How can I stay present with my family?

Published on September 11, 2019

While commuting home, you realise that you still have unread emails and phone calls to make.  At the same time, you are wondering if the kids made it back from school and what you will have for dinner.  Earlier today, your client got upset, which in turn made your manager upset.  Your body is tense, and you feel overwhelmed with so much to do.  You are hoping that when you get home, your partner is in a good mood and the kids are behaving.  You feel your muscles tense up, and your breathing becomes shallow.  You try to prioritise what needs to happen in your mind, but your cell phone is ringing and distracting you, and you can’t seem to focus.  Here are some pointers to help you to feel more in control of your home and to help you to be present.

Leave work at work

At the beginning of the day, make and prioritise a to-do list.  Before you leave work, see what is left on the list, and see what needs to be done before you go home and then leave the rest at work.  Once you step out of your office, relax your mind, so you do not go home tense.  This might mean, taking a ten-minute walk or listening to some music. Notice where you are tight in your body and relax that area with your breath or by mentally letting go.

Put away your phone

During family dinner, make a rule that no phones are allowed. Decide a reasonable time that you will put your phone away for the night, and then do not look at it again until the morning.  During family activities, do not get distracted by the phone.

Divide the labour

Include your spouse, children, and toddlers into the chores.  Age-appropriate chores teach work ethic, co-operation and teamwork.  When the tasks are divided, everyone will have more time to spend with each other.  When one person in the household tends to do most of the housework, resentment and feelings of unappreciation build.

Focus on what the other person is saying and feeling

Set time aside to listen to your family.  Watch their facial expressions and tone of voice; what are they feeling?  Focus on listening without interrupting.  Often people are not listening because they are just waiting for their time to speak.

Focus on your marriage

If your marriage feels like a struggle, this will add to the tension at home. Are you or your spouse avoiding each other?  Is there conflict in the home?  Your relationship with your partner affects the mood at home and with your children.

Have clear cut rules and consequences

If everyone in the home understands the rules and consequences of the home, you will save time. No one in your home will be receiving unpredictable punishment, which also adds trauma and tension in the home. When a home is understanding and communicative, it is easier to enjoy the present moment.

Finding balance

Work and family can feel like a never-ending to-do list. Find time for yourself to go to the gym, see your friends and do your hobbies.  Of course, this requires balance as spending too much time out of the home can feel neglectful to your partner and children.  However, if you don’t have any time for yourself, you might become resentful.


Having communication is always the key to a good relationship. To set up an appointment with me please contact +852 2521 4668 or email

Photo by Tyler Nix on Unsplash

Category(s):Family Problems, Parenting, Relationships & Marriage

Written by:

Dr Monica Borschel

Registered Clinical Psychologist (HK)

Dr. Borschel specializes in Attachment, trauma and Loss. She is experienced in helping adults, teens, children, and families adjust to anxiety, trauma, abuse, divorce, separation, loss of a loved one, and loss of finance. This may include deciding what is in the best interest of the children during custody disputes, strengthening the relationship and communication between the parents and the children.

From Nov 2020 Dr. Borschel is only available for online consultations.

Dr. Borschel’s attachment-based therapy along with EMDR and Brainspotting enables her clients to find healing within themselves. In so doing, she can help her clients to overcome anxiety, trauma, neglect, emotional, verbal, physical abuse, and child abuse.

Furthermore, as an attachment specialist, she also helps individuals understand relationship patterns which prevent them from developing or maintaining healthy relationships. She is able to help reduce anxiety, insomnia, depression and promote confidence and self-esteem.

Dr. Borschel is originally from Salt Lake City, Utah, U.S.A. She graduated with her Masters in Clinical Psychology from Columbia University in New York City. She later moved to Hong Kong to pursue her doctorate at the University of Hong Kong in Social Work and Social Administration.

Registered Clinical Psychologist with The Hong Kong Society of Counseling and Psychology (HKSCP). Member of the American Psychological Association (APA), The British Psychological Society (BPS), and the Hong Kong Family Law Association (HKFLA).

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