My little mini me daughter is 5 and a half years old already. I’m no different than any parent who feels like time has flown by. What I wouldn’t give to be able to go back in time for just one day when she was an infant. Instead of trying to do the dishes, fold laundry, feed her, change her and then rush to go to the grocery store I would sit by her and just stare at her for hours. Taking in all her peaceful gorgeousness. I would play for hours not worried about the dirt I could see under the couch as I was crawling on the floor with her. I would take a walk with her in the stroller and be present to the sun, wind, bird sounds and her smiles or the innocent look on her face as she sleeps. Not worried about power walking back to the house to get stuff done before she woke up.

How things have changed since she was an infant to today. Five years old and she is in kindergarten making her own choices, making her own opinions and struggling with what she tells us “her brain tells her to do” and what she feels mom and dad would want her to do. Like when ‘her brain’ told her to use her hands to shovel an entire fistful of corn into her mouth at supper this weekend leaving a mess all over her and the floor. Her brain told her she REALLY wanted to do it and it would be fun but her ‘heart’ told her mom and dad wouldn’t like it and she should have used a fork.

Whether it is her ‘brain’ or her ‘heart’ that is telling her to do things I can see how my own actions have an impact on her:

She eats what I eat. Well for the most part. For whatever reason she doesn’t like potatoes (don’t worry, she is a normal kid, french fries are still ok!). But if I say I don’t like broccoli I can tell you it will be a struggle to get her to try broccoli. I have had to act over the moon excited for foods that don’t interest me that much if it what I have to do to get her to try a kiwi fruit or egg plant.

If my attitude stinks, so does hers. I have caught myself saying something just to have it repeated by her multiple times that day like it was her own original thoughts. Like when I walked out of the house on a 80 degree day with a jacket on saying “its way too hot” as I immediately took off my jacket. The rest of the day if I asked her to do anything outside her response was “no thanks, its WAY too hot out”. And this is just one example. My little mini me seems to share my attitude on a daily basis.

If I listen to her, she listens to me. I have had to learn this the hard way. It’s amazing how much time we lose on our phones and computers in our kid’s presence. I thankfully have Iris to remind me this even before she could speak very many words. On multiple occasions I would have my attention and presence buried in my phone because I just had to “post this quick” or “send a really quick text” to have her little hands grab my face and pull it to hers to make eye contact. I remember how bad that made me feel that she noticed that I wasn’t giving her my full attention. As parents we have to multitask and our kids cant have our full attention all the time. In fact it teaches them patience and being respectful as you are talking to someone else. But as a working mom with limited time, I finally had to say enough was enough. Giving her my preciousness time and full attention was more necessary than letting others know what we were doing at that exact moment.

If I have learned anything in this 5 and a half years is that I am still working on getting this mom thing right. I thankfully have a great support of experienced moms who tell me I will never feel like I get it right. A great husband who reminds me to ease up on the pressure I put on myself. And a wonderful mother of my own who has given me her presence and stayed in the moments that matter the most.

Today be present, give your kids eye contact, make memories with them first, and share your experience that you had with them with others when you are not in the moment.