Being Present is Inconvenient

I sit with a friend over coffee. She’s had a tough week. 

It’s 5:30 pm and quite honestly, the worst time of day for me to leave the family. It’s dinnertime, my husband has just gotten home from work, and there’s still a lot to get done around the house before we wind down for the evening.

I’m tired. I’m ready to put on my sweatpants. The couch is definitely calling my name. And that new K-Drama isn’t going to watch itself. 

But I’m reminded that while all these things are important, at this moment my friend needs a friend. So I will put aside all the things calling my name for the privilege of being present. 

Being Present is Exhausting

I’ve started a new job and realize just how much mental space is taken up by the need for all the physical things to get done. 

Dishes, laundry, crumbs everywhere, dirty floors—am I living with barbarians? How long has that cream cheese been sitting out on the counter and how did maple syrup end up splattered across the kitchen window? 

I feel tethered to the weight of my “to-do” list. 

All the things need to get done. I’ll probably finish them…or honestly, I might not because…life. Either way, at the end of the day I remind myself that it’ll be okay. Mostly, I just want my people to feel valued. I want them to know that our home is not defined by the stress of what needs to get done, but by the act of being present and available. 

But choosing to be present—this too is exhausting. 

And so I practice.

I practice by getting down on the floor and drawing with my youngest. I put the vacuum away and sit on the couch with my middle because even though we might not be talking deeply about the meaning of life, it’s important to him that I be still and watch this show with him. I stop what I’m doing so I can look my oldest in the eyes and really listen to what she’s saying.

Being Present Changes From Season to Season

My kids are a little older now. 

We’ve graduated from diapers, carseats and sleepless nights—there are no babies in our bed, no portable potty seats, and no small building blocks littering our living room floor. 

Instead, we’ve exchanged toddler cuddles for middle school attitude—meltdowns over unshared toys for exaggerated sighs of frustration over undone chores.

I breathe deeply and remind myself that I am the adult in this relationship. Every parent experiences these seasons. It’s normal. It will be fine. 

Is it hard? So, so hard. Is it scary? All the time. 

I miss the baby cuddles and sweet smiles. But also, I’m so very thankful for the opportunity to see my kids grow up and become their own people. 

I grieve what is no more and sit in gratitude for what is. 

Life is busy and I find myself understanding the advice from older, wiser women—that what we value and remember at the end of our lives is not all the chores we got done or that our house was always spotless or the running around from activity to activity. Productivity has its place—but mostly what we’ll value and remember is the presence of our people. 

I want presence to be my default. 

You too? 

Let’s practice this together.

Previous articlePlanning a Family Picnic: Tips, Recipes, and Games for a Memorable Outing
Next articleMother’s Day Gift Guide – SHOP LOCAL Ventura County
Katie Walker
Katie was born in Seoul, S. Korea and adopted at the age of one to a sweet family in Ojai, CA. While growing up as an adoptee came with challenges, she is incredibly grateful for the gift of processing her experience through writing in hope of supporting and encouraging other adoptees and families thinking about adoption. In 2005 Katie married her best friend, Dave, and since then have had three kids - Layla (14), Eli (12) and Caleb (9). They’ve spent a lot of their family life pursuing higher education, traveling, and driving kids from one activity to another. In a normal week, you can find Katie knee deep in homework assignments, Bible study research, and catching up on all the K-Dramas - always a cup of iced coffee in hand. Reading literary fiction, walking the dog (audio book or podcast in!), and working in the garden are other ways she unwinds and stays sane. Oh, and sometimes she cooks and cleans, but now that her kids are older she benefits from their homemade pancakes and ability to wipe down a countertop.


Please enter your comment!
Please enter your name here