Tuesday, August 28, 2012

Undivided Attention

First, as a follow up to a post from a week ago where I committed to becoming an early morning runner, I'd just like to (proudly) say that I have been rolling out of bed in the pre-dawn hours to get my runs in for the past week.  And I love it!!  Granted, my runs have been very short, slow runs as I'm just getting back to running post-injury.  It may not be as easy to get up when I have an 8-10 mile tempo run and need to be done by the time my husband leaves for work at 5:45am.  But I'm determined to stick with it as it is so worth it to have my workout done before the kids wake up.  There's nothing quite like returning to a quiet house, making a cup of coffee and doing a few stretches while the sun's rays are just beginning to peek through the curtains.  I'm hooked!

Of course, having some new kicks always helps, too!  I was an avid Asics fan for the past several years and just recently made the switch to Brooks.  My latest shoes are the Pure Flows and I am loving them. They are very lightweight shoes with minimal heel to toe drop (4mm) and are oh-so-comfortable!  Some reviewers say the shoes wear out quickly but mine are still fairly new so I can't tell yet how many miles I will get out of them.  I love the color, too!

Okay, now back to the original intent of my post -- Undivided Attention.  With an almost-teenager and two toddlers in the house (plus a husband and chocolate lab), there is always someone in my house who needs me for something.  I am constantly making food for someone, feeding someone else and cleaning up after everyone.  Not to mention doing the laundry, taking the dog out, organizing school/camp activities, hiring babysitters and trying to squeeze in my workouts (thus, the switch to early morning running!)

I often feel like I am never really giving anyone or anything my full attention.  (As I type this, I'm downloading pictures from my camera and doing stretches...)  What a surprise it is that I find my toddlers fighting. All. The. Time.

With this being the last full week of summer and all three kids going back to some sort of school/pre-school next week, I decided to make today just about the kids.  Well, my older son is out playing lacrosse so really it was just me and the girls.  I spent a good part of the morning doing art with them -- tracing their hands and drawing colored fingernails on them.  Then they got dressed in their outfits of choice which, of course, entailed rain boots despite the gorgeous, sunny weather.  Finally, we left the house to go for a "hike".

Our "hike" ended up being downtown on the waterfront instead of my favorite running trails.  They both wanted to see some water and I figured any place outside was fine with me.  I captured some fun pictures with my camera while simply enjoying just being with them.

I am not one who thinks I need to entertain my kids all the time -- I think being able to play with each other or by themselves is important -- but it also made me realize how little time I really devote to just being with them.  Being present.  Really listening to them.  I am filled with wonder, laughter, gratitude and happiness every time I really am present with them.  And, not surprisingly, the fighting stops completely when I'm by their side!  When I stop to think about all of this, I wonder why I can't find the time to do it more often.  In part it is because after a little while, someone is bound to become hungry.  Then the food-making, eating and kitchen clean-up cycle begins again!

But for a little while, when they had my undivided attention, it sure was peaceful and happy in our house and in our hearts.

How do you balance all the daily demands in your life and still spend quality time with your kids?  

- Kristen


  1. I know just what you mean. Sometimes it feels like you're not doing enough. So I've implemented a system where every Saturday I take one of the kids with me for a trip into town. Then I have a cup of coffee, and they have a glass of coca cola and we talk.

    This really helps me connect with them.

    1. I love this idea, Nicole! I am going to come up with a similar idea and do it with each of my kids. Thanks for the suggestion!

  2. Love the shoes. I have some as well and they feel amazing! Just wanted to check in to see if you have been able to get your hands on Discerning God's Voics. Not sure how to get everyone (all 5 of us) together in some form. Email me when you get a chance.

    1. I just found your email address and will email you now!