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On Being Present, Part 2

I suspect there were a few head scratches (or worse) after my last post where people asked, “But what about boundaries? After all, it’s not good for kids to think they can interrupt their parents all the time.”

Part of me, honestly, wants to say, “Why not?” Why can’t kids interrupt their parents? Or a husband interrupt his wife? Or a wife interrupt her husband? Obviously, we need to teach kids a correct, polite way to do this, but if someone else has a need for you in their life, what’s wrong with them making that need known? And what’s wrong with answering that need in a timely manner?

Yes, of course, things have to get done. If you work outside the home and your kids are off at public school, then you’ve got some boundaries built in for you. After all, it’s unlikely a child will come up to you needing a snuggle when you’re in an office and they’re at school. But when you are both at home, what’s more important, really, than that snuggle? A clean toilet? A vacuumed floor? And if you’re not working outside the home and your kids are around all day, I feel like the question still stands. Because, I’ll be honest, my kids are pretty needy — they’re almost always within view of me during the day. If I change rooms, they’re often not far behind. But they’re also often happily occupied doing their own thing, which means I have time to do my own thing.

Does it mean sometimes my writing is disjointed in the first draft? Yep. Or that I have to go back and re-read something I wrote before I can add to it because I got interrupted in the middle of it? Absolutely.

And yet, what’s more important in the overall scheme of things? My book or my kids knowing that mom is always there for them? For me, that’s an easy question to answer.

I don’t do it perfectly. Sometimes I grumble under my breath as I hit save and pack away my laptop because I thought I was going to get a few minutes more than I did. (I grumble a lot less when they interrupt chores, I’ll be honest.) But I make the effort. Because my heart knows that being present–whenever my family needs me to be–is what matters.

This Post Has 4 Comments
  1. balance and priorities! generally speaking, i say interrupting *is* rude, or more accurately (in my experience) self centered. but there are times, and there are proper ways, to interrupt without being rude.

    1. I agree with that. And I do teach my kids not to interrupt. But I also try to make sure that we explain that there are times when it’s okay and, in those times, you need to do it the polite way. So yeah, balance and priorities. 🙂

  2. It never occurred to me that you might be teaching your children to be rude. It did occur to me that you were teaching them that they are important to you. I have told more than one parent who’s child has been in my care, “If it exasperates you when your name is called repeatedly, try answering.” I also explain to them that they have taught their children to call them repeatedly. Parents are important to their children. They want — they NEED — parental attention and approval. If you give your child attention when they need it, your child will be better able to give you patience when you need it.

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