We read a quote the other day that got us thinking about mindful parenting…
It resonated because, after a year of the pandemic, we’d finally gotten to see the grandparents.
It seems like they have a magical touch with the kids.
Plus – having a helping hand around the house (when you have two young kids under 4) is AMAZING.
Reminded us of this Helen Keller quote:
“The best and most beautiful things in the world cannot be seen or even touched- they must be felt with the heart.”
Here’s why it resonated:
Since the grandparents left, we miss them dearly.
And frankly, without them around, mindful parenting becomes harder. When we’re scrambling to watch the kids, it’s tough to stay present in the moment.
It feels like we’re always rushing from one thing to the next.
Do you ever feel this way?
And so the joy we felt with their visit, and the sadness of their departure, got our mental wheels turning.
You see, we go through life dreaming about the next big thing.
This didn’t stop once the baby arrived.
If anything, it accelerated.
Because there was a new, never-ending cycle of milestones to think about, and this made mindful parenting harder than ever before.
For example, our son grew fast. Days turned to weeks, months, and years. So we were always shopping for new clothes.
And he had acid reflux. So we had to get a new chair for him to nap in. And so on it went…
With each new phase, there were new things to worry about. And with each set of worries, mindful parenting got harder and harder.
And you know what?
It’s continuing still today!
But this cycle, if you’re not careful, can be a mental rabbit hole.
We’re finding – especially with a toddler- the mind is constantly wandering from the next item on the to-do list.
But we’ve started to realize something (after 15 months of this cycle);
When caught up in my everyday to-do list, item after item, we forget to be mindful, stay in the present, and practice gratitude.
And we don’t think we’re alone in this.
When were you last able to do one of these:
- Took a bath, without a toddler knocking on the door
- Went to the gym without worrying about the baby
- Had more than 10 minutes out of your crazy day of errands to sip some coffee
- Had a family evening with MORE than 45 minutes WITHOUT devices
…We all want the best for our children. And our families.
But it can be so easy to just let the days run together and forget to live in the present moment and practice mindful parenting.
There are so many opportunities every day for worry!
But have you ever taken time to ask grandparents what they wished they’d focused on?
It will vary. But we can guarantee this:
They’re going to tell you some variation of this:
Enjoy every moment. Live for today.
Because it goes FAST.
In other words? Practice mindful parenting.
Something akin to the wisdom Helen Keller shared above.
If you can take a few minutes out of each day, re-focus on being in the present moment, your future you (the grandparent version) will be grateful.
Because you’ll have a lifetime of wonderful moments, of not being distracted. Of being available. And making memories.
Instead of hurrying from one parenting routine to the next, take some time out today.
You’ve only got one life to live (as far as we know) as a parent.
So here are 5 ways to stay present, engage in mindful parenting, and go through your day with zen focused gratitude:
Create More Headspace By Doing This Regularly
Build a meditation habit, even if it’s just a couple of minutes a day.
This comes up in similar articles to this one, so we get it if you’re thinking “no kidding!”
But it’s worth thinking about, especially if you’ve never tried it before and want to engage in mindful parenting.
Developing a regular meditation practice is an excellent way to start practicing mindfulness.
It doesn’t take a lot of time to form a regular habit. And there are many free apps out there that will lead you through a guided meditation in just a few minutes a day.
If you’re not a fan of meditation apps, you can always find a podcast on iTunes or even just a guided meditation on YouTube.
Regular meditation practice will help you practice mindful parenting.
Become A Novice Minimalist
Do you consider yourself a minimalist?
If the answer is no, then this section is especially for you!
Now, you might be wondering: what’s the point of minimalism?
Perhaps you think minimalists are boring? And there might be something to that – at least for the lame ones out there. We’ve all met a few…
But I’m not talking about them! I’m talking about just developing a minimalist mindset generally? Why? Well, I don’t know about you, but after our baby was born the amount of clutter multiplied by what felt like a factor of:
That’s why I’ve been thinking more about minimalism lately. As a method to remove clutter. And get a little more peace of mind.
Because if you can do that?
You’ll be more present for your kids.
But here’s the thing. Learning how to be present means more than just getting rid of clutter!
Another key way to be present?
Reduce your stress (and cortisol levels) through regular exercise.
Move Every Day (Even Just 20 Minutes)
Has this happened to you?
The baby is born. Life gets CRAZY. Then suddenly one day the baby becomes a toddler…
And you know what?
Life gets even crazier!
It can be hard to stay active. Suddenly you don’t have time to make it to the gym.
And so it’s easy to slack off and fall out of your old workout routines.
So try to move at least a little bit each day.
