I’m sitting here, whilst my middle Prince is having Speech therapy. Thank God for laptops is all I can say. The amount of time I save. And I would say a blessing every time I turned on my blackberry I love it so much. Technology I used to believe was not for moms. I mean who do I need to email that urgently? But I’ve learnt differently. It opens worlds. And that’s exactly what mothers need.

Sometimes I felt like my pre-blackberry life just consisted of nappies, (almost out of those) school runs, opening the fridge at 5 o’clock in the afternoon, trying to figure out what to make for supper, and coffees of course.

Now I get to Facebook (who’s watched social network – I loved it – although apparently it’s not very accurate), I get my emails (I  don’t like the bill emails but what can we do, and access to the world-wide web so that whenever I have a question all I have to do is whip out my lovely albino berry (that’s the white one).

The only problem is that I do overdo it – I’m a crackberry addict. It takes precedence over my kids, my friends and even my husband. It’s me and my berry, beautiful phone. (couldn’t help the corny pun – sorry) So now my husband refuses to talk to me if I have it out. My friends still talk to me, but I’m learning to put it away because I don’t want to lose them (especially if I do, who will I email, Facebook and message?). The Princes have learnt how to pull me (almost my skirt off to be honest) and if that doesn’t work they just destroy the place (hammers on walls, glue everywhere, throwing pool table balls, again, everywhere). So off the Blackberry goes.

Last night my hubby and I went to a parenting talk by family psychologist, Dr Ronel Duchan at Great Park. (Ronel specialises in family mediation and counseling, especially relationships on the verge of divorce.) Ronel had a lovely combination of practical work sheeting and lecturing on the topic of parental attachment to kids. One of the big points that came up was about being PRESENT for our kids.

PRESENT – as in no cell phone – as in being ‘open and receptive’ to your child.

Am I that? Sometimmeesss. Definitely not always. I wish always. Unfortunately with these things we also carry through how our parents were with us. But the good news is we can change. And being mindful of ‘presentness’ is a great place to start. (I think I once spoke about how breathing is a good way of being present.)

Ronel had a practical exercise which really highlights where we are present and where we’re not.

Practical Exercise

Write down the best times that you’re present for your child. And the ‘worst times’.

My Best Times:

  • The car (no one can escape and no phones when driving).
  • Baking with them. (Yes I don’t mind flour in my hair. Although I do mind when they decide to chuck in the yolks into my meringue mixture – not a good mommy moment.)
  • After I write – do yoga – do something fulfilling for me.
  • Shopping 1 on 1 (No more shopping with all 3 at Pick n’Pay. I’m  a slow learner but at least I’ve finally learnt).
  • Holidays (no school pressure helps a lot).

My Worst Times

  • School Mornings (abnormally bad time)
  • When I’m tired/burnt out (this must be universal)
  • When I’m emotionally stressed (life shocks in More To Life words)
  • Shopping with all 3 of them (I have sworn never again – at least not to Pick n’Pay)

Then she asked us to strategise how we can be more present for our kids and write those times down.

I wrote ‘Put Crackberry away when am with kids.’ I did it today – it worked.

It was such a practical, hands on, proactive way of planning how we were going to be present for our children. I learnt that it’s not enough to say, I wish I was more present – it doesn’t lead to action. Only action leads to action.

And my attachment with my children depends on my actions! As it is with every mother and father (father involvement is such a topic I need to do it!). So if you want to see how present you actually are – do this exercise, compare notes with your spouse and make a plan! Your parent – child attachment depends on it.