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What is Mindful Parenting?

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Last night I attended a local parenting workshop on Mindful Parenting.  I Mindful parentinggot some great take-aways, so I thought I would share them here.

Mindful Parenting…

1.  Is NOT about being a perfectly peaceful, tea drinking, yoga mom (or dad).

2.  It is observing, “showing up”/being present with your child, not judging (yourself or your child) for mistakes that happen, enjoying the present moment, listening (really listening and not just waiting for you turn to speak), and welcoming what is emerging in the moment (which can require dropping your agenda to flow with what the moment requires).

3.  It’s about connecting to your body.  The best way to be a “mindful parent” in a difficult moment is to draw your attention to your body.  Stop, take a breath, maybe wiggle your toes or fingers, and remind yourself that you are in this moment.  This helps to pull you out of any magnified emotions that may be fueled by what went on throughout the day, or even with someone else, and it helps get you out of the “fight or flight” mode (if you’ve gone there).

4.  Recommends Collaborative Problem-Solving instead of being a rigid “boss” or “doormat/people-pleaser”, over-indulgent parent.

The steps for Collaborative Problem-Solving come from Ross Green, and were described in the workshop like this:

When an issue arrises with your child where they want something you can’t/don’t want to give them, you….

  • Empathize first.  People (including children) are always more likely to compromise if they first feel they have been heard, understood, and validated in their feelings/request.  This puts the child’s interests “on the table”.  This could sound like, “OK.  You are really wanting pizza right now.  Let me think about that”.
  • Define the Problem. This is your chance to put your side of the issue on the table (SOOOO important that this comes 2nd, not 1st). This could be, “Well, we need to get to a doctor’s appointment in 10 minutes and I want to be sure we are on time”.
  • Invite the other person to the “problem-solving party”.  This can be as simple as saying, “Hmmm, what can we do about that?”  or “How could we get some pizza and get to the appointment on time?”  It’s a chance to encourage the child to be solution-focused, and shows that you trust they have wisdom and ideas for how to solve the problem.  The younger the child, the more you are going to help them come up with ideas, but you still always want it to have the flavor of brain-storming options, instead of telling them what the solution has to be.

I hope you enjoy increasing your mindfulness in parenting, and I’d love to hear what “mindful parenting” is to you.

 

When my patience ran out…I cried

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confessions of a 1st time momSo, recent posts have been about fun, but I have to confess, today was not fun at all.  Today was one of the hardest days I’ve had as a parent.  Maybe you can relate.

The ingredients for the perfect storm:

  • sick_baby_mom_crying

    This is how I spent 3 full days (even NYE)

    My husband was sick in bed all day.

  • Chunky Monkey had a fever the last 2 1/2 days, following his 12 month immunization shots (but fever was now gone).
  • CM had developed cold symptoms and was craaaaanky and neeeeedy.

To deal with all these factors, I had basically been holding my 25 pound 1-year old in the ergo all day for the past 2 1/2 days.  Of course having him in the carrier gives us wonderful bonding/connection time BUT… he is heavy! So, it was wearing me out physically to maintain this for ANOTHER full day today.

So, today involved me holding him in the ergo with occasional breaks where I could convince him to tolerate playing with a toy for a bit (of course only if he was absolutely 100% on my lap.  If I even tried to put him 1 inch in front of me, on the ground, he would start to scream).  Argh! My patience was getting shorter and shorter as the day wore on.  And even though my husband was legitimately sick, it’s still of a rare form of torture to be forced to watch someone spend the whole day in bed while you don’t get even a moment’s break to yourself.

Around 4pm, I was really starting to loose my patience.  Physically and emotionally it reminded me of the 12th mile of my last 1/2 marathon (*It was 7 years ago, so the memory is a little faint).  My mind was saying “I don’t think I can make it to the end.  I’m gonna have to stop and walk”, but another part of me said, “You can do this.  Just keep taking it one step at a time”.

On this frustrating day, everything in me wanted to give up and felt way past the “end” of my rope.  So I decided to just give up on dinner and nurse him and then hope I could entice him to play for a while, stalling basically until bath time. *By the way, thank GOD for bath time.  Some days its the only thing that gets me through tough evenings because he is usually super happy.  Well, I was staring desperately at the clock, knowing I still had at least a 1/2 hour till bath time. The only position that didn’t result in CM screaming was for him to be standing up, with me sitting on the floor, and his arms around my neck.  Only this time he had decided to take a hold of my hair for support, instead of my shoulder. As he yanked down (not on purpose), I tried to muster out a patient-voiced “Please don’t pull Mommies hair”, while moving his hand. It took the very last ounce of energy I had left and the shear exhaustion sent me into a shoulder-shaking sob.  Now, you have to know I have only cried the shoulder-shaking sob like 3 times in my life (that I’m aware of).  Hmmm….my husband might say differently.  But anyway, I cried for a few minutes.  To tell you the truth, it didn’t even feel good like crying sometimes can.  It was just a total burst of the flood gates I had tried to keep held together for so many hours.

The end of the story? I made it.  I soon decided to do an early bath time so I could get relief from being his 100% source of entertainment, and he went to bed.  I hope tomorrow is better.  This mommy job can be a tough one!

If you can relate to this, I’d love to hear your story.

 

 

 

Author: FLORA

I am a post-career SAHM (Stay-at-home mom), living in Bozeman Montana. I share stories and ideas from parenting with a Montessori and Positive Discipline inspired perspective. Also, I LOVE DIY projects and finding great ways to use thrift store or hand-made toys for my little ones.
Learn more about why I say I'm "Just" a stay-at-home mom.

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