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Better work life balance means being emotionally present

You made it through traffic, deadlines and the annoyances of the day and you're finally home to spend time with your family. But how present are you? Are you thinking about the email you are expecting or maybe you're going to make one more work call on your cell to check on? 

Ryan Seacrest just tweeted about a nanny who called in and said cell phones get in the way of quality time with parents and kids. Ryan asked if we agree. My response: Guilty!  My daughter was furious with me this weekend because I was on the cell phone with a work call during time alone with her in the car. I admit it: it's difficult these days to give my family my undivided attention. 

Here's another reason to feel guilty for not being in the now. Sue Shellenbarger points out on The Juggle blog that not being in the now can affect our baby's sleep . She writes: "Now comes research suggesting that just being there isn’t enough; parents have to be emotionally available too, to foster sound slumber in their babies. Your warmth, calm and sensitivity to your baby’s feelings at bedtime may have an even greater impact than your actions on whether your child will sleep well, says the study, published in the latest issue of the Journal of Family Psychology."

“Parents’ emotional availability at bedtimes may be as important, if not more important, than bedtime practices in predicting infant sleep quality,” the study says.

This probably is true for older kids, too. However, my teens are sleeping to noon whenever they don't have school so there's no visible signs that my behavior is affecting their night's sleep.

Yet I confess, as a parent, heck even as a wife, I find it's tough sometimes to emotionally present. I find as the kids get older and more independent, it's easier to get absorbed in work thoughts at all hours. With so much information coming at me and so much that I need to get done, it's challenging to be emotionally available at bedtime or frankly at anytime.

Readers, is being emotionally available at home a challenge for you?