Here are a few ideas of things you can do to move regularly:
Maybe it will help you?
- Track movement with your smartwatch or Fitbit
- Go for family runs on the weekends
- Get your spouse to take your kiddo for a drive so you can workout
- Do Yoga after the baby’s bedtime
- Go for neighborhood walks when the weather is nice!
A few minutes a day will lead you into the next item on our list.
End Your Day With Gratitude Reflection
It’s easy to move through your day focusing only on the next thing on your to-do list, and the next, and the next…
And with that approach, your to-do list becomes endless…
THAT’s why I like to take five minutes each day, at the end of the day, to just write down 5-10 things that I’m grateful for.
Don’t Quit Implementing YOUR Dreams
Believe it or not…
You don’t have to give up on your dreams.
We know, it’s hard to believe.
After all, it seems that when you grow up and family life makes things busy for you, you might have to defer your dreams.
But as the Langston Hughes poem suggests, what happens then?
They explode into something new.
Even if they’re not the same ones you had 10 years ago…
They’re the ones you have TODAY.
And the ones you need to work on, to make tomorrow amazing.
So dream big. Stay present. And savor the precious moments with your kiddos.
Put Your Anger In This Special Place
Ever had one of those moments when your kid gets on your nerves so much you want to scream?
If this has never happened you can skip ahead…
If it’s a part of your daily routine (lol), keep reading…
When your anger boils so hot you feel like you could pull all your hair out in 20 seconds…
It’s time to pause, take a breath, and resolve to channel your anger into a productive place later.
One of the best ways to do this?
Take this advice from William Wordsworth:
“Fill your paper with the breathings of your heart.”
Ditch Your Other Mindfulness Podcasts For This One
You might have heard of mindfulness but don’t have a ton of time to read dense books on it.
And as a parent, you certainly don’t have time to go on a meditation retreat.
If you’re interested in learning more about mindfulness and meditation you don’t have to spend a week in silent reflection…
Or thousands of dollars to get there.
A simple trick is to take advantage of the thousands of free resources out there about mindfulness and meditation.
One of our favorites is a podcast with a top expert on mindfulness.
In fact, he wrote a book on mindfulness called, well, Mindfulness.
Before you go out and buy any books about meditation and mindfulness…
Check out Joseph Goldstein’s podcast.
Read These 2 Mindfulness Books (1 Short, 1 Long)
That’s how we feel after a long day of parenting, chasing little ones around, doing house chores, and keeping everybody fed and alive.
Of course, if you’re living the reality of having little ones in your house…
You re-learn this reality every single day.
Rather than thinking and worrying about whatever is next on your to-do list…
Don’t you ever wish you could enjoy the cute moments, and really be in the moment?
There are a couple of books that can help you do just that.
One is by the mindfulness expert we mention above.
The other, the Buddhist monk with a unique name…
Thich Nat Than
Mindfulness by Joseph Goldstein
Cut Your Kiddo The Same Slack You’re Asking For
A lotta parents say they get frustrated when their kids don’t respond to what they’re asking them to do.
But if you take a minute to see things through their shoes, you’ll gain a different perspective.
From being socially isolated, not seeing their friends, grandparents, having to learn online, and lacking structure in the day-to-day…
After a year with the pandemic, kids are stressed out too.
In other words…
…cut your kids the same slack that you wish the rest of the world would cut for you.
Get Some Fresh Air
In this unprecedented pandemic era…
We’ve all been spending a lot more time inside than we used to.
Never before have you been so stuck at home.
But are you getting out of the house enough to get some fresh air?
From helping you to feel great, keeping a clear head, and getting fresh oxygen into your system…
In fact, the EPA did a study that showed that clean air is good for health, and getting some fresh air is part of that.
So if you’ve been stuck inside all these many months…
It’s time to get outside and get some fresh air (or at least open a window).
Remember That Pandemics Aren’t Forever
Do you remember what you were doing a year ago?
Probably things like:
- Hunkered down.
- Ordering dinner delivered.
- Socializing at a distance of 10 feet (or more).
- Wearing a mask at all times.
And before that?
Going out. Eating out. Socializing without distance. Not wearing a mask.
Seems like a lifetime ago, doesn’t it?
It’s worth taking stock of how extraordinary it is that in less than 12 months since the pandemic was declared, the United States alone has three — and potentially soon four — vaccines that appear to effectively eliminate the risk of dying from Covid-19.
So if the pandemic has been a source of great stress over this last year…
Take comfort in the thought that things are getting better.
These are stressful times we’re living through.
If you’re feeling frazzled by it all…
Learn the basics of mindfulness and how to apply it to your daily life.
You’ll be glad you did.