickly and timely but they do not demand all of my day 24/7.

The extra hours I wish I had would be used to read, study, creativity, and community. Many days I feel so guilty because I am counting the hours until the boys go to bed so I can have "me" time. I don't think there is at the surface anything wrong with me wanting time alone to dapple in all these areas.  But when these ideas consume my thoughts during the day I can see how it affects my mood with my kids. My dream for as long as I can remember was to be a mom and here I am with two healthy boys. I never want them to see me frustrated or anxious because I am not reading the blogs I want, or the book I have sitting on my night stand, or that recipe I have been dying to try out. They are my priority and my life right now is a season. 

If I had extra hours in the day I would hope that I would first seek time with the Lord and more time with my family. I admit that for months my bible had sat on my coffee table. I had every intention of reading the Word when the kids napped but then would find myself watching TV, or going on Pinterest, or blogging. The funny thing is every time I used the time I do have to workout or be in God's Word I in turn would have a better day and appreciation for all I have. And the times spent wishing for things I did not have left me feeling ungrateful. I know there is nothing wrong with wanting some extra "Gina time" but my prayer is that I would be content with this season life knowing how fast it goes away.  I am praying that each day I would learn how to better balance my many hates. Mom, wife, friend, daughter, sister, and blogger.

Do you ever wish you had more alone time during the day? Do you have older kids and therefore have some more time to dapple into some of your hobbies? How do you balance your day?

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