Yesterday I took you on a two part journey as part of the Mindful Mama Carnival. I outlined the ABCs of mindful parenting which I am using as a template for my Mindful Parenting Resolutions for 2012. You can read A-M on my blog and N-Z on Touchstone Z's blog.
The ABCs of mindful parenting would not at all be complete without the 1-2-3s of mindful parenting. 2011 has taken me on a rather intense personal journey of becoming a more mindful mother. It has been hard work. It continues to be hard work. But the work is absolutely worth it. I can see how Tiny flourishes in a mindful parenting atmosphere. And I have seen her wither when I have been less than peaceful. Below is a list of the ways in which I have personally focused on becoming a more mindful mother as well as post in which I have discussed what could be considered mindful parenting practices. There is a lot here to digest and hopefully some of it resonates with you and inspires you in your journey of mindful parenting. So here we go…
- I ensure that Tiny is healthy by being mindful of physical warmth.
- I also make sure that I show Tiny emotional warmth even during trying times.
- I employ acts of kindness towards Tiny as often as possible.
- I strive for a harmonious home inspired by natural parenting philosophies.
- I provide Tiny with certainty and security through clear messages and limited choices.
- I attempt to maintain good communication with Rasta Daddy avoiding communication breakdowns in front of Tiny whenever possible. Although I am not opposed to Tiny seeing us work out our difference, I do feel strongly that there are certain discussions that are not appropriate for her to witness. I also feel strongly that children should not bare witness to heated arguing, especially when it comes to finances.
- I am not a parenting expert and have embraced the fact that you have to do what works for your child and family. There is not a one-size-fits-all approach to mindful parenting. It looks and feels different for everyone.
- I will never, ever, ever, ever, ever use physical means to coerce Tiny into doing something or punish her. Spanking is something she will never know.
- I embrace anger as a healthy emotion that can lead to some really wonderful outcomes HOWEVER, I will not become another angry mama who takes out her frustrations with life on her child. When I feel my anger boiling over, I take pause and consider the impact my anger will have on Tiny. And if for some reason I did completely lose my shit on Tiny, I have a laundry list of ways in which I would immediately rectify the impact of my behavior. Reconnecting is key.
- I am a mother, first and always. Tiny comes first. Always. There will never be an exception to this rule. She is a child, incapable of living life on her own. One day that will change. What won't change? The fact that I am a mother first and always.
- One major lesson I have learned this year has been that parenting is to be done with the HEART and not the head. Yes, you do have to think and use your mental capacities as a parent but parenting is more about your heart and soul. Mamas, or at least this mama, have a nasty habit of overthinking every decision we make when it comes to our children. We have to get out of our heads and into our hearts!
- In order to be a mindful parent, I wholeheartedly believe that you have to let go of unrealistic expectations. These are only going to lead to frustration, anger, resentment, and parent tantrums. Yes – parent tantrums.
- Being a mindful mama means finding inspiration in life. This inspiration can come in many forms. Inspiration will look different for everyone. The important point is that you can find ways to become inspired to be a more mindful mother and individual. Rudolph Steiner has been a real inspiration for me as it relates to how best to approach parenting from a developmental perspective.
- There are ten parenting approaches that I personally feel are counterintuitive to mindful mothering. From forcing a child to eat everything on her plate, to pushing a child outside of his comfort zone, to forcing children to share and take turns when they cannot yet understand the concept are just a few more mainstream parenting approaches that I cannot subscribe to. It just is not who I am as a mother.
- I encourage Tiny to help me with household tasks. If she is not “allowed” to participate or if I prefer to perform domestic duties without her, how will she ever learn about life's daily responsibilities? I would never force her to help me, but I will always provide her with the opportunity. Even if it takes eons to get through one task, it is worth it in the long run.
- Mothering is heavy but if you let it bog you down, you are asking for a host of emotional issues. You will also lose yourself in mothering and miss out on simply being with and enjoying your children. There is nothing but truth in the saying “children don't keep.” Mindfulness means being aware of how difficult mothering can be at any given moment but not letting that feeling own you. Embrace the challenges, embrace the worry, embrace the emotion of it all and let go. Just let go and find that sweet spot of parenting.
- Meditation and time to just breathe are an extremely important part of mindfulness. Grounding and re-centering ourselves is vital to being a better, more peaceful parent. If we are frazzled and out of sync with our own needs and rhythms, then we will be less of a parent to our children.
- Being in survival mode is ok. And yes, you will make it out alive!
- Negativity has no business encroaching on our lives. However, we live in a very negative world. Mindfulness means walking away from negative thoughts, negative actions, negative situations, and negative people and surrounding yourself with positivity. Children will not thrive in a negative environment. Period.
For my long time followers, fans, readers, whatever you prefer to call yourselves, you all know that I dove into a rather intense Mindful Mothering Challenge. It was a lot of work. A LOT of work but I came out a better mother because of it. I am now offering a free eBook with all of the challenges! If you need to kick start your mothering, then you might want to consider working through each challenge at your own pace. Trust me – you, your children, and your spouse/partner will be glad that you did. Click here to get the Mindful Mothering Challenge free eBook!
And that my dear readers is all I have to say about that! May 2012 be the year of Mindful Parenting. May you resolve to reflect on yourself, commit to doing inner work, find peace within you and let that flow naturally into your parenting. Allow harmony to happen with grace. Open yourself up to living in the moment. Most of all…enjoy the journey.