How To Be a Present Parent

I have to admit. I suffer from mommy guilt in a big way. This last time pregnancy, I thought to myself that for sure the guilt would lessen once I had my third. But it didn’t. Instead, the mean voices in my head became even stronger and louder.

If I was staring into my baby’s eyes for too long (whatever that means!), I felt guilty about neglecting my work. And if I arranged sitters for all three kids so I could work, I felt like a total fraud of a mom. I could never win!

I decided to take some of my own medicine and force myself to be present with my kids to hopefully lessen the guilt and be a better mom. What I discovered was the guilt was actually the thing that was robbing me from being present in the first place.

Here’s how it works, if we’re doing something — let’s say getting a manicure —and feeling guilty for being there, it’s going to feel like you were never even there. What happens is, although we’re out doing something for ourselves, our mind is somewhere else. It’s like we’re not even at the salon. So when we go back to the kids, we quickly become frustrated or annoyed because it feels like we haven’t had a break.

Logically, we get that being a good parent starts with being present with our kids when we can. Not just physically there, but emotionally and spiritually there with them. But if we haven’t been able to fill our cup by attending to our needs, guilt-free, we won’t be able to be present with our children when the opportunity arises.

There are so many hacks out there to be a present parent, which work great, but I believe the first step to being present is eliminating guilt and the judgment that follows. If we could just say, “no, you’re not allowed here” and accept ourselves for whatever parent we decide to be, our children will undoubtedly have better parents.

Much love to you, 

Nikki