Mindful parenting it is about bringing your attention to the present moment. It is taking up the challenge of trying to be fully present to our children.
Being mindful is not a steady state it is a practice.
Some days go better than others. Some days it is easier to be fully present.
Mindful parenting is not about holding yourself to some ridiculous standard where you never pay any attention to anything except your children.
Work needs to get done. Dinner needs to get made.
Life moves quickly.
Many things pull on our attention and time. For good reasons. And all can be done with mindfulness. One of my favorite things is listening to my children play while I putter around the kitchen. Puttering needs to happens as much as playing.
Practicing mindfulness directly with our children often creates space for connection and gentleness.
Mindful parenting helps us attend to the joys and the heartache of everyday life. Because well, what else is there?
In my opinion, it is about accepting what is going on right now and creating space to react in the most useful way.
Mindfulness may seem counter intuitive in some ways when your child is dis-regulated or your child is distressed or your child is struggling or you are tired or overwhelmed.
Staying mindful, focusing on the here and now is often very difficult.
Often the here and now is not such a happy place.
Often the here and now feels overwhelming.
However, it is exactly when things are the most difficult that mindful parenting is potentially the very useful.
Mindful parenting gives us as parents a way to manage our emotions when things are hard.
It is a way to practice the difficult act of noticing without judging or reacting.
It creates some space for our emotional reactions when our children are having a hard time. Often a little space is a good thing because it allows us to make choices based on what is needed right now. Perhaps our initial reaction is right on target and will help us do what is needed in the moment. But perhaps our reaction is more about our personal fears and past failures. Perhaps our initial reaction is more about anxiety about the future. In that case being mindful and non-judgmental provides a way to notice that and then bring our attention to the interaction or the child in front of us right now.
Before we can be present for our children in the ways they need we need to be present for ourselves. We need to be non-judgmental for our own thoughts and feelings.
Mindful parenting is all about letting the feeling come up, noticing them and moving forward.
Mindful parenting helps us be fully present for our children when they need us most.
Practicing mindfulness as a parent is all about noticing and truly embracing the precious beings we love. Right here and right now.