I Was Wrong–A Resolution to Be More Mentally Present for Emma

“Mommy, that’s my letter! And that is my sister’s letter.  This is Emma looking at my sweatshirt with writing on it.  She is pointing out the letter “E” and recognizing that this is the first letter in her name and also showing me the letter “L” for the first letter in Lily’s name, too.

If you ask her, what her name is she will tell you and says, “Emma Grace Huldie”. She has known her full name for over a year now, but the letter recognition is generally a new occurrence for her.

I want to believe that I have had something to do with this, but know it is pre-school that is teaching the letters to her and specifically beginning to also show her the letters in her name.  I can’t really take credit for this new phenomenon for Emma.

Yet still, she is so very excited and proud as she should be.  And even last night was trying to write the letters of her name on the paper roll on her craft/art tablethat Santa brought for both our girls.

Emma’s “E’s” and “A’s” on Her Craft Table

It was around 7 pm and I was kind of busy cleaning up after dinner. Although It was at this point, when she started to talk to me and tell me what she was doing.  As proud as she was, she was still struggling to draw the letters correctly. The first thing she told me was, “Look Mommy, I am making my letters.”

She had indeed draw an “E” that looked like the letter “E” should. I was seriously up to my eyes in straightening up, but when I looked at her face, I realized very quickly that I had to stop what I was doing, give her a bit of attention and positively reinforce her efforts to draw these letters. Plus, she seemed to need a bit of help with the letter “A”. So, sat down next to her on the little matching bench and we worked on the letter “A” for a few minutes and then she went onto drawing more letter “E’s”. I asked about the letter “M” and she knew she had two of them in her name, but when she tried drawing an “M”, Emma drew the two vertical outside lines perfectly, but the two middle connecting lines came out as one horizontal line. But we did try again a few more times, only to have her pretty much come out with the same results.

I totally would have sat longer with her, but Lily decided to take her clothes off (pull-up and all). She was running around naked looking for her pajamas. So, my attention had to be taken away from Emma and her letter drawing to deal with a streaking Lily. As funny as this does sound and believe me, I couldn’t help, but giggle even as typing this, I had to take walk away from Emma to handle this situation. By the time, I was done dealing with Lily, Emma was onto bigger and better playing with Barbie’s Dreamhouse. She didn’t seem to be worse for the wear, but my mommy guilt was on overdrive. I felt awful that I had to stop helping Emma, even though she was seemingly just as happy playing with the dollhouse.

Well, I know I said I don’t know resolutions in the past, but I think I may have to amend that one teeny tiny statement, because I afterwards I sat thinking about how many times, I do have to take my attention away from Emma for something else like Lily, who has a tendency to require that of what three children need with some of her crazy antics.

Emma, barely ever puts up a fight and just blends into the crowd. She does this so well and I need to remember that even though she seems Ok with this that she may not always be. Therefore, I am going to try to fix this by indeed giving Emma more one-on-one times with me whenever I can, because she is learning so much and truly wants to learn. I don’t want to miss out on what she is learning and also think she does need to experience some of this with me, as well as I also need to experience this with her.

Emma is a bright little girl, but she still is only 3 years old and needs her mother. So, I am indeed breaking my “no resolutions” and making a resolution to mentally be present more for Emma. I mean I am physically present, but sometimes I admit my mind is elsewhere on all the others things I need to do and finish, as well my other child and husband, too. I need to find a happy balance here and make sure that Emma does get her fair share of attention from me.

After all is said and done this one is one of the most important resolutions I can make, because Emma is truly one of the most important people in my life. She not only needs this, but deserves it, too. Lord knows I am probably going to screw this one up at times (I admit I make my fair share of mistakes daily), but as long as I don’t make the same mistake twice and learn from it that is what it is all about I suppose.

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  1. 1

    Kera says

    I think all mothers can agree with your experience and statement here to be more mentally present for their children. Even though I only have one baby so far, it must be easy to be there for her all the time, helping her learn and figure things out. But it's not so easy. Not when I'm trying to get things done around the house or spending some time on the computer. But I NEED to be there for her more. She is perfectly content playing by herself, she has a big imagination already, but that's no excuse. I should just stop what I'm doing sometimes and help her learn the letters on her play laptop or finally put the batteries in her little people house so she can hear the sounds. Whatever I'm doing can wait. I need to learn that. Thanks for sharing this…we're not alone in our mommy guilt!

