I’m delighted that Carina invited me to write a guest post for her Mindful Parenting series. I must admit that even though she reminded me that this post is, “not about being an expert, it is about being human,” I was still hesitant. In fact, I am a week late turning in this post, and for this deadline-driven writer, that is a rare occurrence, indeed. As may be the case with many of you, Mindfulness is not something that comes easily for me. I began studying it recently in order to alleviate anxiety. As a full-time mom and wife and a part-time writer, trying (with all my might) to juggle everything often leaves me feeling anxious. Yet what drives me to improve myself is my love for my family.
While being able to stay easily accessible to others with today’s technology can be good, staying in constant contact can become addictive. I must make a conscious effort to go off-line so that I can focus on what matters most. And with all of life’s demands bombarding us, it can become easy to get caught up in our jobs, hobbies, and volunteer work. I believe, though, that the quality of our relationships create the quality of our lives, and my most sacred relationships are those that I have with my family.
I remind myself on a daily, at times hourly, basis, to be present for my children. To look them in the eyes when they are speaking. To ask open-ended questions to encourage them to engage in conversation. To notice when they act with kindness or compassion and to praise them for it. As part of our routine, each afternoon, we play soothing music throughout the house and spend time together. We play puzzles or games or read. This is one of my favorite family rituals, allowing us an opportunity to enjoy one another’s company. It is also our family tradition to always eat dinner together at the table. For us, this time is priceless and we spend it talking about our days.
Being present with my children often requires that I turn off my phone and hide it in a drawer. Or that I completely shut down my computer so that I’m not temped to multi-task. There are times, however, when I do slip up. When I’m not fully present for my children. In those moments, I remind myself that I am a work in progress. I am making an effort to become a more relaxed and mindful parent. And, as Carina says, I am, after all, human.
Michelle Sedas is the author of Welcome The Rain, Live Inspired, and the coauthor ofThe Power of 10%. She is the cofounder of Running Moms Rock and the host of the Inspired Living Cafe. Her stories have appeared in five Chicken Soup for the Soul books.
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