“Mindful parenting” sounds attractive, right? Sure, I want to be a mindful parent but what does that phrase actually mean?
John Gottman defines “mindful parenting” as the ability to respond and not react. He goes on to discuss finding ways to control our own emotions:
Managing our own emotions and behaviors is the key to teaching kids how to manage theirs. It is the reason airlines tell us to put our oxygen masks on before you can put on your child’s mask. You need to be regulated before you can model regulation for your child. Unfortunately, when you’re stressed out, exhausted, and overwhelmed, you can’t be available for your child.
What is Mindful Parenting?
You can tell that this idea of “parenting with presence” is significant to me.
On this early morning, I can’t sleep. So, I am up writing to clear my head. As I sit in a rocking chair staring at my two sweet boys and asleep in my bed, about the reasons why I can’t sleep.
My inability to sleep usually leads back to worry or regret. In this case, I had an “angry” day. I was short with my boys. I raised my voice too much. I moved my body in ways that were too swift and curt.
My husband is on an extended work trip. The boys are happy and well adjusted but are needy, especially at night.
I haven’t slept well and, to be honest without sounding like I am complaining (because I love my job), I haven’t been able to breathe my own breath too much the past week if that makes sense.
Yes, these types of days make me very sad.
I don’t wallow though…
So I am up thinking about what I can do to make sure to mitigate these types of days and to find clarity in the muck. Below is a simple and what may seem like an obvious list of things I’m planning to do to shift my days and my mood.
14 Simple Ways to Find Your Way Back to Mindful Parenting
- Drink more water and less coffee
- Eat less sugar, including carbohydrates, and more protein and iron
- More fresh air and outdoor time, generally
- Move my body. Endorphins are good.
- Put my devices down and rest my mind with my boys and for myself
- Write more but find a time for myself to write in peace
- Read for pleasure, even if I choose Fifty Shades of Grey
- Spend more time alone with my husband
- Call an old friend to reconnect
- Write a letter of gratitude
- Listen to music
- Write a story, a poem or a song with my boys
- Family dinner
- Purge and declutter an area of our home
Parenting mindfully isn’t easy.
Sometimes when we feel off our game, stepping back to the basics is the answer.
Take what need from this list and make it work for you and your family.
I have found that simple and small adjustments, like drinking more water, have a profound impact on our overall happiness as a unit and individually.