    • 2


      So very true Kera and the same with Emma. She is so very content and good with playing by herself. She has great imagination, but still she deserves me to give her more one-on-one time during the day. Glad to know I am not the only one who falls prey to this at times and thanks for that here with me :) :)

  2. 3

    Melanie Chisnall says

    I still remember some one on one times I had with my mom when I was small, and those are times I will never forget…they are priceless! This is a great resolution to have! :)

    • 4


      Thanks Melanie and same here with my own mom. She actually sat with me reading, when I was a kid and was struggling a bit. It made all the difference in the world and still remember that to this day :) :)

  3. 5


    I love this resolution! It's something I struggle with daily, so thank you for the reminder. It's so easy to get distracted by everything else going on. I think Emma is very lucky to have you. :)

  4. 7

    Kat Biggie says

    Great post and great resolution! It is so easy to get caught up in the day to day humdrum and forget to take the time for the little ones. It's so great that you recognize this and are doing something about it! Oh ANDi SAWyou made a big jump up on Top Mommy's! You go girl! Ah my baby is trying to take over the computer!

    • 8


      Oh thanks Alexa. I honestly agree with you that sometimes we just plain forget with everything else we are doing all day long. I mean don't get me wrong, they are clothed, fed, bathed and so forth, but sometimes life just seems to come in the way. I just have to try to put things aside for both at times more often I suppose. As for the votes, I am just so happy and thankful for all the do everyday :) :)

  5. 9

    Bill says

    You speak for a great many parents, Janine…we all feel we could do more….we all slip in our efforts….we all feel guilty….and we all love our kids so terribly much that sometimes it hurts. :)

    • 10


      Thanks for saying that Bill and I admit I am like so many others I suppose and not perfect. I try, but make so many mistakes daily. But thanks seriously for your kind words on this, because trust me my mommy guilt gets me quite often around these parts.

    • 12


      Thanks so very much Audrey, but like I just said to Bill I make so many mistakes even on a daily basis, but I do love my girls like nothing else in this world and would do anything for them. I also don't want this time and age to pass me by too quickly, without having had memories to make with them.

  6. 13

    Jane Marsh says

    The most demanding child always gets the most attention… good for you for being proactive in offering that attention to the one that clamouring for it. It's an ongoing challenge for me with my three–not getting over-wrapped up in whichever one is in the most intense phase to the extent that I am not sufficiently there for the other two.

  7. 15


    I have a very demanding child, and her sister, who behaves and entertains herself very well, tends to blend into the background if I am not careful. It's an easy trap to step into, and I have to remind myself daily to pay special attention to the younger one, lest she notice that being loud and needy is the way to go for more attention. I don't want that! 😛

    • 16


      I agree with you Heather about not wanting Emma to think the way Lily behaves is the way to go. I am trying to break Lily of some of her more outlandish temper tantrums. But again this is something I am constantly working on. Thanks seriously for sharing :)

  8. 19

    Cyndi says

    It sounds like you're a wonderful mom hands down. Really, we can all just try our best and try to be the best people and parents we can be. After that, I have resolved, to try to shed the guilt, lol. Emma sounds so cute and they are wonderful girls – good job, Mom!

  9. 21


    I love how you came to this realization, one that I think so many of us have at one time or another. It is SO hard with all the distractions in our daily lives, but you've made the first step in recognizing what Emma needs and that's what's most important. I too feel like I get caught up in my writing, blogging, etc. that there are times when I should turn off the laptop and really be there for my kids, not just in the same room, but looking at them and really paying attention to them. Thank you – I'm adding this resolution to my list too!

    • 22


      Thanks Emily and can't agree enough. I do have to try to do my best here and probably will mess up a few times along the way, but still have to do my best for her. That said, I am glad it isn't just me though, because sometimes I think I must be the worst mom. So seriously thanks for sharing here :)

  10. 23


    Cyndi's right, Janine. We all try our best, and we all screw up at times. (Some more than others lol). The fact that you realized Emma needed more attention (and consequently felt guilty for not being able to give her as much as you wanted to) proves you're a wonderful mother! 😀 Your girls are adorable!

