Welcome to the December Mindful Mama Carnival: Staying Mindful During the Holiday Season
This post was written for inclusion in the Mindful Mama Carnival hosted by Becoming Crunchy and TouchstoneZ. This month our participants
have shared how they stay mindful during the holiday season. Please read to
the end to find a list of links to the other carnival
Tis' the season to lose your mind! Ok, not really. But for the majority of North Americans, November and December tend to be rather overwhelming…in a wonderful way of course!
Thanksgiving and Christmas can often take a mother's stress to a whole new level. Not only is there the normal care and feeding of her family and home but all of the tasks related to holiday plans (be it guests in your own, travel, or a small dinner) suddenly take center stage. Moms lose their minds, children feel the stress, and the spouse or partner (if there is one), hides under a rock for a couple of months.
I made some rather lofty assumptions just now. You see, the holidays do not stress me out in the slightest. I love Thanksgiving because other than having my in-laws visit, I really do not have to worry about much. I always am in charge of desert but I LOVE pumpkin as you all know so making something pumpkiny to share at Thanksgiving is a cause for celebration for me. (Plus I test a million recipes beforehand and who wouldn't enjoy that!) Christmas is not a holiday we celebrate in our home. My side of the family celebrates it so again, all of the holiday craziness falls onto my parents. (Love you both!) Other than making or shopping for a few gifts and sending out Christmas cards, I guess I have a pretty stress free holiday season.
In the spirit of the Mindful Mama Carnival, I would like to take this opportunity to focus on Mindful Parenting Resolutions for 2012. Many of these practices I already employ, others have fallen by the wayside, and still others are a work in progress. However, I think that this list serves as an excellent reference for ways in which you can be a more mindful parent both during the holidays as well as all year round.
Let's start with the ABC's of Mindful Parenting. You can find A-M below then hop over to Touchstone Z to read Mindful Parenting Resolutions Part 2, letters N-Z.
Acceptance of WHO your child is. When you accept your child's inherent personality and general approach to how he or she lives life, it becomes easier to mindfully parent your child. When you fight who your child is, you are in essence rejecting the center of their being which only serves to “unground” your child.
Boring and monotony are par for the parenting course, especially when children are very young. Days are repetitive as they should be. I know that my days are an endless cycle of domestic responsibilities and caring for Tiny, my husband, and our pets. Some days it seems like I just do the same thing over and over day in and day out. But instead of looking at this as “boring,” a mindful parenting approach would insist that you simply view this as what needs to happen during this particular season of life.
Creativity is a must when you have children! Mindful parenting also means getting creative in how you parent. Mixing various parenting approaches until you find the blend that works best for your family is key. There is not a one size fits all approach to how to be a mindful parent. Mindfulness is what you make it. The other side of creativity is the actual creation of crafts, stories, and food. It is vital that children have the opportunity to get their hands dirty and create!
Dedicated to mindfulness. Mindful parenting is not something you can successfully do half-ass. If you are going to practice mindfulness, you must be dedicated to it fully. Sure there will be slip ups here and there and that is ok. It's called being human. But once you decide to venture away from the more mainstream parenting techniques, you have to consistently be a mindful parent. Failure to do so will cause much confusion for your child.
Encouragement! Children need encouragement but be weary of “good jobbing” your children to death. Instead, boost their own awareness of their abilities by simply stating the obvious. “You built a tower all by yourself. You must be proud?” This does so much more for your child than “good job” does. Honestly, did your child do a “bad job” if they failed to build a tower? I didn't think so. J
Fill your child's cup up daily! Fill your child up with love, support, warmth, and the opportunity to be a child!
Guidance – loving, gentle, balanced guidance. Mindful parenting involves guidance and support in the most peaceful manner possible. Children do not need parents to dictate and command constantly. Children need parents who provide firm boundaries that are lovingly and consistently enforced. Children will naturally fall into a behavior pattern based on the guidance parents provide. If parents constantly demand and dictate, children will tend to push back resulting in a lose- lose situation.
Harmonious home environments. If a child lives amongst chaos and discord their behavior will likely mirror what they see. A home filled with joy and harmony will allow a child to more fully thrive.
Ingenuity in creating an environment safe for children to play, grow, explore, and learn in while not “childproofing” it to the point that child have no access to anything they need to learn and develop skills. Exploration, touching, smelling, and yes – tasting are all a part of development. Young children need a safe environment to do this in but at the same time should not be stifled. Mindful parents call forth the powers of ingenuity in creating a space inviting and hands on for children.
Just do it! Dive into mindful parenting with abandon. Let all of those worries, concerns, insecurities, and doubt just float away. Know that you CAN be a mindful parent and with consistency and practice it will soon be more natural than you thought. The more you overthink it, the harder it will be. So turn yourself over to mindfulness with all of your heart and soul.
