Mindfulness…as a mental health therapist I talk about mindfulness all the time. I explain it to clients, encourage them to use it, plan programs around it and read books about it. Since I started studying mindfulness in about 2008 the concept has fascinated me. It makes so much sense and appears so simple. Be here, be present, focus on what is. Sounds simple yet is so very difficult to actually implement!!! As a mother I try to model what I want for my daughter. This too is so much easier said than done. Life is busy, we have work, school, family, friends, etc. and multi-tasking is easier to do now than ever before. We can check email and other social media on the phone or computer, text etc. This can be good or bad. It “in theory” allows me to be with my daughter and work and talk to my friends all at the same time…huh? Does it really let me do all that?
Maybe I am not really doing any of it when I try to do it all at the same time. How many of us cook dinner ( I don’t really cook) and play with the kids and watch TV at the same time? Do you remember what you watched? Do you remember what your child said to you? My guess is not really you just weren't really there! We have to slow down, focus, do what we are doing to really get it and ‘be present”.
I search online for mindfulness info quite often and one tidbit really caught my eye a few months ago. It impacted me so much that I think about it often and even share it with my families in therapy. It is this or something close “If you were your child right now, what would you think about yourself?” How does your child see you? Happy, unhappy, mad, calm, sad? How your child perceives you is his/her reality. It doesn’t really matter what your intentions are. It matters how they see you. If they see you doing many things at once yet not really "doing" any of them they will do the same.
True story, my daughter who is 3 will get her purse and her computer and walk around on her phone talking while she is “leaving” for work? Wonder where she got that? That is not what I want my daughter to think of when she thinks of me. I want her to think of playing and relaxing and just being together. I want her to think comfort and consistency. If I don’t give her this, she will not get it. It is my responsibility as a parent to slow down and be with my daughter. Enjoy her at every age and every phase. I ask myself that more now “Would I want to be my child right now?” If the answer is no and it often is then how can I change that?
My goal is to put my computer up when I get home from work and just be with my baby until bedtime. Email, Facebook and Twitter will all be there when we are done playing and “being”. I want and intend to let her lead the time…color if she wants to color, read if she wants to read. She deserves me to be present with her everyday for this time. If I don’t make this a reality for it her then it won’t be. This is not something you can go back and do over. Everyday is 24 hours…be mindful of how you spend your time. We don’t get it back but we do have a chance to start fresh from this moment on! Go….how can you be a more mindful parent and give your children what they need?
Provided by Jamie L. Summers Stacks, LPC. Jamie is a Licensed Professional Counselor and has been providing therapy since 1998. Jamie graduated from Henderson State University in 1998 with a Master’s of Science in Community Counseling. She has experience with a variety of different populations. Her experiences have included working as an outpatient and inpatient therapist for adults, teenagers and children. Jamie has been in private practice since 2009 and she is thrilled to be able to try some innovative and exciting new things. Jamie is licensed as an LAC Supervisor to provide individual and group supervision and has a specialization to provide technology assisted counseling and supervision. She thinks that everyone should love what they do and create a career that works for them and those they help.
Jamie practices psychotherapy with adult women and adolescent girls, individually or with their families/partners. The focus of her practice is helping women and girls to recover from anxiety, depression and addictions. You can follow her blog at www.jamiestacks.blogspot.com.