I found myself at the park with my children yesterday. It was one of those perfect spring days, my favorite jeans, t-shirt, and sandal weather. And on this perfect spring day at the park with my two perfect children . . . I found myself completely preoccupied with thoughts of work.
I first associated this with PhD-brain. After all, I had spent 5 hours that morning working on a paper, clicking “send” as my children were (literally) climbing in the car to head to the park. So I thought I was just having a hard time mentally shifting from school to my family.
But then I realized that, no, this wasn’t unique being a PhD student. In fact, I bet most if not all parents find themselves struggling to be present with their children. In my case, being back at school might simply enhance the effect for me.
So that’s my current struggle—working to be present with my children. Not just when they need something (which seems to happen ALL THE TIME these days. My house is a constant chorus of Mommy, I’m thirsty…Mommy, I’m hungry…Mommy, I need…Mommy, I want… Mommy, she’s not playing with me…Mommy, he hit me…). I also don’t expect to be present with my children at every moment. Just more than I am right now.
In truth, I’m not quite sure how to do this (any tips, Reader?!), but hopefully recognizing and acknowledging the situation is a solid first step.