I used to live every day in the chaos of the morning rush, yelling, and exhaustion. This robbed me of my children’s first 5 -8 years of their lives. It’s difficult for me to look back and remember much of their tiny growing years because I was living in such a state of madness. I lived this way until I learned how to implement mindfulness and meditation into my daily life. It doesn’t have to look like you sitting in “lotus position”, but rather it’s a way of thinking and living. I see meditation more as refueling relaxation exercises.
The key to Mindful Parenting: Practice.
First I had to practice it by myself. It’s hard to teach someone to drive through a burning building, it’s much easier to learn new skills in a calm and controlled setting. It’s the same with these techniques. Practice them when you are not already upset, exhausted, and burnt out. Practice them daily so you can use them in the heat of the moment. That is what Mindfulness Meditation is…practicing being present.
Check in with yourself.
How are you feeling? Tired? Hungry? Yes, just like we constantly ask how our children’ are doing and monitoring their every status you need to check in with yourself too. Set a regular “check in session” with yourself. It won’t take long, just 5 minutes a day. What do you need to get through your day? Asking yourself this simple question every day will help you see where you need to refuel yourself so you can be more available and energized for your children.
Practice the pause.
Before you react, respond, or explode…pause. Count to 10 or 20 if you need to. Slow it down by breathing with each counted breath. Those reactions to your kids for coloring on the wall, moving too slowly in the morning, or struggling to eat their dinner…pause and respond with purpose. We are already rushed and on the go constantly, as long as it’s not an urgent need to stop something from catastrophically happening, take the time to calm yourself and your response will be more purposeful.
At the end of your day, when you lay your head on your pillow…find something to be thankful for. The more positive you can see in your day the more positivity you will bring the next day. This will make it easier to bring joy and happiness to that bedtime routine you are struggling with right now. See the good and you will be the good in your day.
The best part about these techniques; you are setting an example for your children. Through your example, you are teaching them to take care of themselves, to calm their reactions, and to be grateful little humans. It won’t happen overnight, it will be a little movement daily that eventually you will look back on and see the big movement over time.
What I have noticed is the chaos and crazy life we live hasn’t ceased to exist, rather I have learned how to live in the chaos better. It is a common misconception that once you start mindful parenting that all of a sudden everything is unicorns and rainbows. What is more likely is that you are able to be the unicorn and see the rainbows easier. The biggest obstacle I know you face, because I face it too, is how to remember to do these 3 things? Too many things in my brain space, but being more mindful actually helped my memory.
To get started, here are my tricks for remembering just about anything…
Write it down. Either in a journal, on the mirror, or the fridge. We remember things better when we use multiple ways to access a thought and its right in front of our face.
Schedule it.However you manage to schedule things now with doctors’ appointments, birthdays, events, kids practices…do it with these 3 things too. Mindfully (take a good look) at your day to day and ask yourself “when is it realistic for me to practice this?”
Attach it to another Habit.If you already do the dishes every morning, practice this when you are doing the dishes. Practice it when you take a shower, practice it with your kids at dinner time…find something that you are already doing on a daily basis and add these 3 things to that habit!
Don’t give up! Progress is not like a staircase we climb until we get to the top. It’s not linear. It goes up and down and sideways. The key is not to give up and stay consistent. Even if the only consistent thing you are doing is starting new every time you forget…then you are making progress! Take it from me, I used to be one a hot mess and now I’m the Unicorn that sees the daily rainbow. You can do it too, just one step at a time.