    • 24


      Thank you for saying that Melissa, because believe me there are times (like this) where I feel like I am just so not the best mother I can be. But you are right about making mistakes and am with you that I make my fair share daily, lol :) :)

  11. 25

    Rachel Harper says

    I really enjoyed this post Janine. It's so easy to get wrapped up in what's going on around you that it can sometimes be hard to recognize what is right in front of your face. I don't have kids, but I even find I am trying to make more of a concious effort to put away electronics to have real face time with my husband, or take a few minutes to snuggle with my dog, because you never know what tomorrow brings, and you don't want to regret not having those moments.

    • 26


      Thanks Rachel and couldn't agree with you more and have even tried to turn my computer off for a bit int he evenings lately to unplug and spend more time with Kevin and my girls. So I am so with you on this. It is hard sometimes, because I am kind of addicted, but still trying my best :)

  12. 27

    Dani Ryan says

    Good for you! You know, I've been thinking the same lately. I've gotten so caught up in blogging and tweeting. It's been so nice to have an outlet, and to have something that's just for ME, but I am guilty of making it a priority sometimes, and I really need to stop doing that. So I'm right there with you, sister. I'm going to make more time for my little girl, too. 😉

    • 28


      Thanks Dani for also letting me know that I am not the only one who has been guilty of this. Not that it makes it right by any means, but just helps to know that I am not alone, because I do feel sometimes like I am doing everything wrong in the parenting department and just want to make sure that in the end my kids don't think I am too much of a screw-up!!

  13. 29

    Lori V. says

    it's so very fun to watch the kids learn new stuff and be SO proud of themselves. My 5yo read 12 pages of "One fish, Two fish" last night – we were both SO proud of her!

    • 30


      Oh Lori, I love hearing about other kids accomplishments. Thanks for sharing that here and totally agree with you how much fun it is watching when your kid is learning and enjoying it, too!! :)

  14. 33

    Kelly Steele says

    SO important I agree. I am wondering if it ever ends though with one sibling taking attention away from the other… I always feel so guilty too :-( Even though Emma didn't seem affected, mine does seem affected and is always telling me he wants the baby to disappear… so tell me, does it get easier once the baby is old enough to play with the older sibling? He's 7 months… maybe I should be doing a better job of including him? Anyway, you seem to have the sibling thing down so just thought you might be able to help!

    • 34


      Kelly, Emma truly was never really jealous as a baby of Lily. I wasn't honestly shocked how good she was with Lily right from the get-go. when I was pregnant she would lift my shirt and kiss my growing belly, always saying how much she loved the baby. And when Lily was born she was so mesmerized by her. As they have grown and the age gap has closed in somewhat, they really are so good with each, but don't get me wrong they still have their moments and fight over things (like tonight with toys). I think though it should definitely get easier as your baby is able to play with your older child more and they can actually interact more on that level. That said,I am so not an expert by any means and can only tell you from my experience. Thanks for sharing and hope I helped a bit :)

  15. 35


    I am always getting the mommy guilt lately. It's hard to split your attention between 2 kids, I can't even imagine having more than 2! Emma's letters are so cute by the way, what a smart little girl. :) My daughter is learning her letters at nursery school right now too. She recognizes them but has no interest writing them yet.

    • 36


      Thanks Camille and I am with you on more than 2 kids, because I already feel like my attention is split enough on the two I have. As for Emma, she loves the letters and everyday she seems to have such interest in which letter begins what words, especially her own name. And I was shocked that she wanted to try and write them. Up until that point, she too had no interest.

  16. 37

    Ruchira says

    ohh…this is so cute, Janine.

    Brings back my memories of my kid when he was a toddler. Treasure that paper :)

    btw, I voted for ya on the mommy blog :)

    • 40


      Oh thanks Michelle and I think you may be right, but my kids are two different people and that is pretty much that. I just have to do my best to accommodate both of their personalities.

  17. 43


    How wonderful! Makes me want to go and hug my kids…even though two of them are asleep! *sigh* They grow up so fast!

    Following from Friendship Friday blog hop at Create With Joy. :O)

    • 44


      Oh thanks so much LuAnn and believe I know the feeling and have moments where I would love to give them one more hug, but they are asleep. So glad to see you here and will stop by your page in a bit, too :)

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