Kindness is key. Remember the Golden Rule? Treat others as you would want to be treated? Mindful parenting means modeling kindness both towards yourself, your family, your friends, and strangers.
Love, all you need is love. Children must be shown love through physical warmth (hugs, kisses, cuddles), through emotional warmth, through words, and through action. Fill up that love cup all day, every day!
Modeling! Mindful parenting means modeling the behaviors and actions you want to see in your child. Instead of always “teaching” your child, simply “do” the very thing you would like your child to do. Children love to mimic and this is how they learn best. So show them what mindfulness looks like by modeling that daily.
Don't forget to head over to Touchstone Z to read the rest of the ABC's of Mindful Parenting. Stay tuned tomorrow for the 1-2-3's of Mindful Parenting.
Visit The Mindful Mama Homepage to find out how you can participate in the next Mindful Mama Carnival!
On Carnival day, please follow along on Twitter using the handy #MindMaCar hashtag. You can also subscribe to the Mindful Mama Twitter List and Mindful Mama Participant Feed.
Please take time to read the submissions by the other carnival participants:
- Enjoying Busy Times Moment by Moment Amy at Peace 4 Parents offers a handful of simple pointers to make the most of any busy season in your life.
- Staying A Mindful Mama During The Holiday Season Terri at Eco-Crazy Mom shares her thoughts on being a mindful mama, while keeping your sanity throughout the holiday season..
- Holiday Parenting: The Gift of Natural Play Moorea at MamaLady shares her holiday plan for mindfully spending time with children in her extended family.
- The ABC's of Mindful Parenting Jennifer at Hybrid Rasta Mama provides a comprehensive list of Mindful Parenting Resultions for 2012. In addition, she briefly reviews her mindful parenting journey for this past year.
- The 123's of Mindful Parenting Jennifer at Hybrid Rasta Mama shares part 3 of her Mindful Parenting series (Link will be live tomorrow, Dec 14).
- Mindful Mama Guest Post from Hybrid Rasta Mama Zoie at TouchstoneZ is honored to share Part 2 of Jennifer's series on staying Mindful for the Holidays.
- Saying No to Plastic Toys Nada at minimomist and her husband Michael, have certain rules when it comes to toys for their daughter Naomi. Here's how they deal with well-meaning gifts that don't quite work for their family.
- Can you LOVE WHAT IS at Christmas? with so many expectations and no many people's needs to accomodate, Patti at Jazzy Mama has decided to simply accept what can't be changed and love whatever happens.
- Minimal Temptation, Minimal Gifting Adrienne at Mommying My Way shares how not exposing herself to tempting purchases, as well as having fun family traditions, helps keep her Christmas list under control.
- Choice And Consequence In Conscious Mindfulness Luschka at Diary of a First Child shares her realisation that consciously monitoring our thoughts have a powerful effect on our lives, regardless of circumstances or influences.
- A Light in the Darkness Sylvia at MaMammalia writes about overcoming holiday blues through the miracle of motherhood.
- Nature-Inspired Christmas Tree Kerry at City Kids Homeschooling describes how she and her children discovered the beauty and simplicity of a nature-inspired holiday tree.
- Giving The Gift of Life Free Range Mama at My Healthy Green Family shares about teaching children how to look beyond the well-wrapped box and learn how to give. .
- Can a collection of moments be more than the whole? Tat at Mum in search asks how do you turn a holiday from hell into a series of beautiful moments?
- Flying Through the Holidays Jenn at Monkey Butt Junction discusses how a simple organizational plan has kept her holidays balanced.
- Celebrating Advent week to week Lauren at Hobo Mama finds that counting down weeks instead of days helps children with the long wait.
- 5 Ways to Stay Mindful This Holiday Season Charise at I Thought I Knew Mama shares ideas and photos that help her stay mindful throughout the holidays.
- Simplifying the Holidays Mandy at Living Peacefully with Children shares how simplifying the holidays has made them more special for her.
- Mindfully Managing the Mania Erica at ChildOrganics fights against “the gimmes” and shares strategies for staying balanced during a time of year when it's easy to overindulge.
- Six Ways to Enjoy the Holidays Without Losing Your Mindfulness Rachael at The Variegated Life shares tips on thinking less, planning less, doing less, and remembering.
- The Gift of Presence Darcel at The Mahogany Way explains how important it is to be present for and with her family during the Holidays.
- Mindfully meditating on celebrations Dionna at Code Name: Mama hosts this guest post from Child of the Nature Isle about desiring meaningful celebrations for the whole year.
- What Does It Really Mean? Staying Mindful Through the Holiday Season Kelly at Becoming Crunchy talks about how she stays in touch with what the holiday season means for her and her family, in spite of all the temptations to do otherwise!