Mindfulness can make or break a whole afternoon with your child! How can this concept teach you to use responsive parenting instead of reactive parenting?
Case in point: A week or so ago, I unexpectedly ended up being the one to pick up General Leia from school. When she saw me, the first words out of her mouth were, “Can we go over to Nana’s and Poppa’s to do my art project?”
I won’t lie, I was a little disappointed. I was hoping for a “Hooray! I’m so happy to see you, Mother dearest!”
But I told her cheerfully, “Sorry, we can’t play go to Nanna’s and Poppa’s house tonight. We have to go get your brother and sister and then go home.” This started a whole dramatic ordeal in which Leia’s world was ended and she cried as I walked past the other moms picking up their own cherubs from school. Awesome.
My instincts in that moment were not MOTY material. Ungrateful little kid, you could at least pretend you liked me. Honestly, I wanted to be snarky with her, because my feelings were hurt.
But I thought about where she was coming from, how I wasn’t who she expected that afternoon. Perhaps she had been thinking about doing that art project all day, and then there I was instead, blocking her from painting and creating. So I tried to stay positive, and after a bit we somehow made going to the pharmacy to pick up a neti-pot into a little adventure (you get adventure where you can!).
Of course, I don’t always do that well when my kids are in a bad mood. It’s hard to do!
But what if, instead of reacting according to our instinctive, negative emotions, we stopped and evaluated our thoughts first?
The way to respond instead of react to our children is through mindfulness.
Many (most?) of us didn’t grow up talking about mindfulness. Any mention of it was probably related to those weird hippies who did yoga and clearly weren’t in touch with reality (but actually, I do yoga now, so maybe I became one of those people…).
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The secret? Mindfulness actually allows you to be more “in touch with reality” than you possibly can be any other way.
Seriously, mindfulness can help?
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The answer is YES, it definitely can, especially if you deal with issues like anxiety!
So how do you practice mindfulness when you’ve barely even heard of it?
Dr. Marcy Rowland, a psychologist who spends a lot of time helping young mothers cope with anxiety, transitions, and life with children in general, was gracious enough spend some time with me here at EBM studios! Check out our interview below!
One of my favorite parts of talking to Marcy?
Discussing how each day is just practice, filled with new opportunities. Just like practicing an instrument, just like practicing a sport, each time you attempt mindfulness, you get a chance to try, observe how you do, celebrate wins, and clarify how you can continue to improve.
We are told often how we have one life, we get one shot, and we better not screw it up. And I get the idea of making the most of our time, I really do.
Let’s not get so hung up on the idea of “having one shot at life” that we feel the need for self-flagellation when we are less than perfect.
Because guess what?
You’re going to screw up. And that’s okay.
Your kids are going to be okay. You haven’t damaged them forever.
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You will do better next time.
Are you new to mindfulness?
It really helps to have a set of empowering reminders in your back pocket that you can tell yourself when you’re getting triggered. I’ve developed a FREE printable of mantra cards designed to help you stay calm during stressful situations. Plus, there’s a reminder card to help you calm down when you can feel yourself becoming overwhelmed. All of the cards are designed to be attractive yet simple, so you can use them as little reminders throughout your home. And these are actually phrases that I tell myself, probably multiple times a day. They really work! Download your copy today! Happy parenting!