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Balancing working from home and parenting

Talia reminds her mom about the importance of really listening

By Amy Baskin
Balancing working from home and parenting
It’s 3:30 and I’m finishing some work on my laptop. Tal unlocks the front door and walks in after her day at school.  
 
“Hey Tal,” I say, barely looking up. “My friend brought cupcakes — there’s one for you on the table.”
 
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Instead of cupcakes, Talia wants my attention. Standing in front of me, she starts to talk. Honestly, I’m barely listening. As Tal tells me about her day, I only catch a few words: “teacher...announcements ...behaviour...friend made a bad choice...pot luck...lasagna...swimming...gingerbread house...”
 
While typing, I’m nodding and saying “uh huh, mmmm, wow...yeah...” 
 
Tal starts to pace. Then she stops in front of me — holding her face close to mine. She’s clearly anxious. And being ignored by me isn’t exactly helping.
 
Finally I get a grip. “Sorry, Tal,” I say. “I’m going to put this away and pay attention to you.” Closing my laptop, I put it out of reach on the coffee table. “Come here,” I say. “Let’s snuggle on the couch.”
 
Smiling, she plunks down beside me. I wrap my arms around my girl. “Now — I want to hear ALL about your day," I say. "What kind of candies did you put on the gingerbread house?” 
 
“Sugary ones,” she says.
 
“And who was your partner at swim time?” I ask.
 
As she tells me her stories, I feel her relax and lean into me. And I into her. Warm. Calm. Safe. My daughter lets me know the gifts she truly needs. The gift of slowing down. The gift of listening. And the gift of being fully present. Wishing you and your sweetie-pies the loveliest of holidays. And lots of time to snuggle.
 
 
This article was originally published on Dec 22, 2011

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