Sheryl Jesin

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Being present

Dionna at Code Name: Mama had a great post today about how joyful it is when she is fully present with her son Kieran.

It got me thinking.  I spend so much of my day rushing around and preparing for what comes next that I often don’t take the time to be present and to enjoy the moment.  It really is a shame, because when I stop to think about my days, they generally are quite pleasant.   Each day comes and goes, whether I want it to or not, so I might as well enjoy the moments as they happen.

Here are some moments of a typical day and how I plan to be present during these moments:

  • Lying in bed in the morning just after I wake up – Typically Jake and Dylan are both beside me.  Generally I am thinking about how much time I have to get ready and what I need to do before I leave.   Instead, I can be grateful for the two wonderful people I have with me and give them both a big hug and kiss, and talk to them.
  • Driving to work – I tend to think about if I’m late and what I have to do at work.  Instead, I can take a moment to enjoy the peace and quiet of driving alone (without a toddler to entertain!).
  • Sitting at my desk at work – Usually I am thinking about upcoming tasks at work or what to make for dinner.   Instead I can enjoy the challenge of the task at hand and feel a sense of accomplishment when I have completed it and done a good job.
  • Making dinner after work – Generally I am thinking about what time it is, if Dylan is going to be in bed in time, if he’s getting cranky.   I’m also usually yelling to him across the room, checking what he is doing and trying to keep him entertained.   Instead, I can be grateful that we live in a wonderful country where my husband and I both have great, flexible jobs that allow us to be home in time for dinner with our son and provide us with sufficient funds that we never have to worry about putting food on the table.  I can enjoy the time I have with my son and perhaps engage him in what I’m doing and allow him to help me. 
  • Lying in bed with Dylan as he falls asleep – Typically I’m playing on my blackberry, responding to emails, messaging friends and surfing the web.  I’m also thinking about the cleaning, laundry and cooking I have to do before I go to sleep.  Instead, I can focus on the adorable child next to me who is peacefully drifting off to sleep.  I can enjoy the rest that I am getting lying beside him and the snuggles and cuddles from him. 

So at any point during a typical day, I can either feel stressed and rushed worrying about what’s coming next, or I can be grateful and enjoy the blessings of each moment.   Looking back over a day, it is quite easy to be present and enjoy it more.  

What about your typical day?  Can you find a mundane moment that can become magical (or at least moderately enjoyable) by being present?


Playing outside without a backyard

Welcome to the June Carnival of Natural Parenting: Outdoor fun

This post was written for inclusion in the monthly Carnival of Natural Parenting hosted by Hobo Mama and Code Name: Mama. This month our participants have shared their stories and tips for playing outside with kids. Please read to the end to find a list of links to the other carnival participants.


We moved into our townhouse about 4 years ago.  It is in a great location – really central, close to downtown and the subway, and within walking distance of lots of great restaurants and shopping.  All of these factors were really important to us when we purchased our house.   At that time my husband Jake and I were both working at law firms downtown and were really busy.  We didn’t have time for gardening or shovelling snow – convenience was really important to us!

Fast forward to now – my husband works mainly from home and I work out in the suburbs and we have a two year old son with boundless energy.  Our house is still great – we have enough room and we still love the urban location.   There is only one thing missing – and that is a backyard!  We often think about how nice it would be to have a backyard where Dylan could burn off some of his energy – perhaps with a swingset and a kiddie pool.

Dylan climbing a tree at one of our favorite parks

It’s not in the cards for us to move right now for a variety of different reasons.  But it’s still important to us that Dylan has lots of time outdoors.  We are lucky that we live in walking distance of two amazing parks.  Both contain great jungle gyms geared to kids in Dylan’s age group.   Both even contain splash pads for those hot humid Toronto summer days.  Whenever we take Dylan to the park, we all have a great time.  He often finds other kids his age to play with.  Jake and I also enjoy the fresh air and the chance to be away from all of our distractions at home – our laptops, cooking, cleaning, etc.

In addition to the parks, we live quite close to an amazing walking/biking trail. Dylan calls it the “forest”.  We love to go for walks in the “forest” and now that Dylan has a tricycle, it’s a great place for him to ride without the worry of cars.

In the summer, we spend lots of time outdoors at our family cottages.   Dylan can play with his older cousins in the sand and the lake for hours.  There are wide open spaces for Dylan to run around and we all enjoy the clean country air.

So even though I sometimes feel wistful that Dylan doesn’t have a backyard at home, I think about all the amazing outdoor spaces within walking distance of our house.  I’m an urban girl at heart, and although perhaps someday it will make sense for us to move to suburbia, right now all the benefits of city life outweigh the drawbacks.  Even though we live in an urban area, we still spend lots of time outdoors right near our house, and the fact that we spend many long weekends at the cottage means Dylan isn’t lacking at all for outdoor play.


Carnival of Natural Parenting -- Hobo Mama and Code Name: MamaVisit Hobo Mama and Code Name: Mama to find out how you can participate in the next Carnival of Natural Parenting!

Please take time to read the submissions by the other carnival participants: