Parenting is no joke. I mean, sometimes it can get so overwhelming, that you do just have to laugh…but on the whole, regardless of your children’s ages, parenting can feel like it pulls everything from you. There are so many tired moms and dads out there, that we must think of ways to keep sustainable, inner-energy conscious homes.
There is this small book that I read years ago by Tich That Hanh, called, The Miracle of Mindfulness, that radically influenced my life. Mindfulness is like finding a way to be at home with yourself. If you’re breathing, it’s a way to become aware of your breath; if you’re dancing, it’s a way to become aware of your dance; or if you’re parenting, it’s a way to become aware of yourself in the moment with your kids. So, I guess you can say that mindfulness is a process of noticing. The more you can notice yourself as a parent, the more you’re going to know what you need, and that will progress into knowing what your child(ren) needs.
If we can begin to become more aware of ourselves, at a body level, of what the breath is doing, then we can notice where we hold tension in the body. Once you notice the tension, ask yourself – what is it that I need right now in this moment? This is a question that parents need to ask themselves every day. Have you ever noticed that there are certain behaviors or attributes in your child that may trigger more of an emotional response in you than other behaviors might? This is another aspect of mindful noticing. In those emotionally laden moments – whether it is anger, anxiety, or tenderness, a mindful response would be -“I am feeling angry right now. I wonder where this is coming from?” or “I felt so anxious at drop off this morning at school, where is this coming from?” The more we can ask ourselves these questions, the more we will be making meaning out of our experience, which will help us to be more responsive to what the emotional experience of our child is.
When we implement mindfulness, curiosity about our reactions and responses, and an awareness of the body’s feedback, then we can implement daily self care activities. And I do mean daily. This may sound indulgent to some, and I totally get that, but our children need parents who are whole, and have an integrated inner life, so that they can be seen for who they are, separate people from us. I promise that the more you can be kind to yourself, the more kindness you will exude to your kids; and you will be the responsive, engaged parent you want to be.
Drop a comment below to share how you practice daily self-care.