Last Saturday I was able to attend a free workshop about Mindful Parenting. It’s my second time attending a mums@work event. It’s a good thing there’s an agency like this here that focuses on helping moms to get back to the workforce and create a work -life balance. I brought my cousin and my college friend with me because the last time I attended an event I felt completely out-of-place, being a stay at home mom had somehow made me crowd-shy, more on that issue later. Anyway, even though my weekend was completely jam-packed with in-laws visiting Dubai for the first time I told my husband this workshop will really help us be better parents. So he agreed to be our chauffeur for the day with the little one strapped in his car seat.
Lately, with me pms-ing I find it hard to be more patient with the little one. I don’t know but really this whole toddler age is blowing our minds off quite literally. Even after our recent trip to the ER it’s as if nothing happened. Sasha still keeps bouncing everywhere. I feel scared for him most of the time, even in our own house. He doesn’t have any ounce of fear climbing tables and jumping in the sofa without the carpet to save him whenever I am vacuuming the house. He likes singing and dancing and playing rough with his dad. I get really irritated because he doesn’t listen to me whenever I say ‘enough! which sometimes prompt me hitting him from time to time. I feel guilty afterwards. I don’t want to be a yelling parent. And I observed that he listens more when it’s his father asking him to behave. It dawned on me that hubby has a different parenting skills. He is a mindful parent. I guess I am not.
What is this mindful parenting? Before attending the workshop all I know about parenting is what I read in Bringing Up Bebe, Einstein Never Used Flashcards, and a few more parenting books so thick and somehow a little bit complicated to read that I mostly don’t remember what they’re all about. I rely on instincts and my mother in-law who is always in Skype.
Mindful Parenting is about making connection with your kids. It’s giving them the time of the day to feel heard, acknowledged and significant. It’s not necessarily blocking out hours in a day to sit down with them and push them to connect with you. It’s actually much simpler. Just the act of listening to their mumblings while you’re preparing breakfast. It’s dancing with them when their favorite song suddenly pops in the radio or eating lunch together. Before I usually just get frustrated when Sasha won’t play with me when I am ready to play, after all the house chores’ done. I get upset when it takes hours to put him to bed. Only by attending the workshop I get to learn that those moments were precious to my kid. Those times I felt frustrated were the times I didn’t step down to understand and meet my kid’s need. It became more clear to me that the reason why he throws tantrum is mostly because he’s not getting heard and understood. I only realized that the reason my kid loves playing with his dad more is simply because daddy plays like a real playmate. They get to play like kids getting dirty in the sand box, building a castle made of blankets in the bedroom, doing piggy back rides which I don’t do at all. No wonder he looks to his dad and spells F-U-N and mom is just U-P-T-I -G-H-T . I also learned that those times I felt well and more patient with my child were also the times when I intended to put some time for myself before everybody wakes up. I realized that whenever I failed to allow some time for myself to do my quiet time,( to pray and read my Bible, finish my Barre circuit workout, eat my breakfast in peace or just write my heart out in my journal) are the times I didn’t do a Self-care which is vital in being a mindful parent. As the saying goes we cannot give something we don’t have. And truly, there’s nothing wrong putting ourself first literally sometimes. Wake up earlier than usual to do what you need to do to be ready for the day. Don’t make it like a chore otherwise you will not be happy to do it. Just make the decision first to care for yourself and it’s gonna be easy to actually wake up early to do it. As Jo said in the workshop, if you start saying “I have to”, over and over again that it starts sounding like a load you need to carry off , instead of saying I am doing because I love doing it for myself to benefit my family is a much better approach. It’s already hard being a parent, and neglecting yourself as person is a really a tragedy.
After the workshop, over tea and muffins and a bunch of mommies sharing their parenting journey with everybody, all of us left with a new pair of eyes.
Now I feel more confident to handle my kid’s tantrum. I feel more excited talking to him and playing with him. I feel more relaxed and calmer knowing that mindful parenting is not rocket science. Being actually present ( disconnect to social media to connect) , giving them your undivided attention, bringing out the child in you to play with your actual child are definitely doable. On top of it all, they’re going to be kids just once next time we know they want nothing to do with us. So savor the moment ’til it lasts.
And yeah, I was less crowd-shy this time. Thank you Mums@work ! ‘Til next workshop!
5 Steps to Mindful Parenting
1.Self-care – make space for just being, every day
2. Mindfully manage your stress
T-take a breath
3. Embrace the model of the ‘good enough’ parent
4. Honor your children’s sovereignty
5. Cultivate kindness and compassion