As parents we often think that it is our job to teach our kids everything from right and wrong to how to tie their shoes. What we forget is that they teach us just as much but only if we pay attention.
Since I have begun practicing mindful parenting I have started a habit that I find very useful and so I wanted to share it with you.
Have you ever had those times when you just wanted to lock yourself away in the bathroom and cry? I have. With three young children and pets things can go from 0-10 in an instant. I work hard all day, and then I am alone with the family all night while hubs is at work. I am not complaining, but explaining so that you can understand why there have been days this cold, dark winter, where I couldn’t wait for bedtime to come.
It is in my nature to always try to take control of a situation. I feel like I need to, I have to, I want to. However, I realize now that to think I could have any control over my situation its laughable. The only think I can control is me. So I have been focussing inwards when the storm hits, and I have discovered that in chaos lies opportunity.
When Sawyer starts screaming because he wants a cookie instead of dinner instead of losing it I ask myself, “what is he teaching me in this moment?”
- He is teaching me that I have to be patient if I expect him to listen to what I have to say.
- He is teaching me to be understanding and remember that there have been times where I have eaten cookies before dinner.
- He is reminding me that he is watching me, and I just had a snack myself (because I didn’t get time to eat at work).
- He is teaching me to think about the situation. While my gut reflex says no, would it be so bad if he had a cookie?
Although all of these thoughts take mere moments, it is in those moments of thought that I find the space to breathe and then I can engage with him on a more meaningful level that barking at him or sending him for a time out.
Once you stop and think about it like this you realize how many wonderful things your children teach you simply by being. There are so many lessons my children are teaching me, here are some of them.
- Their wonder and fascination with the world teaches me to live in the moment as they do.
- Their unique perspective on the world unhampered by self-imposed limits teaches me to be creative (whether drawing a picture with them or MacGyvering a ripped shoe to last until you get home).
- The challenges they bring give me confidence (after three under three what can’t I handle?)
- The care (think chores) involved in raising them teaches me how to manage my time (and I though I was efficient before).
- Their tantrums, lack of co-operation, ill-timed mishaps and screaming from the backseat teaches me how to be patient. If you want to survive parenthood you have to find it within yourself to be patient at times you never thought you could.
- Their love for me teaches me the importance of family and of being a good person because they are always, watching, listening and learning from me. It also gives me perspective because I realize that it doesn’t matter if the car breaks down or I lose my favourite sweater because as long as I have them and they are all happy and healthy the rest is just details.
So the next time you find yourself in a sticky situation stop and ask yourself, “what am I learning right now?” and the answer just might surprise you. Namaste
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