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Why "Be Present!" is Perfectly Impossible Advice

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It’s a beautiful day. The early spring sun is finally strong enough to feel on our cheeks. The wind is whipping, yet warm. The playground is empty.

My youngest daughter is laughing. Climbing up the slide as fast as she can, and sliding back down on her belly. Again! Again! She keeps her eyes on me, anticipating my smile, my clap, my acknowledgment.

And I give it to her. I open my eyes wide when her fingertips graze the top platform. I laugh when her shoes slip halfway up and she skids to the bottom. I tickle her belly when she finally collapses into an exhausted heap on the rubber flooring.

I’m having so much fun with her. And yet…

Be present. Be present. Be present.

It’s a mantra I keep repeating in my head – one that is fighting hard against the force in my pocket. My iPhone.

I can feel it vibrating. A client email? A text message? A shared tweet? What am I missing, on this gorgeous Tuesday when so many of my peers and clients are inside working?

It’s like the phone is a magnet, and I can feel it pulling me away from this day, this moment, my daughter. I resist hard. I snap my coat pocket closed. I grab her hand, and we head over to the sandbox.


When you’re a mom, and an entrepreneur, work has its own presence everywhere you go.

Because you decide your work boundaries, and you decide your work balance, you decide your work’s presence. And you decide your own presence in your life outside of work.

It’s a struggle. To stay present wherever you are, whether that is with your family or with your work. And it can be a lot of pressure, too.

“Be in the moment!” yell pretty graphics on Pinterest. “Be here now!”

Yes, ok, but how?

Because I’m really trying to focus on intentional presence, on being mindful of what I’m doing and why, on really enjoying today, here’s what I’ve learned:

#1: Explore it. I’ve heard about “mindfulness” but never really understood what it was – until I knew I needed to focus on it.

#2: Apply it. So for me (and most of you, I’m guessing) it’s impossible to be fully present in the moment all the time. But learning a few simple tips can really help.

#3: See it. I don’t know about you, but I need to be reminded to stay present. So while I make fun of those Pinterest graphics, I like them all the same. Here are a few good ones:

How do you stay in the moment, mama? I'd love to hear your tips on mindfulness!

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